God’s Word is truth and it must be because He is truth and He only speaks truth. Therefore what God has to say on any subject is true and we are not left to ourselves to determine what is and what is not true. Since it is the Word of God which is the standard of measure for determining truth we must go to it and hold every truth claim up against God’s Word to see whether or not it really is true. God’s Word is our only trustworthy standard of judgment. Not only does God’s Word tell us the truth of who God is but it also tells us the truth of who we are and whether or not we have become His children or are still His enemies. It is the Word of God alone that tells us who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil.
Since the Word of God is truth it gives an accurate portrait or portrayal of those whom it describes. Therefore God’s Word serves as a mirror or even x-ray which accurately reflects or reveals the inner character traits of each person. I like the way that Warren Wiersbe put it, “God’s Word doesn’t show me my baldness but my badness.” It is possible for men to appear on the outside to be all pious and pure but on the inside to be full of dead men’s bones. It is possible for men to appear on the outside to be all righteous but on the inside to be all rotten.
In Jude verse four, Jude introduces us to some very dangerous people who may appear to be all righteous on the outside but are completely rotten on the inside. In verse four Jude tells us that these dangerous apostates are insidious (stealthy, treacherous, or deceitful) in their activity – “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
In verses five through seven Jude gave three biblical and historical examples of the certainty of God’s judgment on apostates. In verses eight through nineteen Jude gave a portrait of apostates which accurately reflects and reveals their inner character traits. In these twelve verses (8-19) Jude referred to the apostates of verse four as “these men” or “these” six times.
Let us consider from the Word of God the portrait of “these people” and the reasons for their woe.
To begin with Jude says of these certain persons in verse four that they are insidious in their activity. They are stealthy, treacherous and deceitful. These people are a great danger to the church of God and His truth that they are to proclaim and uphold. They are workers of iniquity twisting the meaning of God’s Word and God’s grace. And now in verses 8-10 Jude begins to give the full portrait of these people who are insidious in their activity.
The first characteristic that Jude gives is that these people are insatiable in their ambition – “Yet in the same way, these men, also by dreaming…” (8a). These persons are not content with their lot; they are not satisfied with their positions until they achieve their dreams. They believe that they are the answer to the problems of God’s church and that if God would turn them loose they could show everyone how church is supposed to be done. These people live in a dream-world of unreality and delusion. They overestimate their own importance and are not satisfied when others don’t recognize their abilities and their supposed rights to be in some position of leadership.
Jude put it this way in verse 16 – “These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts….” “Grumblers” is “murmurers” and it is one who discontentedly complains against God. It refers, not to a loud, outspoken dissatisfaction, but an undertone muttering. “Finding fault” here means “blamers of their lot, complaining of one’s position, discontented with their position.” We will talk more about this when we get to the apostates’ engagement in the rebellion of Korah. “Following after their own lusts” shows us that these people are dreamers who do not abide in or by the Word of God. They have a vision for the church that includes them in positions of prominence but that vision is not based on God’s divine revelation as found in His Word. These people are insatiable in their ambition.
The second characteristic of these people is they are insanitary in their audacity – “Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh…” (8b). Insanitary means unclean or likely to cause disease. Audacity means boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety. These people have an unholy boldness. They have the nerve to disobey God’s divine revelation and act as though God doesn’t mind. They believe that their agenda is God’s agenda and that their happiness is God’s concern. They live to satisfy their lusts both for their positions of leadership and their personal happiness. Peter in 2 Peter 2:10 said that they are “daring, self-willed.” They have the boldness to turn God’s grace into licentiousness and say things that are an outright denial of the will, way, and Word of God. For instance, Ray Boltz, who divorced his wife a couple of years ago and is now an out of the closet homosexual said, “This is what it really comes down to, if this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.” Isn’t that daring and self-willed and an outright denial of the will, way and Word of God? These people have an unholy boldness and are insanitary in their audacity.
The third characteristic of these people is that they are insubordinate to authority – “…and reject authority…” (8c). Doesn’t it make sense that if a person is insatiable in his ambition and insanitary in his audacity that he will be insubordinate to authority? The dissatisfied, scheming, daring, and self-willed person isn’t for a minute going to subject himself to the law of God. “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile towards God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8). Apostates recoil against the boundaries that would keep them in their God appointed place. These people don’t want to be under authority – they want to do things their way and not God’s way. When you see a person who despises and rejects authority, especially in the church, you are looking at an apostate. When someone is in a position of leadership in the church and will not be subject to God’s ordained and called leadership with his or her ministry, you can mark it down, he or she is rebellious and despises and rejects authority. If you have the attitude that I don’t need and don’t desire the oversight of the preacher and the church leaders in my ministry then you fit the portrait of “these people” who are apostates headed for destruction. Let me ask some questions: who structured the government and function of the church? Who designed the church to be led by scripturally qualified men? Who calls those men to that responsibility? The answer is the Lord! Now let me ask another question: if someone rejects and despises that leadership, who are they rejecting and despising? The answer is the Lord! These people are insubordinate to authority.
A fourth characteristic of these people is that they are insolent in their arrogance – “…and revile angelic majesties” (8d). Insolent means boldly rude or disrespectful. Again look at the logical sequence in their downhill plunge to destruction – the person who is insatiable in his ambition, insanitary in his audacity, and insubordinate to authority, will be insolent in his arrogance. Here the example of the archangel Michael disputing with the devil is given as to how those who belong to God are not insolent in arrogance (9). “But these men revile the things which they do not understand…” (10a). These men revile God’s ministers. This is what Korah and his bunch did to Moses in the book of Numbers. They rejected the authority that God gave Moses and accused him of taking that authority to himself and lording it over the people. Arrogant speech is a dangerous thing and so is despising that authority that God has established. Look out when you see someone who is arrogantly rebuking the devil or arrogantly disrespecting the authority that God has established. These people are insolent in their arrogance.
A fifth characteristic of these people is that they are instinctive in their actions – “…and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals…” (10b). These people are not motivated by the Word of God (inspiration) but by their instincts for accomplishing their agenda. These people operate by the flesh and not by faith. Their way seems right but it ends in death. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. They think that they are promoting themselves and that God is pleased with them forgetting that those who are in the flesh cannot please God. God is never pleased when people attempt to do His will their way. It is a dangerous thing to operate by instinct rather than inspiration. These people are instinctive in their actions.
A sixth and final characteristic of these people in these verses is that they are insensible to their apostasy – “…by these things they are destroyed” (10c). It should be obvious to anyone who is marked by the first five characteristics of these people that they are in grave danger and that they are apostates and children of the devil. But not these people – you can show this to them as clear as day from God’s Word and they will be insensible to their apostasy. They will not be able to feel or fear the danger that they are in. These people are insensible to their apostasy. And no wonder – look at verse four.