Jude 1 – The Possibility of Apostasy

By Wayne Jackson

While yet within the bliss of Eden, Adam was warned of God that he should not eat of the produce of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” – lest he die. In a later conversation with the tempting serpent, Eve repeated this prohibition. Satan disputed the Lord’s utterance, alleging that these first human beings would “not die” (Gen. 3:4). From that time onward, the archenemy of mankind has sought to convince multitudes that no child of God can ever so stray as to be eternally lost in hell.

One New Testament document that argues forcefully against that misguided notion is the book of Jude. Let us note several points from this intriguing, one-chaper treatise.

(1) The book is addressed to the “called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ” (v. 1). There can be no doubt that children of God are discussed here. The verb “kept” does not exempt these saints from personal responsibility (see v. 21).

(2) The Christians addressed by Jude were in danger of being corrupted by “certain men” who were theologically and morally perverse (v. 4). It is generally conceded that these corrupters were the same persons as those “false teachers” alluded to in 2 Peter 2:1, who had come to the point where they denied “even the Master who bought them,” and who were headed for “destruction.” In that text, circle “bought them,” and “destruction,” and connect them with a line.

(3) Subsequently, a series of historical examples are introduced, to establish the ancient reality of, and present possibility of, falling away from the grace of God, into a state of everlasting condemnation. Note two of the illustrations employed:

(a) Israel had been “saved” out of the land of Egypt; later, though, those who failed to maintain their faith had to be “destroyed” (v. 5).

(b) Certain angels, who once were in heaven, rebelled against God, and were cast into everlasting punishment (v. 6; cf. 2 Pet. 2:4).

Mark these important verses in your Bible and cross-reference them. Apostasy is possible.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.