November 29 2021
Today, Monday November 29
Saving Others Out of the Fire
Jude 1:22-23 And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
In the two verses (vs. 22-23) we are looking at in Jude today, we learn what our attitude should be toward the young, growing Christians around us who are being influenced by the apostates. Jude instructed his readers to exercise spiritual discernment and to act on the basis of that discernment. He described three different kinds of people who need spiritual help.
The first are those who are doubting. These are the immature believers who are like little children, believing almost anything someone tells them. Our responsibility is to have mercy on them, or show compassion toward them, by seeking to lead them away from the influences of the apostates.
The second kind of people are those, who apparently have left the fellowship and protection of the church and are now a part of the apostate group. They need to be snatched out of the fire! Remember how the angels took Lot by the hand and pulled him out of Sodom (Genesis 19:16), and sometimes that must be done in order to rescue ignorant and unstable believers from the clutches of false teachers.
There is probably a reference here to Zechariah 3:2 and also Amos 4:11. In the Zechariah passage, the "brand" was the nation Israel brought back from the Babylonian Captivity and resettled in their land. God saw the people as a brand saved from the fire. In Amos 4, God was reproving the people for not heeding His warnings and judgments—poverty, poor crops, drought, pestilences, war, and even judgments like those that overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. They were as a brand plucked out of the fire, yet they did not appreciate God's mercy.
I must confess that for many years I’ve used these two verses to teach something that is not really what these verses are referring to. I mistakenly took them “out of context”, to say that to win people to Jesus and motivate them to repent of their sin, we need to appeal to some of them with the mercy, love and compassion of the Lord. Because some people respond to love. But there are others we need to reach with fear. We might need to remind them of the eternal fires of hell where they will be tormented day and night forever if they don’t repent. I know that it was fear of hell that finally got my attention and motivated me to trust Christ.
What I was teaching was true, but honestly, that is not what these verses, “in context”, are referring to! Here we are being encouraged to reach out to those who are being led astray by the false teachers in the church. We are to do it with patience and compassion and at the same time be very cautious and careful, that we don’t get so distracted with it that we lose our focus on what we should be as believers ourselves.
I trust today that the Lord will help us to be discerning spiritually to be ready to reach out both to the doubting, and even to those who already joined with the apostates.