“He buys his pleasures too dear who pays for them with the loss of his soul.” –Matthew Mead
According to Jude, three of the traits of the false teachers are as follows: they defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. The lives of the false teachers are characterized by sexual permissiveness. They are also insubordinate, refusing to follow the authority of God’s Word. They also blaspheme the glorious ones, which is a difficult phrase, but must certainly be connected to evil spiritual forces as the very next illustration that Jude employed had to do with the archangel Michael and Satan. What are we to make of all of these traits? Jude’s counsel to the church is to observe the actual behavior of the teacher and see if it lines up with the sanctifying change that comes from the true gospel. Next week, we will look closely at the examples Jude uses to illustrate the pernicious influence of these false teachers.
We close this short devotional with some further instructive words from Rhyne R. Putman, from his book, When Doctrine Divides the People of God. Putman notes:
- False teaching can result from and lead to inappropriate sensuality and sexual immorality.
The idolatrous fixation on immoral behavior can yield false teaching. These false teachers “do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites” (Rom. 16:18). As Peter observes, “many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed” (2 Pet. 2:2). Teaching rooted in immoral desires yields immoral behavior. The risen Lord warns the churches in Pergamum and Thyatira about teachings that lead his “servants to practice sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:20; cf. 2:14). In a post-sexual revolution Western culture, people still “[follow] their own sinful desires” (Jude 16) and “accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim. 4:3). Sensual urges and lust still motivate many to deny biblical truth about God’s design for sex and marriage and to justify atrocities like human abortion.
- False teaching is sometimes attributed to demonic deception.
Some who depart the faith do so because they pay attention “to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Paul cautions against affirming false apostles who are like Satan, who masquerades as “an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:13–14). Paul forewarns Galatian Christians not to believe any other gospel even if “an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you” (Gal. 1:8). Not every spiritual work is from God. The spirit of the messenger and the message must be tested because, as John insists, spirits who do “not confess Jesus” are “not from God” (1 John 4:3).
Have a blessed week and we will see you on Sunday! D. V. (D. V. is Latin for Deo Volente and means “God willing.”)
Love in Christ,