The second “church” in the title is lowercased on purpose. The pandemic of easy-believism is rampant across the world. We have been sold the lie that all we must do to be saved is walk down the aisle and really, really mean it; then we are saved. This contradicts what the entire New Testament says about salvation. The situation in Jude is not different. So far, we have seen Jude telling the believers he was writing to that they were in the love of God (v.2). They are called by God for His purpose. Jude goes on to say that he initially wished to write concerning their “common salvation” (v.3). However, a situation came up and took precedence. It seems people had “crept unnoticed” into the church and were perverting the grace of God (v.4). These were ungodly people, using God’s grace as an excuse to do whatever their sinful nature desired. These people are storing up wrath for themselves even though they are fellowshipping within the local body of believers.
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.
They Knew “It!”
“It” refers to the judgement and possibly the gospel also. In other words, Jude is saying that they should already know what happens to people whose lives are marked by the type of behavior displayed in these false teachers. At one time, at least, they already knew it fully. This is the nature of our flesh. Even us who have been born again tend to stray from the truth. Reader, we must remind ourselves daily of the truth that is the gospel! It is life or death. In this case, Jude’s audience has apparently forgotten what God has promised to do; both in salvation and condemnation.
Jesus in Exodus
Jude makes a bold claim. A true one, to be sure but still very bold. He reminds his audience that Jesus saved a people from Egypt. The Exodus happened thousands of years before Jesus was born of Mary. This is a profound statement concerning the Christocentric nature of Old Testament salvation. It was Christ who saved Israel, God’s chosen ones. The trinity is just plain cool, isn’t it? But I digress. It was faith in Jesus that saved the nation of Israel. However, Jude also reminds the people that Jesus destroyed those who afterward did not believe. Jude is not talking Egyptians. No, he is speaking of Israel. After the Exodus a number of Israelites by birth deserted the Lord their God to chase idols they made themselves. So not only does God save; he also destroys. Faith results in eternal life, apostasy results in condemnation.
What this shows:
What was happening in Jude was a “Church inside a church.” The false ones played the part just as the real believers did. But their lives did not reflect a real heart changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. These ones that go out were never in! This is the point of Jude’s Exodus illustration. Just because one was an Israelite did not make them born of God. A remnant was sustained by the grace of God and then others followed their own passions. They did not lose their salvation. They could not lose what they never had. So it was for Jude’s audience. Even though these people were in the church that fact did not make them saved. Faithlessness is a mark of a false conversion, not the loss of grace. We see this today as well. Our churches are full of unconverted sinners, parading around doing whatever they please under the guise of salvation. Why is this? We have forgotten the gospel and the judgement to come. Let Jude’s warning wake us up! Permanent unbelief will result in condemnation. But take heart. Jude has already promised that we are the called ones, the ones beloved in God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ. Our assurance does not come from within. If left to ourselves we, like these false teachers, would pervert the grace of God and deny Christ. It is only by the grace of God that we can put of the flesh and make our calling and election sure.
soli deo gloria