“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.”
and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are three descriptions of apostates in this verse. Today we come to the third.
2. Turning the grace of God into lewdness
3. Deny the Lord Jesus Christ
The third description is denial of the deity of Christ. Some manuscripts omit “God,” making the translation “deny our only Master our Lord Jesus Christ.” Master and Lord refer to the same person. Apostates deny the Lordship or deity of Jesus Christ. They reduce Him to an Allah, Buddha, or Confucius. Yet Jesus is alive through the resurrection, setting Him apart from all of them. He is absolutely unique, the Great Unlike.
The word “deny” carries the ideas of repudiate, reject. This was denial of Christ’s deity both in doctrine and conduct. There is a correlation between distortion of the grace principle and denying the deity of Christ. They were willing to accept the idea that Jesus Christ was a good man and even a great man, but they rejected the idea that He was the Lord of the universe. Note the word “only.” There is no other Master than the Lord Jesus Christ, from God’s viewpoint.
The first “Lord” conveys the idea of master. The second word for “Lord” carries the broader idea of sovereign. “Lord” is a prominent title for Jesus Christ in the New Testament. A master is someone who owns household slaves. Christ owns Christians so Christians should submit to His rule. Our Master tolerates no rival. He alone is God.
Not all change is good.
It is amazing how apostates can walk into church and the church accepts them as valid. This is happening today in evangelical churches. The pastor/soldier standing watch has dozed off while the enemy has come into the congregation/camp. When church leadership becomes careless about doctrine, the enemy can make great advances. This is why church leaders are to “earnestly contend for the faith.” It is not possible to contend for the faith and not be contentious.
The church is a generation or two away from extinction. Without the determination to guard truth, the church will diminish into something far less than it could be. It takes contention to maintain the truth. It is vital to be contentious to do this. Leaders throughout church history have paid a great price for this. Some gave their lives for it. It is possible to be quarrelsome about insignificant doctrinal issues. That is not the point. Some divisions in churches are unnecessary. It is not good to be contentious for the sake of contention. Some people fight over any and everything. Yet there are some things worthy of being contentious about.
However, when essentials of evangelicalism are at stake, it is no time to wear kid gloves! We cannot bear false doctrine no matter how tasty it may be to our palate. We would not eat a meal if we knew it was laced with poison. We must speak the truth in love, but people have carried that to mean that we must never challenge false doctrine. That thinking is the opposite of most of the Old and New Testaments. Every second book in the New Testament, such as 2nd Thessalonians, 2nd Timothy, and 2nd Peter (not counting such books as Jude itself), deals with false doctrine.