Monday, September 27, 2021
The Epistle of Jude, the next-to-last book of New Testament, has only one chapter. Its fourth verse says:
For certain individuals have crept in unnoticed, those who long ago were designated for such condemnation, irreverent sorts, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality/licentiousness and deny our only Sovereign and Lord, Jesus Christ.Jude, quite possibly the brother of Jesus
A lot of commentaries, preachers, and Bible teachers might waste your time by turning your attention away from the immediate relevance of this verse. They will present likely historical scenarios pertaining to how and when this once happened, nearly two thousand years ago. Given my theological training, I would likely find what they say all quite interesting and potentially helpful. It might bore you to tears, though.
As good as all the secondary textual information might be, the most important issue is whether this verse has any immediate relevance today. Does it apply to us here and now? Yes, it most certainly does. What is described in this verse is happening now, and happens frequently.
Certain individuals are creeping into homes, schools, churches, and (especially) social media. But the word creeping can be easily misunderstood. These creeping individuals often do not appear creepy at all. On the contrary, they seem smart, polished, reputable, and likable. What makes them creepy is not their appearance nor their mannerism, but their agenda. They will (probably) not disclose their true intentions. They will not tell you up front that their intention is to make some “helpful and necessary” changes to the curriculum, or the lectionary, or whatever you want to call the informational content — that is, the accepted doctrine.
But Jude tells us very clearly what these creeps are up to. They will pervert the grace of God. They will pervert or swap the grace of God for something else. Instead of the grace of God, they will offer a license to sin. They will give people permission to be self-indulgent in a way that Scripture forbids. They will tell people that (re-defined) grace allows us to live in a manner that God has deemed sinful and deadly. And yes, this is happening now, and happens frequently.
Jude also tells us that they will deny Jesus Christ. Oops, I realize I need to make an immediate correction. More specifically, these creeps will deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. They will not necessarily deny the historical Jesus, but will “knowledgeably” reappraise what the Church has “errantly” said about him. Some will deny that Jesus Christ is the only Master and Lord. No, they will say, there are several other worthy and wise sovereigns, teachers, and gurus. Some creeps will claim that Jesus was merely a noble teacher, who presented a worthy ethic. Other creeps will say that Jesus was actually a political revolutionary, who met a tragic and regrettable end by execution. But in one way or another, the creeps will all say that Jesus’ disciples got it wrong. The creeps will all deny that Jesus is our only Sovereign and Lord. And yes, many such creeps are on the loose right now, making precisely these claims. You are likely to encounter some of them today, most likely on your digital device.
Now that Jude has told you what to look for, you might find it a bit easier to spot a creep.