Note: This is a series of occasional verse by verse expositions of Jude. An archive of this and past commentaries may be found under the Jude Exposition label below.
Jude 1:19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
This is the final description that Jude offers of the false teachers he has been combating throughout this little epistle. The word order in the original Greek is reflected better in the Authorized Version: “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Jude offers three descriptions:
First, these men separated themselves from others. They caused divisions. They created cliques. Such men organize whisper campaigns. They sow discord in the body. They undermine the peace and tranquility of the family. They are schismatics who rend the robe of the church. They follow in the tradition of Korah, who led an uprising against Moses and Aaron in Numbers 15.
Second, they are “sensual.” The word in Greek is psychikoi. A literal translation might be “soulish,” but in fact the word means “unspiritual,” “physical,” or “material.” Some, therefore, would render the word as “worldly.” Such men use worldly thinking and worldly tactics rather than godly thinking and godly actions. They want to run the church the way one might run a business or a secular social organization.
Third, they do not have the Spirit. This means, of course, the Holy Spirit of God. Here we see the doctrine of the trinity in Jude. These men were unconverted. The Spirit which blows where it will had not blown down upon them. They were not born from above. Such men cannot authentically profess that Jesus is Lord (cf. 1 Cor 12:3). They are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He is not their teacher, comforter, counselor, advocate, and encourager. They are natural men, and “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
The unspoken warning to believers is that we are to be the opposite of these men in our character, word, and deeds. First, we are not to cause unnecessary divisions in the body of Christ. We are to seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11; Psalm 34:14). As much as depends on us, we are to “live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). Second, we are to be “other-worldly.” We are not to act like secular men or attempt to solve problems according to worldly solutions. Third, we are to be Spirit-filled men. If not already converted, we must pray for God to reveal himself to us. We must listen to the preaching of the gospel, and if the Spirit should wipe the scales from our eyes, unclog our ears, and clear the haze from our minds, then we must repent and believe in the one who is “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).
• Have you been prone to cause divisions within the body of Christ? Have you suffered others to sow discord?
• Why is the church not to be run like a worldly business?
• What does the Holy Spirit provide the believer? How do we know that we have the Spirit?
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