“Salvation is so much better, but it seems they forgot.” — Jude
Jude, having laid aside his own eagerness in the blessings of salvation and warned them of the grace changer now moved on to help his readers. He would remind them of something they had once fully known. Since they had partially forgotten it he returned to the ground rules of Christianity starting with the judgment of God.
“5 Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day–7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 5-7–ESV)
Among the abundance of God’s created order two groups were given free will: the angels and humanity. All come under the judgment of their creator: angels (verse 7) and then humanity which was further subdivided into the Jews (verse 5) and the Gentiles (verse 7).
Verse 5-The Jews come under judgment
Official nation status for the Jews began with the Exodus. Clearly they were saved. But things were not all rosy and a serious percentage was eliminated.
What happened with this? There were those among the escaping Jewish nation who were not of a godly mold. Their unrighteousness eventually rose to a point of judgment. Note that these men and women experienced God’s gracious rescue. They saw his mighty deeds. They had every opportunity for faith, but they went another way. They came under God’s judgment.
It is as though these men were given a tour of righteousness, but upon seeing it and experiencing it would not have it. The poignancy of submission to authority was like a third rail from which they recoiled into themselves.
Jude made no effort to explain why experience of the miraculous did not result in a Godly allegiance. He merely explained that judgment came. Even those who were most especially under God’s provision were discarded in the midst of their rebellion.
Verse 6-The Angels come under judgment
The human sphere has little to no grasp of the celestial. That is need to know and we don’t. The little we do have teaching on is from verses like this one. As is seen here angels had/have authority. It was God given authority and it was authority under God. Some did not wish to remain as God would have them. They thought it better to be on their own and left their proper dwelling. They are chained. They will remain bound until God sees fit to draw his creation to a conclusion.
Verse 7-The Gentiles come under judgment
The men of Sodom and Gomorrah were Gentile nations in the era of the Patriarchs. They indulged in sensual desires. Their passions were perverted and they were eliminated in a rather eventful manner. They were an example of God’s judgment.
What is the point?
Jews, Gentiles and the celestial beings have had opportunity to believe and enter the kingdom of God. The alternative is to rebel and be expelled from the kingdom of God. No being of free will can presume immunity from this. The angels saw more plainly than humanity and rejected. The ancient Jews saw more plainly than all other humans and rejected. The gentile nations of Sodom and Gomorrah had slid far into their own wills and were disposed of. Despite God’s varied graces man often chooses the deeply ingrained rebellion. Judgment comes.
Key points in this set of verses:
- Jude must lay aside the good things to take up things forgotten
- No man is immune from the dangers of rebellion
- God will not tolerate wickedness
- The ungodly do not go to a better place
- God judged all these people.
- God will judge us, our family, our friends, our co-workers.
- Is it enough that we know this or are we motivated by it?
- Will we be like Sodom, like Lucifer, like the Jews of the Exodus? or
- Will we be like Jude finding great excellence in the salvation of God?