Differing Approaches Towards Sinners—Jude 1:22-23.

Here, Jude speaks of saving men from destruction. He mentions that there are two types of sinners, and our approach towards saving them differs. They should be dealt with, in different ways. We must make a “distinction” between the two.

Vs. 22 says, “And on SOME have compassion, MAKING A DISTINCTION.” On some, we show compassion, or mercy. That is, we admonish them calmly. These are the ones who are not hardened in sin. They require only a gentle touch.

For the obstinate, however, they are to be dealt with more severely. Vs. 23 says, “But others SAVE WITH FEAR, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” For these ones, they are to be saved with very harsh warnings, which would induce fear/reverence in their hearts. They must know what danger lies ahead, if they don’t repent!

These ones are to be “snatched out of the fire” (i.e. destruction) forcefully, the same way you would pull back someone who is entering a burning house; you wouldn’t use soft words, but loud shouts and warnings!

Jude also speaks of “hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.” This is an allusion to the ceremonial law in Leviticus 15.

Leviticus 15:4, 17 (NKJV)

4 Every bed is unclean on which he who has the discharge lies, and EVERYTHING ON WHICH HE SITS SHALL BE UNCLEAN. 

17 And ANY GARMENT and any leather on which there is semen, it shall be washed with water, and BE UNCLEAN until evening. 

Under the Law, anyone who touched a defiled object, himself became defiled. Jude then applies the same principle here: He advises caution, as we seek to save the sinner. We must not become defiled or corrupted by them, in doing so. We are to maintain an “healthy distance” from sinful lifestyle as we seek to convert the sinful.

Paul says similiarly in Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, CONSIDERING YOURSELF LEST YOU ALSO BE TEMPTED.

So a class of sinners can be persuaded gently, while another class requires strict chiding. Jude’s point is this: each person is different. We should approach everyone based on their unique character and circumstance. Some should be pleaded with, calmly. While others require a little bit of a more forceful persuasion.

The preacher’s wisdom is in knowing that the same method would not always work for everyone. So he ought to be versatile, to meet the present case at hand. This is what Jesus did, in His earthly ministry. He was gentle with sinners who came to Him (Luke 15:1-2, John 4:1-26, John 8:1-11), but He was more severe towards the self-righteous Pharisees (see Matthew 23), because they were unwilling to repent, and they always sought to entrap Him. He unleashed the full wrath of the Law upon them! (see Matt 12:9-14, 38-42, 19:3-9, 22:34-40, Mark 7:1-23, Luke 7:36-50, 20:45-47, John 8:7).

So the heart posture of the one(s) we are dealing with, per time, determines our approach. This is what Jude is saying.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2022.


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