Jude 1:5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
A few years ago I was doing some maintenance work in a house that was being used to house mentally handicapped men. Later in the day the men came home and I visited with them for a while. I tried to give the Gospel to them in our conversation, but they were not very interested in that. One of them wanted to talk about “memories”. He could not really identify the memories, but that word was very important to him.
In our text God directed Jude to write about the importance of remembering the work of God in the past history of the nation of Israel. It seems that the original recipients of Jude’s letter were Jews. God chose to give them an illustration that the Jews should be quite familiar with. God reminded the readers that they once knew this past history. It is easy to forget the important lessons that God wants us to pay attention to. Those lessons are often times warnings that we need to heed. We as people do not like to be warned. We like to be praised. In order to be praised, we need to heed the warnings.
In the first illustration that God gave to Jude, He spoke of how the Lord delivered the entire nation of Israel from Egyptian bondage. There were many in Israel at that time that did not know the fear of the LORD. They were quick to blame Moses for the increased suffering they faced at the hands of a wicked Pharaoh. They were also quick to blame Moses when they were leaving Egypt and Pharaoh followed after them and the Red Sea was a barrier before them. They accused Moses of leading them to a sure death.
God tolerated that complaining. He showed them that their fears and their doubts were unfounded, and yet the general population of the nation of Israel kept on complaining. They never repented and believed.
God reminded the “beloved” in our text that they needed to pay attention to God’s justice and to His actions. God is longsuffering. God also has an end to His longsuffering. He destroyed almost an entire generation of Jews in the wilderness because of their rebellion. Only two men survived. The children of those rebels entered the promised land, but almost an entire generation died in the wilderness. How sad. God does not lie. He promised them a land flowing with milk and honey. He showed them that truth when the spies came back with that huge bunch of grapes. In spite of seeing the evidence, ten of the spies discouraged the people and the people were willing to listen to the lies of those ten spies, rather than listen to the two spies who reminded them of God’s faithfulness.
The original recipients of Jude’s letter needed to be reminded of the facts. The naysayers will far out number the yeasayers. The original recipients needed to take heed to the truth and they needed to understand that those who want to call God a liar, especially those who claim to know the Lord, will be judged for their unbelief. The ungodly will also be judged, but those who claim to know the Lord are held accountable for the truth they have been given, but rejected. God proved Himself faithful through all the Old Testament wanderings.
Those that perished in the wilderness wanderings were lost for eternity. They chose to miss out on God’s blessings. They all had the same opportunity to witness God’s faithfulness. They saw Him give them water from a rock. They saw Him provide them with manna and with quail. They saw Him protect them from enemies. They saw that their clothing never wore out. They witnessed so many great blessings and yet they chose to reject those blessings. They chose to lust after the things they had in Egypt. They were not prepared to receive the greater blessings that God was providing for them. Because they would not receive God’s blessings they were miserable and felt cheated. The only reason they felt cheated is because they would not follow God’s way.
In verse 6 God gave a second warning. The angels that chose to rebel along with Satan, left their first estate. The angels were given free will. They were created to serve God. Some of them chose to believe the lies of the devil and they chose to leave their place as heavenly messengers for the Lord. They chose to fall with the devil. Those angels cannot be forgiven and saved.
We see that those angels kept not their first estate. They threw that away. They also left their first habitation. They walked away from the place God had assigned for them. Because they made that choice, God has reserved them in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Those angels cannot be saved. They made their choice. God acted on their choice. God gives man a choice. He is patient with man and gives him all the help he needs to choose wisely. However, when man chooses to reject all that God offers, He acts in judgment against them.
God gave these illustrations to warn us all of the importance of contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints. Letting true faith slip is a grave danger.
The majority of what is called Christianity today has turned away from the faith once delivered unto the saints. They are looking in all the wrong places for peace and for joy. They are not finding it. They may have short stints of what they call joy and peace, but it does not last. It is also very costly to acquire.
God’s peace and His joy is only available for those who truly know Him and walk with Him. He does not set a trap and see how many He can catch in His trap. He offers liberty to the saints. The devil is a liar and he wants to make it look like following God is the recipe for misery. That is what he did to the majority of the Jews in Moses’ day. He lied to them and they were gullible enough to believe the lies in spite of all the wonders that God did at that time. They missed out on what their souls desired, but their flesh refused to pursue.
The angels also chose to believe a lie and they were judged for that. They too have no hope of returning to what they once had. The point that Jude is making is that God provides all that man needs to choose wisely. He gives us many warnings of the consequences of rejecting Him. God shows us the good we can have in knowing Him. He also warns of the danger of rejecting what He says. It is truly worthwhile to know the faith once delivered unto the saints and to walk in that faith. There is no other hope for man.
Life is short and there needs to be a sober-mindedness about life. It is not “all good”. Children are not born inherently good. Christians do not automatically follow God obediently. They need to choose to follow God and they need to be warned of the importance of follow God obediently.
Again we are reminded of the importance of a true local church. Our flesh may desire “fun” things. Our spirit will desire truth. We need God’s truth and when we truly know His truth our flesh and spirit will be attuned to follow the truth.
I Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Jude was writing to the saints. Paul was also writing to the saints in our verses. Those who are saved need to be warned of the danger of being careless with that which is so precious. Listen carefully and choose wisely.