I always like it when a Scripture generates an idea or a thought and in it’s own way teaches me, reminds me, and confirms to me that there is much to be learned by constantly reading, or in this case listening to, the Bible. As I was preparing to go through Revelation on my CD, Jude is the first track. I almost skipped by it but thought “why not listen to it”….I mean, it is only one chapter and it is part of God’s word too. This verse struck me:
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jud 1:4)
Jude wanted to write to them about other things but he found it necessary to remind his audience that sometimes it is necessary to contend for the faith.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jud 1:3)
You see, sometimes, we need to stand up for the faith. However, Jude was not writing about those outside the group of believers but some of those from within. Which is not to say that they were necessarily much better than those in the world, but it is to say that the truly faithful had not been paying much attention; they had let their guard down.
These people who Jude mentioned were Perverting the Grace of God. Other versions use “turning” or “converting” the Grace of God. Which is to say, sadly, that God’s grace can be perverted. How does one go about doing that? By turning it into what it never was: A blanket covering for all sin, a get out of jail free card, a blank check.
You see, if you properly understand the doctrine about grace, you will come to realize that God is very willing to forgive us for our sins. In fact, to the Christian, we have the blood of Jesus to forgive us our sin as John says in 1 John 1:9
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1Jn 1:7)
Or as Paul says:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom 8:1)
Those who pervert the grace of God focus on the blood that cleanses or the lack of condemnation but tend to omit or deemphasize the other part of the same verse: Walking in the light or walking after the spirit. They do this so that they can focus on the freedom that is in Christ and take it to the extreme.
Jude says that they convert the grace of God in to sensuality, an excuse to enjoy the pleasures of this life. “Oh I can go forward Sunday and ask for forgiveness” this person thinks. Or simply pray for God’s forgiveness.
One day at a previous job, I had the occasion to walk by a co-worker who looked a bit sad. I knew him more from some of the Bible studies that had taken place at work during lunchtime. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that his family was not so happy with him. Why not you ask? Well, it seems that they were not happy that he was living with his girlfriend and they were getting on his case about it. Sounds reasonable, right?
However, his next statement shocked me: His defense was “They just don’t know how the Spirit is leading me!” What was that?
You know, I really don’t try to make judging statements but I can say one thing for real sure: God’s Spirit was not leading him into a relationship of fornication. Try as he might, I know, and any rational person knows, that God is consistent in His character and the character that He wants from his followers. This co-workers action was neither walking in the light nor was it walking by the Spirit.
We need to be on guard about those who would promote this life of sensuality while saying that God’s grace will take care of it all.