"Enemies of Grace"
May 1, 2012

C. R. Oliver

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May 1, 2012

"Enemies of Grace"

          Jude, the most neglected of New Testament books, will be the starting point for this newsletter. Jude parallels, while supplying fullness to, Simon's work in II Peter. Themes in both volumes address the hard reality: there are those who are "ungodly" sown among the saints (Tares).
Jude 4
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.
(lewdness: NT: 766 aselgeia; from a compound of NT:1 [as a negative particle] and a presumed selges [of uncertain derivation, but apparently meaning continent]; licentiousness [sometimes including other vices],KJV - filthy, lasciviousness, wantonness.)
Notice (1) They have crept in unnoticed; (2) They were fore-ordained (appointed, chosen, marked out) for their tasks (similar to Judas); (3) They turn the GRACE of GOD into lewdness (using a huge degree of deception); (4) They deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Word Study: Deny: NT:720 arneomai (ar-neh'-om-ahee); perhaps from NT:1 (as a negative particle) and the middle voice of NT:4483; to contradict, i.e. disavow, reject, abnegate: KJV - deny, refuse.
(Abnegate is a great translation: Refuse or deny rights to oneself, to relinquish, give up, to renounce.)
How is it that one can "turn the grace of God into lewdness (wantonness)," all the while denying the rights of grace? Could it be they accept a theology of grace, but keep out the Lord Jesus' rights in the equation? Could it be these guys (foreordained of old) are examples of fallen angels masquerading as sons of light, their mission being to corrupt grace and to separate it from the Lordship of Christ? When Jesus is not the one in control, then Biblical grace is corrupted. This juncture allows one to make his own modern application, for it is not difficult to spot such work among the congregations of today.
Example: Preaching forgiveness with no demand for repentance.

Example: Declaring Bible Truths as a demand on God, while denying God's demand on the person.

Example: Preaching a gospel without Scriptural parameters, such as giving sexual license in areas God does not (homosexuality, promiscuity).

Example: Accepting other belief systems as valid and allowing them to act as dispensers of God's grace. (Interfaith, U.N. Covenants of Faith)

How does Jude depict these grace twisters? He said they were like the ones who perished in the desert after receiving grace in Egypt. The rescued Hebrews created a calf idol and worshipped it as their deliverer. They joined the multitudes of modern religion that create their version of what the Scriptures say and declare them as valid guidelines of faith.

They were like fallen angels who lived under the reign of the Most High, yet rebelled against Him. (How often the scriptures caution about "tasting" of the ways of the Lord, then denying Him.) Having accepted the voice of another as authority, they gave example for modern cults who hear not the voice of the Spirit.

They were like the homosexuals of Sodom who had grace on them for Lot's sake, but eclipsed their day of grace. Time for them ran out. The angels pronounced judgment, and it was too late to explore options. Fire rained down on a people who refused to repent.

Jude explodes with passion as he describes further those who twist God's grace. He shows his disdain for all that is against the Lord and shows his own disgust, being incensed, as if he had been violated by their actions.
Jude 8
Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.
He calls them "dreamers." His Hebrew mind may have gone back to the meaning of the term as it was used in Jeremiah. When Jeremiah, the only prophet with God's authority, confronted an array of religious charlatans--he heaped them together as a single unit, full of lies and errors. Jeremiah used "dreamers" as someone who claims "special revelation." He characterized the five groups as having one goal: to dispossess the saints from their land (take away what God had given them).
Jeremiah 27:9-10
9 Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, "You shall not serve the king of Babylon." 10 For they prophesy a lie to you, to remove you far from your land;
Three aspects summarize their sin. In the third aspect, they go beyond measure and speak evil of God's dignitaries.

(Author's note: It has been my prayer for many years that God would acquaint me with the end time dignitaries. Recognizably, they are often not "Platform apparent" and many times they are off the radar of religion---I have asked the Lord to "point them out." Far better is it to know "God's dignitaries" than man's prescribed ones. Those who occupy leadership positions and spotlights are often put to shame by the humble character of those God considers "kingdom dignitaries." Lord, help us to meet them, to embrace them, to associate with them, to cherish them.)
Jude 10
But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.
The dreamers are the opposite of the dignitaries; they lack revelation and spiritual discernment. They criticize spiritual gifts, speaking in tongues, prophecy and the move of the Spirit, as well as, any other Spirit directed activity. They operate from their human reasoning and not from the authority of Christ. Thus, they function like brute beasts.

Their goal is to turn grace into something other than the vehicle God uses to bring mankind into the perfection found in Jesus. They work against the flow of grace bringing men and women into the fullness of Christ.

How on earth did Jude get such a clear picture of these Tares? Did he have some persons in mind? Did he choose his characterizations out of anger and frustration or did the Spirit prompt each attribute? Can you not see these identical types operating in the open in your church or fellowship?

Jude compares them to the likes of Cain, Balaam and Korah. They are like Cain in his refusal to bring to God an acceptable sacrifice and killing his brother who did. They are like Balaam, who took money to curse the "Blessed." They are like Korah, who challenged God's dignitary, Moses.

Jude declares that Enoch saw them thousands of years before and declared them as the ones saints will judge when Jesus comes. These are they who have said too much, pushed the envelope to the breaking point and caused God to record their speeches against Him.
Jude 15
and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.
These are they who are:
Jude 16-17
grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage.
Verse 17 characterizes many ministries today. "Flattering people to gain advantage," is so common place that no commentary need explain.

There are:
Jude 18-19
Mockers in the last times (NOW) who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
Are you acquainted with any of these? Do any sit in your Bible studies or teach? Do any lead public worship? Do any draw you aside for "special words?"

There is an antidote for such poison.
Jude 20-21
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Grace calls for edification (building up). Paul taught it consistently in his epistles and John's epistles are blueprints for living the grace-filled life.

Note: Jude emphasizes building faith by praying in the Holy Spirit. I believe this includes speaking in tongues and exercising a prayer language. How long has it been since you prayed thusly? How long since the church had an altar call for the Baptism of the Spirit and fire? How long?

Verse 21 says, "Keeping oneself in the love of God and looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus," catalyses faith. The great people of faith throughout history have all displayed these two traits. God's people still do.

Jude thought it necessary to "remind" the saints not to let their guard down. Well, what he warned about has happened and now the "grace twisters" have multiplied and are so entrenched that whole congregations are embracing their form and fashion. Beware!

(A few paragraphs ago, I mentioned John's epistles as edifying against "grace twisting." Moreover, John describes the road to such activity as being paved with denial and untruth. The "deception of the subtle" leads the saint to be almost unable to disentangle himself from the web of the twisters.)

Review this sampling of John's advice.
1 John 1:6
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

1 John 1:8-9
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 2:4
He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1 John 2:9-10
He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

1 John 2:15-17
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it;

1 John 2:22
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son

1 John 3:10
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother (John cites Cain, just as Jude).

1 John 4:3
Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4:8
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

2 John 9
Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God.
In ten (10) short verses, John identifies the twisters and delegates them to the devil. He sums his arguments by comparing two brethren: Demetrius and Diotrephes.
Diotrephes: 3 John 9-11
I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. 11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
Demetrius: 3 John 12
Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself. And we also bear witness, and you know that our testimony is true.
In similar manner Paul took the arguments associated with "the twisters" and wove them throughout his epistles. (Please reference each of the following twelve (12) Scriptures wherein Paul warns, as did Jude and Peter, about those who were sown among the saints.)
Romans 6:1-3
(Some were teaching this as doctrine.) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Rom 6:15
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!

Galatians 1:6-10
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

Ephesians 4:13-15
13 ... till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ -

Phil 1:15
Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife... The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains...

Colossians 2:8
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, 2 and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith.

1 Timothy 6:20-21
O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge - 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.

2 Timothy 2:16-19
But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. 17 And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, 18 who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some.

Titus 1:10-1, 13, 14
For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain... Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.

Hebrews 3:12-13
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 6:4-6
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
Evidently, the early disciples and apostles considered the flock vulnerable to unscrupulous tares. They sought on every hand to warn the saints under their domain against those "who plot." Why don't we hear such warnings today? Why have many of these Scriptures been wrested from sermon patterns and not taught as a unit? How long has it been since the primary lesson or teaching originated from all the verses of Jude? How long would it take to rehearse the twelve scriptures of Paul or the advice of John?

True Grace cares. It cares about the overall welfare of its recipients. It takes into consideration the long range aspects of the Christian walk. It looks out for those it inhabits and with the communion of the Spirit causes "people on the path" to understand how important it is to guard what has been entrusted them and shield themselves from those who seek to corrupt its work.

John Newton wrote "Amazing Grace" and penned, not just a memorable song, but a doctrinal statement of the wealth of knowing this grace. The mighty gallery of those gone before would cringe if they beheld the slothful multitudes who brandish a cheap grace today. They knew, as do we, the cost of Calvary and the suffering that brought grace to them.

It was not trivial spouting that wrote:
Ephesians 1:3-6
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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