“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. who long ago were marked out for this condemnation,”
The Old Testament marked out apostates as a coming phenomenon. The older testament predicted that apostates would come. Jude gives Old Testament examples later in the chapter. “Condemnation” is a graphic and stark portrayal of the danger of apostasy. The Old Testament designated apostates for condemnation.
Now Jude turns to a threefold description of the apostates of his day.
First, they were “ungodly.” The word “ungodly” means irreverent (v. 15). They were irreverent towards truth and the practice of truth. While claiming to speak for God, these apostates were not like God in theology or practice.
who turn the grace of our God into lewdness
The second description of apostates of Jude’s day was that they “turn the grace of our God into lewdness.” They talked about grace but they twisted, abused, misused, and maimed it.
These ungodly men turned liberty into license. The word “turn” means transfer and carries the idea of perverting. Apostates transferred grace into something it wasn’t. They wanted to pander to their flesh and in doing so adopted the doctrine of antinomianism. Their philosophy was that, since God created the flesh, we should yield to its desires.
These apostates twisted the grace of God into lewdness. They thought grace gave them a license to sin. The word “lewdness” means indecency, absence of moral restraint. They so lost a sense of decency, they did not care who saw them. It is a form of shamelessness; they could care less about public opinion. A lewd person thinks only of satisfying lusts. There was a form of incipient Gnosticism that believed people needed to indulge their flesh because the body is inherently evil—the greater the sin, the greater the grace, as though grace can justify sin.
Apostates like to transform themselves into something they are not.
Grace is a wonderful subject of the Bible. The Bible characterizes Jesus Christ as grace personified (Ti 2:11). Salvation is by grace (Ro 3:24; Ep 2:8,9). Grace is the reason we serve God (1 Co 15:10; 2 Co 6:1). Jesus died for us by grace (He 2:9). We can fail to understand and apply the grace of God to our lives (He 12:15). The grace of God gathers up all that God does for us. It is God’s mercy towards us, His goodness to us, and His lovingkindness towards us. Despite the importance of the glorious grace of God, there are those who corrupt this wonderful doctrine by turning the grace of God into license.
Heretics like to transform themselves into light, making it appear that they teach the truth. This is Satan’s methodology.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. 2 Co 11:13-15