William Burkitt Notes and Observations - Jude 1:4 - 1:4

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William Burkitt Notes and Observations - Jude 1:4 - 1:4

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Here we have a reason of the foregoing exhortation assigned, why we should contend so earnestly for the Christian faith once delivered by Christ to his apostles, because there were crept, by little and little, such seducers into the church, as would endeavour to adulterate and corrupt it: There are certain men crept in unawares.

Note here, That corruptors and corruptions creep secretly and gradually into the church; and heretics do not broach all their errors and false doctrines at once; vain then and frivolous is the question which the church of Rome asks us, When did their innovations and false doctrines come first into the church? They crept in, and that unawares; it is enough for us that we find them there, though we assign not the time when, not the manner how, they did come in.

Observe next, The character and description which our apostle gives of these seducers crept in amongst them.

1. He tells us they were men fore-ordained to condemnation; mark, not fore-ordained to seduction to sin, but to condemnation for sin; the word rendered fore-ordained, signifies before written, or before prophesied of, by Enoch and others, that they would by their great sins and impieties fall into that condemnation which God hath ordained as a just reward to their transgressions; God never ordaineth or decreeth any man's sin, but he decreeth and foretelleth their condemnation for sin.

2. He styles them wicked, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness; pointing at the Nicolaitans, Gnostics, and other impure heretics, that sprang from Simon Magus, who made the doctrine of the free grace of God, discovered in the gospel, a cloak for their looseness and lasciviousness. Errors in doctrine are usually accompanied with corruption in manners, as being most suitable to man's corrupt, vile nature, and will be sure never to want followers.

3. He charges them with denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ; that is, Jesus Christ our only Master, God, and Lord, called by St. Peter, the Lord that bought them: lessening the dignity of his person, and invalidating what they could the merit of his death and sufferings.

Learn hence, 1. That Jesus Christ, the Master of the world, the Lord of the church, is truly God; he is called the great God, and the mighty God, to show that he is not a God inferior to, but equal to, the Father, and that by nature, not by office.

Learn, 2. That it is an horrid impiety to deny our Lord Jesus Christ, to deny him in either of his natures, or in any of his offices; to deny him either in opinion, or in practice, is a sin that carries a prodigious appearance with it: They denied the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.