Jude 1:4


The principal reason is the presence of antinomian errorists in the Church.

I. THE ENTRANCE OF WICKED ERRORISTS INTO THE CHURCH. "For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old set forth unto this condemnation."

1. These men are not named, either because Jude did not care to give them the celebrity their vanity might have desired, or because their names were already known to the saints.

2. It is not possible for man to guard the Church against the entrance of such men. Even apostles themselves could not keep the Church pure.

3. The entrance of errorists is usually effected by hypocritical arts. They are "false apostles," "deceitful workers," "deceiving the hearts of the simple," "drawing many disciples after them," "false teachers privily bringing in damnable hercules." They usually conceal their real opinions; they mix wholesome truth with destructive errors; and they preach doctrines palatable to the corrupt nature of man. They usually effect an air of novelty or originality in their teaching. The best Christians may therefore be sometimes mistaken in such seducers.

4. The presence of such men in the Church does not destroy the being of the Church.

5. Their destructive influence and the retribution that awaits them were predicted beforehand. For "they were of old set forth unto this condemnation." Not in the prophecies by Peter and Paul, but in the Old Testament; for the phrase, "of old," refers to something in history. The condemnation is that illustrated by the examples recorded in the following verses.

6. It is needful that Christians should be on the watch against the entrance and the influence of wicked errorists.

II. THE CHARACTER OF THESE MEN. "Ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ."

1. They were godless men.

(1) They denied to God the honour due to him. They lived without relation to God. They were practically "without God in the world." "In their works they denied him." "They called not upon the Lord."

(2) They gave to the world, to sin, to folly, the allegiance that was due to God. They "served the creature more than the Creator."

(3) They sought to honour God in a wrong manner. They worshipped not according to his Word; and their service was selfish, or partial, or inconstant, or profane.

(4) Ungodliness leads to all wicked practices.

2. They perverted the doctrines of grace. "Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness;" arguing, as Trapp says, from mercy to liberty, which is the devil's logic.

(1) The true design of the grace of God. It is that "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we may live soberly, righteously, godly, in this world," As the free gift of God, our election and our calling being both of grace, we are bound to see that we receive it not in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1).

(2) The perversion of this grace is effected

(a) by men "using their liberty for a cloak of maliciousness" (1 Peter 2:16), "for an occasion to the flesh" (Galatians 5:13), by "continuing in sin that grace may abound" (Romans 6:1);

(b) by rejecting the Law as a rule of life;

(c) by abusing their liberty to the offence of weak consciences.

(3) The heinousness of, such conduct.

(a) It implies the sin of hypocrisy.

(b) It is a profound dishonour to God and his doctrine.

(c) It argues a boundless ingratitude.

(d) It is almost the most hopeless of all sins against God.

3. They denied Jesus Christ. Wearing the livery of Christ, they were all the while vassals of the devil.

(1) Christ is the only Lord and Master of believers. This Lordship is based upon the idea of property. We are the Lord's, whether living or dead (Romans 14:9).

(a) He gives laws to his servants.

(b) He binds them lovingly to obedience.

(c) He rewards them according to their service.

(d) He has power both to give and to take away.

(e) There is no escape for his enemies.

We may, therefore, infer:

(a) How serious an error it is to deny Christ's Deity!

(b) How foolish to trust in any other Saviour!

(1) How blessed are believers in possessing such a Lord!

(2) These errorists denied this Lord.

(a) Doctrinally; - perhaps, like the Gnostics, they denied his true Deity and his true humanity.

(b) Practically,

(α) by opposing his gospel;

(β) by apostasy from his truth;

(c) by a wicked and lewd life. These men, by rejecting Christ's authority as well as his salvation, "forsook their own mercy." - T.C.









For there are certain men crept in unawares.
1. The apostle saith there are certain men crept in, which some think to note the uncertainty of their persons, as who should say there are certain wicked and ungodly persons in the Church, but who they be we cannot tell very well. And surely the uncertainty of their persons, which are wicked, will stir up those which are wise, and have care of their salvation to greater diligence, and more circumspectly to observe and mark all men, lest at any time or by any means they be deceived. But howbeit the number be indefinite in that they are certain, yet it may seem that he giveth us to understand that the enemies of the Church were divers, and therefore the saints have greater cause to contend against them.

2. As they are certain, so are they within the bosom of the Church already, therefore both the danger is the greater and the contention must be the sharper. The enemies of the Church are not without the walls, where the better they might be dealt withal, but entered in already, and walk in the midst thereof, the greater peril is like to follow, and the greater courage must be showed in this contending.

3. And as they are already within, so are they crept in craftily, and therein their subtle dealing is noted, whereby the danger is also increased. There is no greater danger than that intended by a subtle enemy, whose person as it is most hardly discerned, so the danger by him is least perceived and rarely avoided, but that peril is the lesser when the enemy is known and the matter suspected. Wherefore the cunning of the wicked must sharpen and whet our care to contend against them.

(R. Turnbull.)

I. NAMELESS MEN. He may have been induced to advert to them merely as "certain men."

1. With the view of avoiding those irritating personalities by which religious controversies are so apt to be characterised.

2. With the view of marking the holy disdain with which he regarded them, as if he considered them unworthy of being more particularly mentioned.

3. For the purpose of not adding to the notoriety which they very probably courted.

II. DECEIVERS. "They crept in unawares." This may mean either that the parties in question assumed the office of spiritual teachers without the knowledge or consent of the brethren, or that they contrived by false professions to induce the rulers of the Church to admit them to that office. The latter is probably the real meaning of the words (2 Peter 2:1).

III. REPROBATES. "Of old ordained to this condemnation."

(W.McGilvray, D. D.)

The adversaries impugn the faith, therefore the saints must stand for it. The Church hath many adversaries, like motes in the sun. As there is a contrary in all, day and night, cold and heat, sickness and health, life and death, so in religion. The godly, the faithful are as lambs amongst wolves, as lilies amongst thorns, as doves amongst ravens. Many oppugn the faith, therefore we must be ready to defend it, yea, strive for it unto death; as Joab fought for God, so let us speak for God and write for God. But to come to the description of these adversaries, they are here described two ways.

1. They are described by their life, and they are said first to creep into the Church. They have butter in their mouths, but swords in their hearts. A dog that barketh may be prevented before he bite, and the serpent that hisseth before he sting, and the fire that smoketh before it burn; so may a known enemy, but a secret enemy, a creeper, is hard to prevent.

2. They are here described by their impiety. He saith that they were ἄθεοι, without God, without faith, without religion; they deny God the only Lord and our Lord Jesus Christ, so Paul said (Ephesians 2:12; Philippians 3:17, 18). The world is full of such atheists, they swarm like bees, they abound like lice in Egypt.

3. The wicked are here described by their carnality and liberty; they turn grace into wantonness, for ungodliness hath two branches, iniquity in life and manners and impurity in religion. Of the first he saith, They turn grace into wantonness; of the second it is said that they denied God and Christ Jesus. They are like Aesop's snake, that lay still in the frost, but stung him that warmed her in his bosom; so long as God keepeth us sick and lame and poor we are in some order, our ears are full of sermons, our lips full of prayers, our hands full of alms, our hearts full of holy meditations; but if we come to health and wealth and strength we rage like giants, we are like bad ground, which the more sweet dews it receiveth the more weeds it bringeth out.

(S. Otes.)

I. THE INSIDIOUSNESS WITH WHICH FALSE TEACHERS EFFECT AN ENTRANCE INTO THE CHURCH. They "creep in unawares." Now craft, you will observe, is the assumed Scriptural characteristic of all heresy (Matthew 7:15; Ephesians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 11:13). The word which the apostle uses to describe this method of entrance is one which supposes that they had recourse to certain surreptitious and fraudulent means. It literally means the getting into a house under ground, or by means of some clandestine and unsuspected entrance. Let us note some of the byways by which false teachers get an entrance for their erroneous teaching.

1. One way is they keep back the full scope and tendency of their doctrines. Things that are to be really believed are only partially discovered, the rest being wrapped up in skilful ambiguities, only to be elicited when some superior disputant will press their doctrines to their legitimate consequences.

2. Another of the byways by which false teaching creeps into a Church is by a skilful mixing up with it a good deal of sound and wholesome doctrine, which is always paraded with a great show of orthodoxy. The apostle therefore in the text exhorts us to see that we look to a man's teaching as a whole. He may teach truth in regard, of all the attributes of the Divine nature, and yet if he obscure or distort or keep back other truths, if he tamper with the great doctrine of our justification by faith in the atonement, we are to denounce him as a deceiver and an antichrist.

II. THE REASON WHY THESE FALSE TEACHERS ARE PERMITTED TO HAVE A CERTAIN MEASURE OF SUCCESS. They have "crept in," being "before of old ordained to this condemnation."

1. First, you will observe, the apostle meets the supposed objections advanced on the general score of the Divine predestination — on that fixed immutability of purpose which, however contrary things may appear to us, will cause that God shall "work all things according to the counsel of His own will." There can be no counsel against the Lord; there can be no unforeseen obstacle to the spread of His gospel. He ordains the chosen vessel to preach, and He ordains the means by which this preaching may for a time be thwarted.

2. "To this condemnation." What does the apostle mean by this word? Does he mean that they are ordained to the irrevocable judgments of an angered God? to the future penalties denounced against the disobedient? I think not. A deluded teacher may bring in false doctrine, may even for a time draw after him many unstable souls, and yet he may, through the enlightening and recovering grace of the Spirit, be brought to see the error of his ways, and afterwards become valiant for the truth of God. It is said with regard to these false teachers, that the longer they continue to deal out poisoned food to their people, the more likely it is that they should be given over to a judicial blindness, which must, unless the grace of God should take it away, issue in the final perdition of their souls.

III. THE GREAT DOCTRINES which it is the aim of these false teachers to subvert. Men "turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."

1. And first, as to the expression, "the grace of God." In its primary import the word means favour, goodness, benefit, something whereby one is spontaneously moved to do an act of kindness for another. Hence the word is used as a comprehensive designation for all the blessings of the gospel. These doctrines of grace these false teachers were seeking to abuse, to turn to the hateful account of their own licentiousness and sin.

2. "Turning the grace of God into lasciviousness"; that is, not necessarily into any particular form of deadly sin, but that they turned "the grace of God," the free mercy of God vouchsafed to us in Jesus Christ, into a pretext for any and all forms of self-indulgence and self-pleasing which might minister to the gratification of the carnal mind. Examine any system of error, and you will find that more or less it resolves itself into some form of experiment on the Divine mercy, a calculation upon God's willingness to do that which He has said He never will do — a presumptuous expectation that we may make as wide as we will that gate which God has declared to be narrow — a belief that without a changed heart, without anything that could come up to the Scriptural notion of holiness, it would be possible for a man to see the Lord. And thus it is well said by the apostle afterwards, that this turning the mercy of our God to their own worldly and selfish and unrighteous purposes practically amounted to a denial of "the only Lord God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

(D. Moore,M. A.)

Nocturnal birds of prey fly without making the least noise. They can, therefore, pounce unawares on their victims, seizing them before they have any idea of necessity for escape.

There are two things that most men desire, and they are, power and liberty; and when they have attained them I may say they are unto men as they describe waters. They are easily apt to run over in what vessels soever you put them in. The grand exhortation in this Epistle is set down ver. 3, "Contend earnestly for the faith once given unto the saints." It is not enough to strive once, and to assert the truths, but ye must do it again and again, after one another, as often as the truth of God is opposed. And he gives the reason of this exhortation. First, because it is a depositum that the Lord hath in mercy delivered unto the saints, which the Lord requires them to keep: you are but stewards of it; it is committed unto you that you should transmit it unto posterity. Secondly, it was but "once given," and therefore you cannot expect that if you part with it the Lord will again bestow it unto you. It is like the fire upon the altar that was at first kindled from heaven, and was there, by the industry of the priests, to be kept alive, and was never to go out. Thirdly, he doth press this from the danger of it, in regard that the enemies lie in wait, there are certain men crept in unawares, etc. First, false teachers: they do not rush in, for then they would be observed, but they creep in secretly. Secondly, the things that they trade in are the truths of God and the souls of men. Therefore contend earnestly for the faith, for when false teachers come it is the faith that they do mainly aim at. And the apostle comes also to a description of the persons with whom your contention was to be. First, they are described by the act of God upon them, what they are in God's predetermination. Secondly, by the act of sin within them, and what they are by their own corruptions. All ungodly men, pretend what they will, they have no fear of God in them, nor any respect unto God. They are men that are strangers unto God, and live without Him in the world — that is their general description. They are ungodly men that have no fear of God in their hearts, and that do whatsoever they do without any respect unto God, though they are many times great pretenders. Secondly, they are more particularly described. First, by their desperate opinions — "they turn the grace of God into wantonness." Secondly, by their devilish conversations — "they deny the Lord God, and the Lord Jesus Christ." It is spoken in respect of their lives and ways (2 Timothy 1:16). First, what is meant by the grace of God? As given unto us grace is taken two ways in Scripture, either for the gospel, the Word of His grace, as it is called (Acts 20:32), and so it is taken (2 Corinthians 6:1). Secondly, it is put for the impress of this Word upon the heart, for it is the Word writ in the heart. They are the habits of grace in us; it is into this mould we are cast (Romans 6:17). It must here be meant of the Word of His grace, the doctrine of the gospel. Secondly, what is meant by wantonness? The word signifies a wanton, vain, licentious, and unruly disposition of heart. Thirdly, what is it to turn the grace of God into wantonness? The word signifies to transpose a thing, and put it out of its place; to turn away a thing or a person and put it out of its former condition. And when men make use of the doctrines of the gospel to serve their own lust, and do grow more loose under them, this is to pervert the gospel of grace unto an end for which it was never appointed.

I. THERE IS A WANTONNESS IN CORRUPT TEACHERS; there are both wicked doctrines and wicked practices, for they both go together in the same men. First, this will appear by the descriptions everywhere given of them in the Scripture; they are described and placed in the highest rank of wicked men. Secondly, it must needs be so if we consider from whence doth heresy come. We have the rise of it (Revelation 9:1, 2). Thirdly, they are in Scripture resembled unto the wickedest men that ever were (2 Peter 2:15). Fourthly, no men are so industriously wicked as they are, and they will compass sea and land to make a proselyte, and make him tenfold the child of hell when they have done more than he was before (Revelation 9:10, 18, 19). Fifthly, the people of God have abhorred them as the wickedest men that ever were in the world, and therefore there is no sort of sinners that the Spirit of God hath so set Himself and the Spirit of His saints so much against as these (Titus 3:10). Sixthly, they are such sort of sinners as are most immediately acted by the devil of any men in the world; they have the most immediate influences from hell, and therefore (Revelation 16:13, 14).

II. MEN TAKE SPECIAL CARE THAT THE WORD OF GOD SHOULD BE BROUGHT IN TO PATRONISE THEIR LUSTS. They will be wanton, but they would also wrest the Word of God and have that countenance it. First, carnal reason is lust's counsellor, and the strongholds of sin lie therein. It is a great pleader for sin. Men sought out inventions (Ecclesiastes 7:29; 2 Corinthians 10:5). There is a great contribution that corrupt reason gives to lust. Secondly, but never so much as when it is from the Word of God, that being the rule of a man's actions. Let lust have something from it to satisfy it and then the man sins securely. Thirdly, the bitterest enemies that ever the Church of God had, have been those that have owned the same Scriptures with themselves, as the Samaritans and the Jews and the Papists unto us, for hereby wickedness comes under the title of a duty (John 16:2). Consider but these four things. First, is this the return you make for all the goodness of God towards you? Consider the evil of it. First, hereby you do dishonour God in that which is highest to Him, and which He has most exalted next to His Son (Psalm 138:2). Secondly, hereby you do gratify the devil, for that hath been his great design. Thirdly, no men bring on themselves greater destruction than these men do, who turn the grace of God into wantonness by bringing into the Church damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:3). Fourthly, this is a dangerous forerunner of destruction to any nation or Church.

(W. Strong.)

I. A GREAT CRIME. Why should men want to change the truth of the living God? Look into the text and you have the answer.(1) Because the fear of God is not in their soul — "ungodly men." When the helm is broken the vessel will drift in every direction. Reverence for God is the first essential of faith in revelation.(2) Because to human appearance sin appears less hideous when committed in the name of religion — "turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness."(3) Because the authority of "our only Master and Lord" is against the license they would afford the flesh. Take Christ out of the gospel and any use might be made of it; but give Him His place in the sphere of Divine truth, and the force against sin is irresistible.

II. AN AWFUL DOOM.(1) It is a defiance of Divine authority: God is contradicted. When this is done moral government is at stake.(2) It is the greatest wrong that can be done to others. If you do not know the way, say so, but to know the way, and direct the man to go in the contrary direction, is to cause him harm.(3) It is an offence against the love of God, who sent His only Son to make us good, and lead us to virtue.

(T. Davies, D. D.)

Before of
Having described the wicked which were before of old ordained to condemnation by their life, he cometh now to describe them by their end. Here they fare well; but they walk upon ice, in the end they fall. Wheat and chaff go together till they come to the flail; gold and dross go together till they come to the furnace, but then the gold is the purer and the dross is molten. God's glory is above the heavens; we may bark at it, as dogs do against the moon, but we cannot pull it down. To speak more fully — God's will is a reason of all reasons; it is the rule of all equity. The judgments of God are oftentimes secret, hid, but never unjust. God ordains no man to be evil, though He hath ordained the evil unto punishment, for should God ordain men unto sin then should God be the author of sin. He ordains indeed the incitements and occasions of sin to try men withal; He also orders sins committed, and does limit them; and in these regards is said as before to work in them and to will them; in which regards also they are in Scripture attributed unto Him sometimes (2 Samuel 12:11, 12; 2 Samuel 15:16). A. man rideth upon a lame horse, and stirs him; the rider is the cause of the motion, but the horse himself of the halting motion. So God is the author of every action, but not of the evil of the action. The like is in the striking of a jarring and untuned harp — the fingering is thine, the jarring or discord is in the harp or instrument. The earth giveth fatness and juice to all kind of plants; some of these plant, yield pestilent and noisome fruits. Where is the fault, in the nourishment of the ground or in the nature of the herb, which by the native corruption decocteth the goodness of the ground into venom and poison? The goodness and moisture is from the earth, the venom from the herb; the sounding from the hand, the jarring from the instrument. So the action is from God, the evil in the action from the impure fountain of thy own heart.

(S. Otes.)

1. The object of the Divine decrees are not only men's ways, but men's persons. He doth not only say that their condemnation was preordained, but they also were ordained of old to this condemnation.

2. God hath His books and registers, wherein the persons, behaviours, and eternal estates of all men are recorded (Revelation 20:12).

3. In all those things which appertain to the judgment of sinners God doth nothing rashly, but proceedeth by foresight and preordination.

4. No man ever perverted the truths of God but to his own loss. We play with opinions, but do not consider that damnation is the end of them; the way of truth is the way of life, but error tendeth to death.

5. Heresies and errors do not fall out by chance, but according to the certain preordination and foreknowledge of God. There are two reasons for it: — Nothing can come to pass without His will, and nothing can come to pass against His will. Briefly, the concurrence of God in and about the errors of men may be conceived in these things: —(1) He denieth grace and light which might direct and sanctify.(2) He leaveth difficulty enough in the Word, that men who will not be satisfied may be hardened (Mark 4:11, 12).(3) God leaveth them to follow the course of their own hearts; He doth not incline and compel their wills, or infuse evil to them (Hosea 4:17; 1 Kings 22:22; Psalm 81:12); He hindereth not their wickedness — yea, permitteth it, that so His wise counsels may take place.(4) God ordereth it for good, thereby bringing great advantage to His own name (Exodus 9:16).(5) Once more, God's permission of error conduceth to the just ruin of His enemies (Matthew 18:6, 7; 1 Samuel 2:25).The point may be applied many ways.(1) Here is comfort to those that regard the affairs of Sion; all the confusion and troubles that are in the Church are ordered by a wise God; He will bring some good issue out of them.(2) It checketh fear; it is all in the hands of a good God; as God trieth you to see what you will do, so you must wait upon God to see what He will do: He will bring forth His work in due time.(3) It showeth their wickedness that take occasion to turn atheists from the multitude of errors.(4) It is a ground of prayer in times of delusion: Lord, this was ordained by Thee in wisdom, let us discern Thy glory in it and by it more and more.(5) It informeth us what a foolish madness it is to think that God seeth not the sin which we secretly commit: surely He seeth it, for He foresaw it before it was committed; yea, from all eternity.

(T. Manton.)

Turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness
I. THE GOSPEL AND GRACE OF GOD IN ITSELF IS NOT PLIABLE TO CARNAL PURPOSES, yieldeth no carnal conclusions. They turn it, saith the apostle; there is no such thing gotten out of the gospel till the art of a deceiver hath passed upon it.

1. It yieldeth no leave to sin, but liberty to serve God; this is the great design of it. Freedom from wrath and hell is a privilege, but freedom from duty and obedience is no privilege. In the gospel there is pardon for failings, but not to encourage us in our failings, but our duties. We were never so much obliged to duty as since the gospel, because now we have more help and more advantages, stronger motives and greater encouragements.

2. There are frequent and constant dissuasives from this perverting our liberty in Christ to the service of any fleshly design (Romans 6:1; Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:6).

3. Because in the gospel itself there are quite contrary inferences from those which flesh and blood would draw from the gospel. The gospel hath been abused to three ends — to looseness, laziness, licentiousness. Now, you shall see the Word carrieth things in a quite contrary way to what carnal men do. To looseness: men have been the more careless, because grace hath abounded in the discoveries of the gospel; but the apostle disdaineth it, as a most abhorrent conclusion from gospel principles (Romans 6:1). The gospel teacheth quite contrary (Titus 2:11, 12); not wantonness, but weanedness, "to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts" (Romans 6:16; 2 Corinthians 7:1). A bee gathereth honey thence from whence a spider sucketh poison. Again, to laziness: men are apt to lie down upon the bed of ease, and say Christ must do all, and so exclude all use of means and the endeavour of the creature. This is a foul abuse; for the Scripture inferreth thence the care and work of the creature, because God doth all (Philippians 2:12, 13). Use

1. It serveth to inform us, in the first place, that carnal men are ill-skilled in consequences; from the very gospel would they draw a liberty to sin, than which from such premises no conclusion can be more strange. Use

2. Again, it serveth for caution; when you meet with such base inferences from evangelical principles, do not blame the gospel or the ministry.(1) Not the gospel, as if it were not clear enough, or faithful enough, or wary enough. They that have a mind to fall shall not want a stone of stumbling; they that will only be feasted with comforts, no wonder if they contract a spiritual sickness, and undo their souls by a misunderstood and misapplied gospel.(2) Do not blame the ministry and dispensation of the gospel, because some abuse free grace, others cannot endure to hear it preached; but children must not be kept from their bread because dogs catch at it.

II. THOUGH GRACE ITSELF BE NOT PLIABLE TO SUCH CONCLUSIONS, YET WICKED MEN ARE VERY APT TO ABUSE IT TO THE COUNTENANCING OF THEIR SINS AND LUSTS.

1. Because carnal hearts do assimilate all that they meet with, and turn it into the nourishment of their carnal lusts: as the salt sea turneth the fresh rivers and the sweet showers of heaven into salt waters, so do carnal men pervert the holy principles of the gospel; or as sweet liquors are soon soured in an unclean vessel, so do truths lose their use and efficacy when laid up in a carnal heart, and are quite turned to another purpose.

2. Because they would fain sin securely, with a free dispensation from God, and therefore seek by all means to entitle God to the sin, and the sin to God. They would find a great deal of ease from gripes of conscience if they could make God the author, or at least the countenancer, of their evil practices; and therefore when they can rub their guilt upon the gospel, and pretend a liberty by Christ, the design is accomplished.

3. Because man is obedient naturally no longer than when under impressions of awe and fear; "the cords of a man" (Hosea 11:4) work little with us — like beasts we only put forward when we feel the goad.

4. Because we all naturally desire liberty, carnal liberty, to be left to our own sway and bent, and therefore we catch at anything that tendeth that way. We would be as gods, lords of our own actions, and so are very apt to dream of an exemption from all kind of law but our own lusts.

(T. Manton.)

But how can they turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness? Is grace capable of a conversion into lust or sin? Will what was once grace ever become wantonness? It is the doctrine, not the real substance of grace, that is intended. The doctrine of forgiveness is this grace of God, which may be thus abused. From hence do men, who have only a general notion of it, habitually draw secret encouragements to sin and folly.

(J. Owen, D. D.)

Would any man be so simple as to set his house on fire because he has a great river running by his door, from whence he may have water to quench it; or wound himself, because there is an excellent plaster which has cured several?

(S. Charnock.)

1. To turn the grace of God into wantonness is to take a pretence and occasion to wax wanton, by the grace of God, whose favour the greater it is towards them the more wicked and wanton they be. Such are the presumptuous sinners, which will therefore sin of purpose because God is merciful. These are they which in the apostle say, Let us do evil that good may come thereof: let us sin that God may be merciful: let us commit iniquity that God's glory may be revealed; yet is their condemnation just. And this grace of God is turned into wantonness of divers and diversely.(1) When we think ourselves exempted from all duties, homage, and service to men, because we are freed by Jesus Christ.(2) They also turn the grace of God into wantonness which outwardly profess the gospel, frequent the Word of God, hear the wholesome doctrine of Jesus Christ: but wrest it to maintain their wanton and filthy desires.(3) They furthermore turn the grace of God into wantonness who profess the gospel, that under colour thereof they may play the wanton more freely and may live thereunder more idly.

(R. Turnbull.)

Denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ
Now there be many ways to deny God. Some deny His power, as the proud do; some His providence, as the infidels; some His justice, as the impenitent; some His mercy, as the desperate; some His truth, as liars; some His strength, as the fearful do. But especially we deny God in our lives, in our deeds, thus the Cretians denied Him. They professed they knew God, but by works they did deny Him, and were abominable, disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. The profession of God is known by the fruits of it, as life is discerned by the motion of man. On the contrary, if a man would persuade us that there is fire whereas there is no heat, or that there were life in a carcase that never moved, we would not believe him; so believe not him that speaketh of God and liveth not in God. Seeing all things are made for man, it cannot be but man is made for another, and that is God only: but the wicked shall find God and feel God when it is too late, though here they do deny Him. God here is called the only God to note the Trinity in Unity; there is one God, one essence of the three persons. The heathen thought it impossible for one God to govern this great world, therefore they made one god for heaven, as Jupiter; another for hell, as Pluto; one for bread, as Ceres; another for wine, as Bacchus; one for the sea, as Neptune; another for the wind, as Aeolus; one for learning, as Minerva; another for merchandise, as Mercury. Again, they deny Christ, of which sort there be many. The Jews deny that He is come; the pagans deny that ever He will come; the Turks confess that He is come, but yet as a man, not as a God, inferior to their Mahomet. But to speak orderly, men deny Christ many ways. Some deny His Divinity, as the Arians; some His humanity, as the Ubiquitaries; some His natures, by rending them asunder, as the Nestorians, who make two Christs — one the Son of God, another the son of Mary; some deny them by confounding them, as Eutyches, which said that His humanity was swallowed up of His Divinity; some deny Him by concealing Him in time of persecution, as the Nicodemites do. But chiefly we deny the Lord Jesus two ways: first, by denying the sufficiency of His death, as the Galatians did and as the Jews did. Secondly, we deny the Lord Jesus by denying the efficacy or virtue of His death, not dying unto sin. For as the sun doth not warm all whom it lighteneth, as the people under the North Pole, who have the sun six months together, and yet freeze, so the Spirit of God doth not cause all to feel the virtue of His death, whom He illuminateth with the knowledge of His death. The profession of Christ standeth not in words, but in deeds; not in tongue, but in heart; not in opinion, but in life. The apostle nameth a true knowledge, for many know not God truly.

(S. Otes.)

I. JESUS CHRIST IS MASTER AND LORD (Revelation 15:3). "Head over all things to the Church" (Ephesians 1:22). In the world the attribute manifested is power; in the Church, grace. Lord, let me feel the efficacy of Thy grace rather than the power of Thine anger!

II. CHRIST IS LORD AND JESUS; He came to rule and He came to save.

III. Again, from the words observe, THE SON OF GOD WAS CHRIST, THAT HE MIGHT BE LORD AND JESUS; ANOINTED OF THE FATHER THAT HE MIGHT ACCOMPLISH OUR SALVATION. This anointing signifieth two things. First, it noteth the nature of His offices. Under the Old Testament three sort of persons were anointed — kings, priests, and prophets, and all these relations doth Christ sustain to the Church. Secondly, it noteth the authority upon which His office is founded; He was anointed thereto by God the Father, who in the work of redemption is represented as the offended party and supreme judge; and so it is a great comfort to us that Christ is a mediator of God's choosing.

IV. Once more, observe, that Jesus Christ, the Master of the world and Lord of the Church, is TRUE GOD. For it is said here, denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. That Christ is God appeareth by express Scripture, where He is called "the true God" (1 John 5:20); "the great God" (Titus 2:13), to show that He is not a God inferior to the Father, but equal in power and glory, and that not by courtesy and grant, but by nature. So He is called "the mighty God, the everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6), and "God over all" (Romans 9:5). Again, God He must needs be, if you consider the work He ought to do. The work of the Mediator could be despatched by no inferior agent. Uses. Well, then, we learn hence —

1. That Christ is a proper object for faith.

2. Since He was God by nature, let us observe the love of Christ in becoming man.

3. It is an invitation to press us to come to Christ, and by Christ to God.

V. I COME NOW TO THE WORD IMPLYING THEIR GUILT, "denying." Observe, that it is a horrible impiety to deny the Lord Jesus; when He would make these seducers odious, He giveth them this character. Now Christ is many ways denied. I shall refer them to two heads — in opinion and practice.

1. In opinion: so Christ is denied when men deny His natures or offices.

2. Christ is denied in practice; and so —(1) By apostasy and total revolt from Him (Matthew 10:33).(2) By not professing Christ in evil times, for not to profess is to deny (Matthew 10:32, 33; Mark 8:38).(3) Men deny Christ when they profess Him and walk unworthily and dishonourably to their profession. Actions are the best image of men's thoughts. Now their actions give their profession the lie (Titus 1:16).

(T. Manton.)

(1) As in profession God the only Lord and our Lord Jesus Christ is denied, so is God and Christ denied in doctrine.(2) God the only Lord and Jesus Christ our Saviour is denied of me in conversation, when in words we give our names to Christ's religion, yet in our deeds will not be obedient.(3) God and our Lord Jesus Christ is denied of men by vainly trusting in worldly things, and not reposing all confidence in God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.(4) God and our Saviour Jesus Christ is denied by revolting, backsliding, and falling away from the religion of God and the profession of our Saviour Jesus Christ.(5) Finally, when we do not deny openly the doctrine of the gospel and the Word of God, yet notwithstanding we will not obey the admonitions of the ministers of Jesus Christ, nor fear the threatenings and punishment sounded out against our sins, we deny the Lord Jesus.

(R. Turnbull.)

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