Jude was very eager to write about the salvation he shared with other saints, but a more pressing matter deserved attention: adversaries of the truth had crept into the church and the faithful needed to be encouraged to contend for the faith (Jude 3-4). What were these ungodly men, who pretended to be Christians, teaching? Verse 4 mentions they turned God’s grace into lasciviousness, and denied the lordship of Jesus Christ.
God’s grace is not a license to sin. Grace is so wonderful and essential to our having any hope of salvation, but it teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly (Titus 2:11-12). People today are not too different from those in Jude’s day. Our sexually permissive society has promoted sensuality and lusts for years. Fornication has been glorified on television and in movies for generations. The internet abounds with sexually explicit images to which many become addicted. Instead of following God’s plan for marriage—a man and a woman joined together for life—marriage has become whatever people want to make it. If someone feels that another person will make them happy, then marriage is disposable. If two people of the same gender want to be married, the courts all across our nation will declare them to be so, against the will of God. Sexual perversions are being pushed on children at the youngest ages.
Sadly, people who claim to be Christians have twisted the Scriptures to say that none of these practices are condemned. They have rooted out any authoritative aspect of the Bible on one’s sexual practices by constructing theories never stated in the text in attempt to change the clear meaning of God’s word. When self-proclaimed experts in Christian teaching reject God’s clearly stated sexual ethic and pervert God’s word to promote their own sexual ethic formed by the popular thinking of the day, is God still Lord of their lives? No. They may have claimed Jesus is Lord, but in reality—by their constant twisting of His words to fit their agenda—they are not at all submitting to the lordship of Jesus.
Twisting God’s word to salve your own conscience does not really change His will. God will judge each man according to his works by the standard of His word (Jn. 12:48; Rev. 20:12). Jude goes on to give the example of Sodom and Gomorrah in verse 7. The inhabitants of these cities are presently undergoing the punishment of eternal fire to serve as an example to us. God destroyed these cities because their sin was very grievous to Him (Gen. 18:20). Jude 7 says Sodom and Gomorrah gave themselves over to fornication. While the men of Sodom were in Lot’s face with their sin, violent and demanding about it (Gen. 19), Jude mentions the reason for punishment was pursuing unnatural desire, (strange flesh). It was not merely the violence in their lusts that God condemned. In their fornication, they went after a different kind other than God’s natural order. The men of Sodom went after other men to fulfill their lusts.
As Jude charged the original recipients of his letter, we today must contend earnestly for the once-for-all delivered faith. We must not allow the gospel to be distorted into a license to sin. As Christians, all of us must submit to the lordship of Jesus regarding sexual ethics and marriage lest we face the judgment of God (Heb. 13:4). Be mindful: God’s warnings about judgment apply not only to the confusion and unnatural desires absorbing the interest of so many presently (Rom. 1:26-27), but also to heterosexual fornication (1 Cor. 5:1-13), and even to lust in the heart (Mt. 5:27-30). Is Jesus Lord of your life in this area? If not, repent and receive God’s grace.