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Jude Series: Jude 23-The Command to Save the Non-Christian (2)

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Jude 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (NIV)
Jude 22 and 23 form a correlative clause.
The command in Jude 22 required that the spiritually mature in the Christian community in Judaea make it their habit of exercising compassion with regards to the spiritually immature in their community who were uncertain with regards to the Christian faith and thus uncertain as to how they should respond to these Zealots.
The first command in Jude 23 required that these spiritually mature individuals in the Christian community in Judaea save those in the non-Christian community by snatching them out of the fire of eternal condemnation.
They would execute this command by communicating the gospel to the non-Christian community so that they might trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior and escape eternal condemnation in the lake of fire.
Therefore, this correlative clause in Jude 22-23 is uniting the command in Jude 22 and the two commands in Jude 23.
Thus, it is uniting the concepts of the mature believers in the Christian community in Judaea exercising compassion to those in their community who are uncertain with regards to how to deal with the Zealots infiltrating their meetings and saving those in the non-Christian community by communicating the gospel to them.
The three commands in Jude 22-23 present the result of obeying the command in Jude 21, which we noted required that the recipients of the epistle of Jude make it their top priority of keeping themselves in the state of loving God because of God’s love for them.
Therefore, a comparison of the commands in Jude 22-23 with this command in Jude 21 indicates that the recipients of the epistle of Jude keeping themselves in the state of loving God because of God’s love for them will “result” in them manifesting compassion to those in their community who are uncertain with regards to the Christian faith.
It also indicates that keeping themselves in the state of loving God because of God’s love for them will “result” in them communicating the gospel to those in the non-Christian community which will result in saving them from eternal condemnation in the lake of fire.
In other words, obedience to these three commands in Jude 22 and 23 is the direct result of obedience to the previous command in Jude 21.
Now, as we noted the first command in Jude 23 required that the spiritually mature believers in the Christian community in Judaea must continue to make it their habit of saving others by making it their habit of snatching them out from the fire.
They would save these individuals by presenting them the gospel since it is through faith in the gospel that the Father delivers them from their personal sins, enslavement to their sin nature as well as Satan and his cosmic system, condemnation from the Law, spiritual and physical death and eternal condemnation.
The Father’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ whose crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and session at the Father’s right hand delivers them from all these things.
This deliverance is appropriated by the sinner when they exercise faith in the Spirit’s testimony in the gospel that the Father loved them by sacrificing His one and only Son Jesus Christ on the cross in order to deliver them from these things.
The means by which the spiritually mature in the Christian community in Judaea were to save those members of the non-Christian community was by snatching them out from the fire, which speaks of experiencing eternal condemnation in the lake of fire.
The verb harpazō (ἁρπάζω) pertains to grasping hastily or eagerly in order to take away and pertains to grabbing someone or seizing them by force, with the purpose of removing and/or controlling.
Therefore, the idea being expressed here is that the mature members of the Christian community in Judaea snatching members of the non-Christian community in the sense of grasping them seizing them by force with the purpose of removing them from the danger of experiencing eternal condemnation.
This snatching them from the fire would take place when they respond to the gospel by trusting in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
At that moment, the Father would declare them justified as a result of these individuals receiving the righteousness of Christ the moment they exercised faith in Him.
Simultaneously, through the baptism of the Spirit, the Father would identify them with His one and only Son, Jesus Christ in His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and session at the Father’s right hand.
These events delivered them from eternal condemnation, personal sins, enslavement to sin and Satan and his cosmic system, condemnation from the Law, and spiritual and physical death.
Therefore, the non-Christian would truly be snatched from experiencing eternal condemnation in the lake of fire because their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior immediately results in them being removed from this grave danger.
This command in Jude 23 which required that the mature believers in the Christian community save the non-Christian by snatching them out from the fire of eternal condemnation by communicating the gospel to them is significant in light of these unregenerate Jewish Zealots infiltrating Christian meetings.
The contents of this epistle makes clear that these Zealots were unregenerate.
In Jude 4, they are described as “ungodly” and those who “deny” the one and only master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
They are also described in Jude 12 “twice dead” which means that they will suffer the second death in the lake of fire if they don’t repent by trusting in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Jude 13 asserts that the utter depths of eternal darkness have been reserved for these Zealots.
Lastly, Jude 20 describes them as “devoid” of the Spirit.
Thus, this command in Jude 23 is making clear that these unregenerate Jewish Zealots should be evangelized by the Christian community.
This snatching the non-Christian from experiencing eternal condemnation in the lake of fire echoes Zechariah 3:2 and Amos 4:11.
Zechariah 3:1 Next I saw Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, with Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 3:2 The Lordsaid to Satan, “May the Lordrebuke you, Satan! May the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Isn’t this man like a burning stick snatched from the fire?” 3:3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood there before the angel. 3:4 The angel spoke up to those standing all around, “Remove his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “I have freely forgiven your iniquity and will dress you in fine clothing.” 3:5 Then I spoke up, “Let a clean turban be put on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood nearby. (NET)
This passage teaches that Joshua the high priest who returned from Babylon leading the Jewish exiles was a brand plucked from the fire, which means he avoided experiencing eternal condemnation through his faith in the Lord.
Amos 4:11 “I overthrew some of you the way God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the flames. Still you did not come back to me.” The Lord is speaking! (NET)
In Amos 4:11, the burning stick snatched from the flames was the remnant of Judah which had returned from Babylon.
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