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Last week Jude told us how the creepers were not like Michael the Archangel. Michael had the opportunity to bring judgment against the devil, but he chose to let the Lord to rebuke him. When God brings a rebuke, it is final, no room to negotiate. Jude continues to present evidence that these creepers are bad to their core even though they are in the church.
Jude 10 says, “But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.”
The creepers got into the church and were teaching things that are contrary to the fundamental principles of the faith and yet no one noticed them. This is the same group of people Jude began talking about in v. 4. Even though we’re taking our time moving through this letter, it was meant to be read in a single sitting. Some of the verses are very difficult to understand, but Jude’s readers knew what he was talking about. This verse is tied to vs. 8-9.
The first phrase of v. 10 is something we are seeing more and more these days. The creepers, “Revile the things which they do not understand.” Remember from v. 8 the creepers, “revile angelic majesties.” Revile comes from the word that means blaspheme or slander. Slander is when someone tells another person or people something false that harms or injures a person’s reputation. In the printed form it is known as libel, in the courtroom it is known as perjury. So this is some pretty serious stuff. The creepers slander the things they don’t understand. They don’t understand angelic majesties, yet they speak falsely about them. Michael understood the angels which mean he understood the devil, yet chose to let the Lord take care of him. Today we have a wide variety of people that revile what they do not understand. It can be your kids saying there is no need for them to do chores, but you know it helps develop discipline and contributes to a smooth running household. They complain about the set bedtime, but you know they need their sleep. The Karate Kid didn’t understand wax on and wax off, he didn’t understand paint the fence, but Mr. Miagi knew he was developing the skills necessary to defend himself. Biblically we have people that don’t understand God so they say things like, “A loving God would not send people to hell.” We have people that don’t understand the Old Testament so they say it’s not relevant or applicable for today. Still others reject the authority of Scripture all together. Some reject the gifts of the Spirit, while others define spiritual maturity by the presence of the Spirit. Some reject the principle of tithing and ignore the principle of generous giving because they don’t understand stewardship. It can be people that say they don’t need to be part of a local fellowship to be a good Christian because they don’t understand the purpose of the church or a need for mutual accountability and encouragement. These people are not nut jobs; these are people that I have actually come in contact with that are in or were part of the church.
Jude is not just writing about things that were going on in his time. That’s part of the wonderment of Scripture that it is accurate and applicable for what we are challenged with each and every day. People revile or slander what they don’t understand. So how can we combat that? Reject false teaching and lovingly guide people to the truth. Understand that many of the mountains being fought over in the church are really mole hills. Some things are not worth fighting for. There is a pastor in Mississippi that is leading the charge in his community and state, rallying people together for the common good and he’s getting national attention. Before you get all excited, he’s leading the charge not about the Gospel or authentic Christian living or evangelism or missions, but he’s leading the charge in fighting against obesity. We have people in ministry in our county that are spear heading initiatives to get high school dropouts their GED, to get kids backpacks and school supplies, to give kids Christmas presents. Please understand, those efforts are not bad or sinful, but if that’s the primary vision or goal of the church, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the purpose we have on this earth. Sure, get involved in those things with the goal of making disciples, in teaching and living out the principles found in Scripture.
The creepers don’t know about angelic majesties, so do they know anything? Look at the second part of v. 10. They know some things by instinct. Instinct means an innate pattern of behavior in animals in response to certain stimuli. These are behaviors that are not learned. They are driven by physical desires. The creepers are like irrational animals driven by desire. When you consider they pollute or defile themselves, you bring in the sexual nature of their instincts. 2 Pet. 2:12 says, “But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed.” Jude and Peter agree that their destruction will come about because the creepers follow their desires. They claimed a knowledge or understanding, but their comprehension of truth was about the same as an animal. They didn’t understand Gal. 5:19-25 that says,
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
These people turned the grace of God into license. That is not consistent with the principle of holy living and godliness. It’s not consistent with the way God wants us to live our lives. The creepers revile where they have no knowledge. Before you dismiss the principles of Scripture, take the time to learn and understand. If you still don’t understand, trust that God knows best and follow Scripture anyway just as you expect your children to follow your principles even though they may not understand.