A Final Caution: Jude 1:17-19
“17) But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18) that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19) These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.” Jude‬ ‭1:17-19‬
Jude now makes reference to the Apostles. They were recognized as both authoritative and inspired to speak on behalf of God. Their teaching set the doctrinal foundation of the church.
Many scholars believe that verse 18 is a reference to 2 Peter 3:1-18. In that context Peter warned of the mockers that would come in the last days. They live for the pleasure of “now” and reject all historical record of the works of God. They live as if God does not exist or that He is irrelevant to life.
Whenever God and His morals are removed from human consciousness, the void is filled with ungodly lusts. Jude points out that the false workers who creep into the church will be motivated and controlled by their own lusts.
1 John 2:16 warns us of three kinds of lusts. There are passion lusts, possession lusts and power lusts. John called them “the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the boastful pride of life.” Human carnality is drawn to each of these. All forms of sin breed in their shadows.
Verse 19 says these people 1) cause divisions, 2) are worldly minded and 3) are devoid of Spirit. They are terrible guides for either spiritual or moral truth. Following them always leads away from God. Their inner compass is pointed to the world, the flesh and the devil. They exploit unsuspecting people and destroy faith.
This is a stark contrast to the next few verse that point believers to a deep, growing and intimate walk with God. Rather than being “devoid of Spirit”, believers are called to be continually “filled with the Holy Spirit.” (See Ephesians 5:18)
When measuring spiritual maturity, I always look at the priority a person places on the Word of God, their relationship with Jesus Christ, evidence of the Holy Spirit working in their life and indications that Agape love flows through them. A lack in any one of these is a warning sign of carnality. It causes a yellow light to flash that says: “Caution, Caution, Caution… Something is not right!”
One might wonder why Jude focused so intently on warning about these false workers? The answer is that they are very effective at leading people astray and destroying churches. They are Satan’s secret agents and many appear to be very good people on the surface. At the right time they inject their poison like vipers. They are destructive.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global