“Turning the Grace of God Into Lewdness”—Jude 3-4.

Here, Jude speaks of protecting the Gospel from false teachers. Vs. 3 says, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to CONTEND EARNESTLY FOR THE FAITH which was ONCE FOR ALL DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS.

Jude speaks of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” “The faith” here refers to a set pattern of beliefs. The Church is not innovative in its theology or thinking. There is an already-established set of tenets which the Church is to hold on to (i.e. the Gospel and its practice). This belief system does not change based on centuries, to suit the culture of the day. It remains consistent, constant and true.

Paul calls this belief system “traditions” of the Church. These traditions are teachings passed down, both orally and in writing, from the Apostles.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NKJV)

15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and HOLD THE TRADITIONS which you were taught, whether BY WORD or OUR EPISTLE.

2 Thessalonians 3:6 (NKJV)

6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and NOT ACCORDING TO THE TRADITION which HE RECEIVED FROM US.

This is the “good thing” entrusted to Timothy, in 2 Timothy 1, “Hold fast THE PATTERN OF SOUND WORDS which you have HEARD FROM ME, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That GOOD THING WHICH WAS COMMITTED TO YOU, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us” (vv. 13-14). The “good thing” is the pattern of sound words, received from Paul (vs. 13). It refers to everything Christians believe and hold dear (our orthodox faith and practice). It is the mystery of godliness, which we all believe.

1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

16 And WITHOUT CONTROVERSY great is THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.

In the Pastoral Epistles, these core doctrines of the Christian faith are qualified using the phrase “faithful saying.

1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)

15 This is A FAITHFUL SAYING and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 

1 Timothy 4:8-9 (NKJV)

8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is A FAITHFUL SAYING and worthy of all acceptance. 

2 Timothy 2:11 (NKJV)

11 This is A FAITHFUL SAYING: for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.

Titus 3:4-8 (NKJV)

4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 THIS IS A FAITHFUL SAYING, and these things I WANT YOU TO AFFIRM CONSTANTLY, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

It is these traditions, tenets and ideologies which the saints ought to contend for (Jude 1:3). They are to protect the same from false teachers, who seek to destroy them via false doctrine and practice.

Vs. 4 says, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, WHO TURN THE GRACE OF OUR GOD INTO LEWDNESS and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

The “ungodly men” Jude refers to here are the heretical Nicolaitans, of whom Jesus spoke in Revelation 2:6, “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” The Gnostics and Carpocratians were successors of the Nicolaitans, and held similiar beliefs.

The Nicolaitans were known for practicing lawlessness (Rev 2:14-15) and using the Grace of God as an excuse (also known as Antinomianism). Jude says they “turn the grace of our God into lewdness.” The word “turn” translates the Greek “metatithemi” (μετατίθημι), which means “to pervert.”

Ecclesiastical tradition reveals that these men (the Nicolaitans) committed heinous sins, finding a defense for their licentiousness by twisting the Grace of God into something else. Amongst other things, they believed that marriage was not a sacred union, so they had all women in common. Because of this, they committed all forms of lustful acts and fornication in their “love-feasts.”

Vv. 16-19 describe them further, “These are grumblers, complainers, walking ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN LUSTS; and they mouth great swelling words, FLATTERING PEOPLE TO GAIN ADVANTAGE. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would WALK ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN UNGODLY LUSTS. These are SENSUAL PERSONS, who cause divisions, NOT HAVING THE SPIRIT.

As we preach the Gospel, we must also be ready to safeguard it from those who seek to corrupt the same. The Gospel DOES reveal God’s Grace. Romans 5:20 says, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, GRACE ABOUNDED MUCH MORE.

But the Gospel also warns Christians against lasciviousness. Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? CERTAINLY NOT! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

The Grace of God teaches us to live righteously, “For THE GRACE OF GOD that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, DENYING UNGODLINESS and WORLDLY LUSTS, WE SHOULD LIVE SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, and GODLY in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).

Our liberty is Christ is to serve others. Galatians 5:13 says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only DO NOT USE LIBERTY AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE FLESH, but through love serve one another.” 1 Peter 2:16 says similiarly, “As free, yet NOT USING LIBERTY AS A CLOAK FOR VICE, but as bondservants of God.

This is why Paul chided the Corinthians for their wanton/immoral lifestyle (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-20). John makes it clear that a characteristic of genuinely saved men is that they do not make an habit of sinning (1 John 3:7-10).

By their false doctrine and practice, these men (whom Jude speaks of) denied “the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is, their conduct was not worthy of their Christian profession. They claimed to love the Lord, but their actions betrayed their unregenerate hearts. They denied the Lord in word and deed. They were not saved.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *