Jude 5

Yet another passage abused in favor of FV theology is Jude 5:

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”

Steve Wilkins (ab)uses this passage on page 15 of his exam, where he says, “Thus Jude 5 can speak of the Israelites as having been ‘saved,’ and then destroyed, because they did not persevere.”

Two points need to be addressed: the first is that this was a physical salvation from Egypt. To make an automatic parallel to our spiritual salvation from this needs to be argued, not simply asserted.

Secondly, the context indicates that Jude is talking about the false teachers, not about people in the congregation. This is clear from verse 4: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” That they “crept in” indicates that they certainly do not belong to the flock. In fact, they were predestined (“long ago were designated”) for this condemnation. They never were part of the flock. That is the point of the illustration. That this is the correct interpretation is proved decisively by the continuation in verse 8, which speaks again of those false teachers (“these people also”). He speaks of them not as members of “us,” but as “them.” Therefore, Wilkins’s interpretation does not follow from the text at all.

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25 Comments

  1. Todd said,

    January 9, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    “the first is that this was a physical salvation from Egypt. To make an automatic parallel to our spiritual salvation from this needs to be argued, not simply asserted.”

    11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

  2. greenbaggins said,

    January 9, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Yes, but the way in which Jude uses it as an example for us is to beware of the false teachers.

  3. Anne Ivy said,

    January 9, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    That’s rather ironic, Todd! You quoted a verse that is utterly at odds with FV theology, ISTM: “God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

    If He refuses to provide a believer with the grace of perseverance then He most assuredly has arranged matters so that believer will eventually “be tempted beyond [his] ability”, and with no “way of escape, that [he] may be able to endure it.”

    Since in this passage believers are being addressed, it would appear to put the kibosh on a key point of FV doctrine.

  4. Todd said,

    January 9, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    I’m a both-and guy. I love verse 13, but I want to emphasize the real warning of verse 12 as well. Anyone!

  5. Anne Ivy said,

    January 9, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Y’know, I’m thinking what it says is “Don’t take your salvation for granted and hold it cheaply”, followed by “But don’t panic…the LORD won’t let you go.”

    Plus here’s something I’ve been mulling of late, and that’s that even those who are recipients of all the salvific graces sin. And they’re not supposed to. So they’re warned against doing so. Even though we all do, without exception.

    Looking again at this:

    12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

    “Fall” is a commonly used term for sinning, isn’t it? Maybe this is a warning to believers not get all uppity and assume we’re not gonna sin, oh no…not us. We’ve got the whole “sinning” thing handled, by jingo.

    Followed with the neatly-crafted encouragement that God is there, faithful, and ready to provide the strength required to resist the temptation. Sort of “You can do it (not fall into sin) because God will help you do it.”

    Meaning there goes any excuse we might have had for falling.

    You think?

  6. greenbaggins said,

    January 9, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    You mean you’re Hegelian, Todd. Just admit it. :-) On verse 12, have you ever noticed the clear demarcation between “them” and “you?” The false teachers are no part of the people of God. “They feast with you.” Verse 11 is them, them, and them. The warning is to beware of these false teachers and heed not what they say.

  7. greenbaggins said,

    January 9, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    I go with that, Anne. It’s a good summary of what the passage teaches.

  8. Todd said,

    January 9, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    Lane, I was talking about verse 12 of 1 Corinthians 10, not of Jude.

  9. pduggie said,

    January 9, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Are the reprobate tempted beyond their ability, with no way of escape?

    Was God pushing the israelites beyond what they could bear in the wilderness? Or were they not faithless grumblers.

  10. Stewart said,

    January 9, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    “Two points need to be addressed: the first is that this was a physical salvation from Egypt. To make an automatic parallel to our spiritual salvation from this needs to be argued, not simply asserted.”

    Firstly, our salvation will also be physical, to deny this is to accept a form of dualism. Secondly, these sorts of parallels do hold. They are used throughout the NT. Israel’s physical passage through the Red Sea figures our “spiritual” salvation through water Baptism.

  11. Anne Ivy said,

    January 9, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    This has really given me, like Christie’s Hercule Poirot, “furiously to think.”

    ISTM a problem with the FV is how one never gets any farther, seeing as how one presumably must be constantly concerned about losing one’s ultimate salvation. If this passage, for instance, doesn’t simply address believers about being on their guard against falling into sin, but instead is warning them not to fall away entirely, it’s as if justification was pretty much the only thing the writers of the epistles ever talked about.

    I don’t know how you pastors here address your congregations, but at my church, while the gospel is always presented, the preaching and teaching assumes the congregation is saved, and now needs spiritual meat.

    If one is always in danger of falling off a slippery platform, having to work hard to keep one’s balance, it’s virtually impossible to move to a more stable foundation. In fact, Christ warned against building one’s house on sand, lest it fall:

    “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matt. 7:25-26)

    It’s awfully easy to lose one’s balance while walking on sand, heaven knows.

    Yet Christ likens faith in Him to a rock foundation, which is repeated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3. Rock foundations are remarkably sturdy and stable.

    How are we to be expected to walk boldly forward in Christ, growing more like Him as we should, if we simultaneously have to fear falling off our sure foundation, as if it is, instead, unstable sand?

    The FV comes across as fixated upon justification to the exclusion of all else, to be frank, which is reasonable if one’s justification has a big question mark stamped on it. They’ve got sanctification as being primarily the means by which one retains one’s justification, which tacitly has all our efforts geared toward simply trying to stand in one place, as opposed to “Okay, now I’m justified I’ll move on to the next level, i.e. growing in Christlikeness.”

    It’s really a bit dispiriting, to think that one’s entire spiritual life after our present justification consists of trying to hang onto it. The way the NT is interpreted by the FV, however, has that being the case.

    What a pessimistic way of reading it.

  12. Todd said,

    January 9, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Anne, the answer is simply (!) to hold 1 Corinthains 10:12 and 13 together, without giving into the temptation (!) to pcik a favorite. Both are true, since God has said both. Preachers and pastors have to say both. The rest of us need to believe both. Man lives by *every* word that proceeds from the mouth of God, not just the ones that seem optimistic to us.

    The kind of “falling” spoken of in verse 12 needs to be analogous to the falling in the rest of the section. So, not just a falling into sin, but a falling into judgment of some kind.

    10:1 For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

    6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

    I believe we must beware of choosing what to believe based on whether it sounds optimistic or pessimistic to us. Instead, let God be true…

    Anne, do you go to Christ Chapel?

  13. matt said,

    January 9, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Spiritual vs. Physical= Gnostic

  14. Anne Ivy said,

    January 9, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    I’m all with you, AAMOF, about our feelings about what Scripture says not being a basis for interpretation. Absolutely! You’ve got that right.

    However, that post was a new reflection of mine, in fact. IOW, my disagreement with many key FV distinctives preceded it. ;^)

    And how the de’il did you know that I go to Christ Chapel? There’s more than one Bible church around here, forcryingoutloud.

    That’s spookified. =8^o

  15. Stewart said,

    January 9, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    Matt,

    Sometimes people slip up and reveal how they *really* see Christianity. I also think this explains why Lane has such problems with the FV.

  16. Todd said,

    January 9, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Christ Chapel? Reformed-leaning but not Presbyterian in Fort Worth. Just a guess, but based on close friendships with several there.

  17. Anne Ivy said,

    January 9, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    I regret to say it’s not nearly as “Reformed-leaning” as it once was. :^(

    [glumly] It went Purpose Driven a few years ago, to my horror and chagrin. It’s got Saddleback’s S.H.A.P.E. program. It’s got Saddleback’s Celebrate Recovery program. There is even….prepare yourself…a seminar being given for which they’ve brought in someone from Willowcreek.

    I could just cry.

  18. Todd said,

    January 9, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Right. When I said Reformed-leaning, I was describing you instead of the church I had guessed you attended.

  19. Todd said,

    January 9, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    But Paul Tripp this weekend, right?

  20. Anne Ivy said,

    January 9, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Oh! Duh. About you describing me, that is. Thing is, that was once an accurate description of Christ Chapel; in fact, it’s there I was introduced to the lamentable, appalling doctrine of predestination. ;^)

    Came home determined to refute it and instead found it was true.

    Used to be the doctrines of sovereign grace were preached regularly, barring limited atonement. CCBC’s never held to that. During sermons is where I’d first learned of Spurgeon and Kuyper and I don’t recall who all. Used to email the pastor to ask for the full name so I could read the referenced book.

    Sigh. Those were the glory days.

    And if Paul Tripp’s the teenage-seminar, yes, that’s this weekend. Maybe I’m just being a jerk (there’s an uncomfortable amount of precedent) but I’m giving it a miss.

    Which church do you attend, if I may be so bold? I’ve a friend who attends the PCA church in Arlington.

  21. Todd said,

    January 9, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Colleyville PCA.

  22. greenbaggins said,

    January 9, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    That’s too bad, Anne. Paul Tripp is a master counselor with an incredibly helpful approach to counseling (all about the heart). Too bad you can’t see him. I had him for an entire class as WTS. Just for the interesting tidbit, I grew up in Todd’s current church (until I was about 13).

    Stewart, to go from what I said to saying that I am denying physical salvation is quite an unwarranted leap. Our salvation now is spiritual, and will be physical in the future. I am no Gnostic. Anyone who says I am is an absolute bonehead. But what I am saying is that applying Israel’s physical salvation from Egypt to our spiritual salvation now needs to be argued, not merely asserted. Notice that I didn’t necessarily say I disagree with that connection. Wilkins makes many statements and assertions that simply do not make the argument, but assume many, many steps along the way.

  23. Anne Ivy said,

    January 9, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Goodness, Lane, you had him as a teacher? And, presumably, liked him?

    I’m afraid what with the Willowcreek guy coming later on, I assumed Paul Tripp wouldn’t be much better. If you and Todd are familiar with him and think he’s reliable, I might try to get myself geared up to go (it’s an all day thing on Saturday). One can just show up and pay a little more at the door.

    BTW, that’s a heck of a coincidence, that you attended Todd’s church as a child.

    Oh, great. Now I’ve got “It’s a Small World After All” running through my head.

  24. greenbaggins said,

    January 9, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    Paul Tripp has absolutely nothing to do with all the nonsense you’re thinking about. Paul Tripp is completely Reformed, and you’ll love him. Don’t waste this opportunity.

  25. March 30, 2007 at 10:19 am

    [...] Jude 5 [...]


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