Have you ever tried to stop a person from spiritual self-destruction? This is no easy challenge! Only by God’s grace, as God’s Spirit convicts and convinces of danger, will any progress be made.
In the 10th verse of Jude the false teachers of his day were on the path of spiritual self-destruction. Jude appears not to be seeking to stop them but rather expose their strategy to believers who might be swayed by them.
“Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals–these are the very things that destroy them.”
Unlike Michael the archangel, who spoke clearly but carefully with the devil, these false teachers “rush in where angels fear to tread.” They don’t understand some spiritual truth. No surprise here! They are echoing their father’s ‘native language!’ (cf. John 8:44 “…When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The ‘things they do understand’ are the very things that are destroying them. Most lies are “close” to the truth, but not close enough!
Where’s the application for us? Never before have Christ-followers needed the spiritual gift of discernment as much as they do now!
a) Novels with “spiritual themes” are held to more passionately than Scripture; (e.g. No publisher agreed to publish “The Shack” so it was self-published and became a runaway bestseller despite its deviance from Scripture on the Doctrine of the Trinity)
b) Movies with speculative ponderings about heaven trump Scripture because of their “experience” and “first-hand” evidence; (e.g. Heaven is For Real);
c) Spirituality, broadly speaking, opens men and women to the “spirit” realm but not to the Christ-centred, Word-grounded work of the Holy Spirit;
d) Even in the area of prophecy, consider the seemingless endless speculative novels in the “Left Behind” series. Having read a few of them and watched the movie, I honestly believe it is the Scripture that has been “left behind.”
In 1899, William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army warned that…..
“The chief dangers that confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.”
I conclude with a chorus my own parents some times quoted – “God said it. I believe it. That settles it for me…..”
The real issue is “GOD SAID IT….” Biblical truth is TRUTH because God said it. Whether I believe it or not is no significance to the “truth” issue that is at stake. May those of us who claim that “the Bible is our final authority for all matters of faith and practice” be completely saturated with Scripture. That is the best anti-dote for spiritual self-destruction!