Life Transformation Centers: Jude 1:22-23
“22) And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23) save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Jude‬ ‭1:22-23‬
We must never forget that our call is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20) That includes a total life change from sinful living to godliness. Those who claim to have faith in Jesus with no evidence of repentance or change in their life are on very shaky ground. The puritans used to refer to them as “unrepentant confessors.” There is no fruit in their lives to substantiate any claim of salvation.
In the above two verses, Jude identifies three kinds of people. First, there are the doubters. These place faith in Jesus but fail to walk a life of faith, victory or power. They have been to the cross for pardon but have never approached Pentecost for power. Jude said we are to have mercy on them.
Second, Jude identified the unsaved. These are nonChristians. They are lost. They are destined for eternal fire. They are the target of our evangelism in the world. In a very real sense, when a nonChristian turns to Jesus Christ and the gospel, the Holy Spirit snatches them out of the fire. In Matthew 12:29, Jesus basically said that evangelism amounts to plundering Satan’s house. According to Colossians 1:12-13, at the moment of salvation people are translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
One reason why few Christians in the modern church engage in witnessing and personal evangelism is because they are agnostics related to the eternal fate of the nonChristian. The doctrines of hell and eternal judgement are a fable to them. They believe in the love of God but not the justice, judgement or wrath of God. The modern church is in desperate need of a wake-up call in regard to the eternal fate of the lost.
Finally, Jude speaks of the carnal believers who are living in sinful bondage. On these we are “to have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Discipleship is about walking people to spiritual freedom and maturity “in Christ.” This is the hard work. It doesn’t lead people to salvation and then abandon them.
According to 2 Peter 1:2-11, the early church had a defined step by step process of mentoring new believers to godly maturity. According to verse 5 in the New American Standard Version, the first step was “moral excellence.” In other words, they tackled the baggage sexual bondage, abuse and exploitation. They walked them through the process of putting off the old self, renewing the mind and putting on the new self. (See both Ephesians 4:20-24 and Colossians 3:1-11)
It is cruel to lead people to salvation and then abandon them. God wants the church to become a “life transformation center.” He wants us to raise up mighty men and women who are morally free, mighty in faith and Spirit, and abundantly fruitful for the glory of God.
This was a significant part of “the faith” Jude was contending for in his small letter. He had the end product of evangelism and discipleship in mind. He was pushing Christians to embrace their full potential “in Christ” and reminding the church of its true mission in the world.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global