When we look around us at an unbelieving world, what is the Christian to do? Wring his hands in despair? Keep focused only on his own walk with God and ignore the world? No, we have seen in this one-chapter letter of Jude that we are to, first of all, keep ourselves strong in the faith (vv. 1-4). We must, however, be aware of attacks on the Christian faith (vv. 3-4). Third, we saw that we must be prepared to do battle for the truths of Christianity (vv. 3-4). In our last post we realized that we must acknowledge that the Lord who delivers is a God who also destroys (vv. 5-7).
Let’s look at our fifth response to an unbelieving world and it is this —
Step #5- We must Realize the Dangers of False Teaching (vv. 8-10)
8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.
False teaching is not innocent. Contradicting the truths of God’s Word must not be viewed as simply alternative viewpoints or different perspectives or another set of religious opinions. Jude tells us these false teachers, who give way too much authority to their own dreams, “pollute their own bodies” (v. 8). Self-pollution comes from false teaching. An air of unteachableness marks them, for they “reject authority,” not wanting to be corrected. They also “heap abuse on celestial beings.” I’m not sure what Jude means by this expression, but we know that we are to have a healthy respect for, but not undue attention on, the members of the angelic world God created.
To illustrate his point, Jude gives us a view into the angelic world, citing the archangel Michael as one who turned to the Lord in his dispute with the devil about the body of Moses (v. 9). Apparently Jude is alluding to the Jewish Testament of Moses (approximately the first century A.D.). His point is that Michael “knew his place” and deferred to the Lord in dealing with the devil. Jude stresses that these contemporary false teachers slander what they don’t understand — and what they do understand will destroy them. (to be continued)
“The sin both of men and of angels was rendered possible by the fact that God gave us free will.”
― C.S. Lewis
1. We often think of false teachers and their teaching as negatively impacting others. What are some effects of false teaching on the teachers themselves?
2. How do we achieve a biblical balance between not thinking too much about angels and giving them too much attention?