“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.”
Now Jude gives the reason why it is necessary to contend for the faith (v.3). This is the occasion for the letter of Jude.
For certain men have crept in unnoticed,
Libertines intruded into the church. The words “certain men” implies Jude disparaged these people because they came into the church stealthily. Apostates were deceitful in their approach. The Greek word for “have crept in” carries the idea of slipping in secretly, sneaking in. The verb means to get in by the side. This word always indicates stealthy insinuation of something into a situation. Apostates slipped in by the side door rather than coming in through the front door. They looked like the real thing, but they were counterfeits.
Jude’s church was invaded by subversive elements who wormed their way in, in a way that no one noticed. It does not say “they will creep in,” but “they have crept in.” They were already in the church in Jude’s day. These men surreptitiously brought in false doctrine under the guise of religion. They did not announce that they were bringing in a different gospel—a religious gospel. People are always suckers for religion, thinking that if something sounds religious, it must be true. Often those who are religious are very pleasant, personable people.
And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage)… Ga 2:4
All heretics are creeps.
All heretics are creeps. They are not upfront with what they believe because they think their teaching cannot sustain a challenge. That is why they slip in the side door of the church. They slyly slither in like spiritual snakes.
This is how apostasy works. This is how apostasy conquered major denominations in the 20th century in Europe and North America—denominations that started orthodoxly but ended in theological tragedy. These apostates make it clear that they no longer believe the Bible, the deity of Christ, and miracles. Once they get into leadership, there is no way to save the organization. They are good at church politics; church politics can be as dirty as political politics. Heretics come as wolves in sheep’s clothing:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. Mt 7:15
Having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts. 2 Ti 3:5-6
The apostle Paul was under no illusion; he knew that apostates would come after him to destroy what he taught doctrinally.
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. Ac 20:29-31