Jude 1:3 MEANING

Jude 1:3
(3, 4) The purpose and occasion of the Letter.

(3) Beloved.--"Very unusual at the beginning of an Epistle; Jude 1:2, is the only other example It indicates, possibly, the writer's wish to be brief and get to his subject at once; and, as his subject is a very unpleasing one, he hastens to assure his readers of affection for them, to prevent his strong language from offending them.

When I gave all diligence.--Better, in giving all diligence: i.e., in having it much at heart. Wiclif and Rheims are nearly right. The expression is unique in the New Testament--2 Peter 1:5 is similar, but the Greek for "giving" differs in verb and tense from the word used here.

Of the common salvation.--The best MSS. insert "our"--of our common salvation: i.e., of those things which pertain to the salvation of us all. (Comp. Titus 1:4.) Some would take these words after "it was needful for me to write unto you." The Authorised version is better.

It was needful for me to write unto you.--Better, I found it necessary to write at once to you, St. Jude had intended to write on general grounds; then the circumstances stated in Jude 1:4 made him write immediately for the special purpose of warning them against a pressing danger. The "at once" comes from the tense, which is present in the first clause, aorist in the second. That St. Jude had intended to write a longer letter is pure conjecture, for which there is no evidence.

Contend for.--The word is a graphic one, implying standing over a thing to fight in its defence. You must fight as well as build (Nehemiah 4:16; Nehemiah 4:18).

The faith--i.e., that which is believed by Christians: not the expression of the doctrine, nor the holding of it, but the substance of it.

Once delivered.--Rather, once for all delivered. No change in it is possible. (Comp. Galatians 1:8-9.) By "the saints" are meant all Christians; comp. Acts 9:13 (where see Note), Acts 9:32; Acts 9:41. The word is used advisedly here, in marked contrast to the libertines now to be denounced.

(4) Certain men crept in unawares--viz., into the Church. The "certain" shows that these men are a decided minority, and has a tinge of depreciation, as in Galatians 2:12. "Crept in unawares" is analogous to "unawares brought in, who came in privily" (Galatians 2:4, where see Note), and to "privily bring in (2 Peter 2:1). It is this insidious invasion which constitutes the necessity for writing stated in Jude 1:3. Unfaithful Christians are sometimes regarded as an emergence from within, rather than an invasion from without (1 John 2:19).

Close similarity to 2 Peter begins here and continues down to Jude 1:18; the Notes on the parallel passages in 2 Peter 2 should be compared throughout. In this Epistle the first three and last seven verses are the only portions not intimately related to 2 Peter.

Who were before of old ordained to this condemnation.--Literally, who have been of old written down beforehand for this sentence; or, perhaps, "written up"; for the metaphor may come from the practice of posting up the names of those who had to appear in court for trial. The text is a favourite one with Calvinists; but it gives no countenance to extreme predestination views. "Of old" cannot refer to the eternal purposes of God, but to something in history. On the other hand, it is doubtful whether it can refer to the recent warnings of St. Paul and St. Peter that false teachers should arise: otherwise one would be tempted to refer it to 2 Peter 2 Something more remote from the writer's own day seems to be required: either the Old Testament prophets, or the Book of Enoch, quoted below. The Greek word here rendered "before ordained" is in Romans 15:4 rendered "written aforetime." (Comp. Ephesians 3:3.)

To this condemnation.--Literally, to this sentence, or judgment; but the context shows that the judgment is an adverse one. "This condemnation," viz., the one stated in the denunciations which follow, and illustrated by the fate of those mentioned in Jude 1:5-7. Note the three-fold description of the men thus written down for judgment: they are ungodly; they pervert God's grace; they deny Christ.

Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.--Turning Christian liberty into unchristian license. "Our God," not theirs; they are "without God in the world." "Wantonness" would be better than "lasciviousness" here, as in 2 Peter 2:18. The Greek word expresses license generally, not merely sins of impurity.

Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.--Rather, denying the only Master, and our Lord Jesus Christ. "God" is an addition to the original text, and must be omitted. "Lord" represents two words in the Greek quite different one from the other. The Genevan version is right all but the insertion of "God;" the Rhemish quite right--having "Dominator," however, for "Master." We are once more in doubt whether one or two Persons of the Trinity are mentioned here. (Comp. 2 Peter 1:1.) Certainly 2 Peter 2:1 countenances our taking "the only Master" as meaning Christ; and the fact that the article is not repeated with "Lord" is in favour of only one Person being meant. But Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, Revelation 6:10 countenance our understanding these words as meaning the Father; and the absence of the article before "Lord" is not conclusive. The insertion of "God" is, perhaps, a gloss to insist on this latter interpretation. If it be right, the clause is closely parallel to 1 John 2:22 : "He is Antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son." Note the emphatic insertion of "our" once more: they will not have Him for their Lord; His divine authority was precisely what they denied.

Verse 3. - The author's reason for writing. The statement of this is introduced by the conciliatory address, beloved - a form of address found twice again in this short Epistle (verses 17, 20). It occurs at great turning-points in all the Catholic Epistles, except for an obvious reason in 2 John. (See James 1:16, 19; James 2:5 (who couples the term "brethren" with it); 1 Peter 2:11; 1 Peter 4:12; 2 Peter 3:1, 8, 14, 17; 1 John 3:2, 21; 1 John 4:1, 7, 11 3John 2, 5, 11.) It is frequent also in the Pauline Epistles. It is only here, however, and in 3 John 1:2 that it is introduced so near the beginning of an Epistle. The statement itself contains several expressions which demand notice. The phrase which the Authorized Version renders, When I gave all diligence, is better rendered, while I was giving all diligence, with the Revised Version. In this particular form it occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; but it has close parallels in 2 Peter 1:5 and Hebrews 6:11. The noun is the same as is translated "diligence" in Romans 12:8, and "business" in Romans 12:11. It is not certain whether the phrase expresses action here as well as earnest desire; but it indicates the position of the author, whether as seriously bethinking himself to write, or actually engaged in the task, when he had occasion to send the counsels given in this Epistle. The subject on which he had thought of addressing them was the common salvation - the term "salvation" meaning here neither the doctrine nor the means of redemption, but the grace of redemption itself. And this grace is designated "common," or, as the better reading gives it, "our common salvation;" not with reference to any contrast of Jew with Gentile, but simply as a grace open to all, and in which writer and readers had an equal interest (comp. Acts 2:44; Acts 4:32; and especially the "common faith" of Titus 1:4). The "like precious faith' of 2 Peter 1:1 is a stronger expression, and probably points to a distinction, formerly existent, but now removed, between Jew and Gentile. The next phrase is rendered too weakly by the Authorized Version, It was needful for me to write unto you. Neither does the Revised Version quite bring out the idea when it substitutes, I was constrained to write unto you. What is in view is an objective necessity; certain circumstances which had arisen and imperatively demanded writing. So that we might translate it, "necessity arose for me to write," or, "an emergency occurred constraining me to write." He was thus induced to write in the way of exhorting them. The particular subject of the exhortation is described as the duty of contending earnestly for the faith; the contention being expressed by a strong term somewhat analogous to that used by Paul in Philippians 1:27, and the "faith" being taken, not in the subjective sense of the quality or grace of belief, but in the objective sense of the things believed. This "faith" is declared to have been delivered once for all (so, with the Revised Version; not once delivered, as the Authorized Version puts it, which might mean "once on a time") to the saints. It is not stated by whom the deliverance was made. The unexpressed subject may be God, as some suppose who point to the analogy of 1 Corinthians 11:23 and 1 Cor 15:3; or it may be the apostles, as others hold who look to the analogy of such passages as 1 Corinthians 11:2; 2 Peter 2:21, and especially the seventeenth verse of the present Epistle itself. The main point is, not the author or the instruments of the deliverance, but the fact that such a deliverance has taken place. What has been transmitted is carefully defined, not, indeed, as a system of doctrine, but at least as a sum or deposit of things necessary to be believed. This is said to have been given once for all, so that there is no repetition or extension of the gift. It is described; further, as committed, not to the Church as an organization, nor to any particular office-bearers, but to the saints in general.

1:1-4 Christians are called out of the world, from the evil spirit and temper of it; called above the world, to higher and better things, to heaven, things unseen and eternal; called from sin to Christ, from vanity to seriousness, from uncleanness to holiness; and this according to the Divine purpose and grace. If sanctified and glorified, all the honour and glory must be ascribed to God, and to him alone. As it is God who begins the work of grace in the souls of men, so it is he who carries it on, and perfects it. Let us not trust in ourselves, nor in our stock of grace already received, but in him, and in him alone. The mercy of God is the spring and fountain of all the good we have or hope for; mercy, not only to the miserable, but to the guilty. Next to mercy is peace, which we have from the sense of having obtained mercy. From peace springs love; Christ's love to us, our love to him, and our brotherly love to one another. The apostle prays, not that Christians may be content with a little; but that their souls and societies may be full of these things. None are shut out from gospel offers and invitations, but those who obstinately and wickedly shut themselves out. But the application is to all believers, and only to such. It is to the weak as well as to the strong. Those who have received the doctrine of this common salvation, must contend for it, earnestly, not furiously. Lying for the truth is bad; scolding for it is not better. Those who have received the truth must contend for it, as the apostles did; by suffering with patience and courage for it, not by making others suffer if they will not embrace every notion we call faith, or important. We ought to contend earnestly for the faith, in opposition to those who would corrupt or deprave it; who creep in unawares; who glide in like serpents. And those are the worst of the ungodly, who take encouragement to sin boldly, because the grace of God has abounded, and still abounds so wonderfully, and who are hardened by the extent and fulness of gospel grace, the design of which is to deliver men from sin, and bring them unto God.Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you,.... The apostle calls the persons he writes unto "beloved"; as they were of God, and by him and other saints; and he signifies his diligence in writing to them: and the subject of his writing was,

of the common salvation; which designs either the Gospel, sometimes called salvation, in opposition to the law, which is a ministration of condemnation; and because it is a declaration of salvation, and a means of it; and may be said to be "common", because preached to all, Jews and Gentiles: or Jesus Christ the Saviour himself, who is also sometimes called "salvation", because he was called and appointed to it, and undertook it, and is become the author of it; and may be said to be a "common" Saviour, not of all men, but of all his people; of his whole body, the church, and every member of it, and of all sorts of men, in all nations: or else that spiritual and eternal salvation wrought out by him, which is common, not to all men, for all are not saved with it, but to all the elect of God, and true believers in Christ; the love of God is common to them all alike; the choice of them to eternal salvation is the same; the covenant of grace, the blessings and promises of it, are equally shared by them; and they are bought with the same price of Christ's blood, and are justified by the same righteousness, and are regenerated, sanctified, and called by the same grace, and shall possess the same glory: there is but one way of salvation, and that is not confined to any nation, family, community, or sect among men. The Alexandrian copy and two of Beza's, and the Syriac version, read, "our common salvation"; and two other of Beza's copies and the Vulgate Latin version read, "your common salvation"; the sense is the same: it was

needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints; by the "faith" is meant the doctrine of faith, in which sense it is used whenever faith is said to be preached, obeyed, departed, or erred from, or denied, or made shipwreck of, or when exhortations are made to stand fast, and continue in it, or to strive and contend for it, as here; and which is sometimes called the word of faith, the faith of the Gospel, the mystery of faith, or most holy faith, the common faith, and, as here, faith only; and designs the whole scheme of evangelical truths to be believed; such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the deity and sonship of Christ, the divinity and personality of the Spirit; what regards the state and condition of man by nature, as the doctrines of the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity, the corruption of nature, and the impotence of men to that which is good; what concerns the acts of grace in the Father, Son, and Spirit, towards, and upon the sons of men; as the doctrines of everlasting love, eternal election, the covenant of grace, particular redemption, justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ, pardon and reconciliation by his blood, regeneration and sanctification by the grace of the Spirit, final perseverance, the resurrection of the dead, and the future glory of the saints with Christ. This is said to be "delivered to the saints": it was delivered by God the Father to Christ as Mediator, and by him to his apostles, who may more especially be meant by "the saints", or holy men; who were chosen to be holy, and to whom Christ was made sanctification, and who were sanctified by the Spirit of God; and this faith, being a most holy faith, is fit for holy men, and only proper to be delivered to them, and preached by them; and by them it was delivered to the churches, both by word and writing; and this delivery of it supposes that it is not an invention of men, that it is of God, and a gift of his, and given in trust in order to be kept, held forth, and held fast; and it was but "once" delivered, in opposition to the sundry times and divers manners in which the mind of God was formerly made known; and designs the uniformity, perfection, and continuance of the doctrine of faith; there is no alteration to be made in it, or addition to it; no new revelations are to be expected, it has been delivered all at once: and therefore should be "earnestly contended for"; for could it be lost, another could not be had; and the whole of it is to be contended for; not only the fundamentals, but the lesser matters of faith; and not things essential only, but also what are circumstantial to faith and religion; every truth, ordinance, and duty, and particularly the purity of faith, and its consistency: and this contention includes a care and solicitude for it, to have it, own it, and hold it fast, and adorn it; and for the preservation of it, and for the spread of it, and that it might be transmitted to posterity: and it denotes a conflict, a combat, or a fighting for it, a striving even to an agony: the persons to be contended with on account of it, are such who deny, or depreciate any of the Persons in the Godhead, the assertors of the purity and power of human nature, and the deniers of sovereign, efficacious, and persevering grace: the persons who are to contend with them are all the saints in general, to whom it is delivered; which they may do by bearing an experimental testimony to it, by praying for the continuance and success of it, by standing fast in one spirit in it, and by dying for it; and particularly the ministers of the Gospel, by preaching it boldly, openly, fully, and faithfully, by disputing for it, and writing in the defence of it, and by laying down their lives, when called for: the manner in which this is to be done, is "earnestly", heartily, in good earnest, and without deceit, zealously, and constantly.

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