Would you explain Jude 1:23?



Would you explain Jude 1:23, “but others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”



Dear Sam,

This is an important question which has often caused confusion and misunderstanding. For a clearer picture we must look at it along with the previous verse: “And of some have compassion, making a difference” (v. 22).

The two groups “some” and “others” are both separate from the “evil persons” referred to in verse 4 and “the saints” addressed in the epistle. They are those who may be referred to as “followers” and “leaders,” respectively.

The “some” are simple persons who are prepared to listen to the evil men, courting danger but not yet involved with them and not understanding the danger. In contrast the “others” are those who are contaminated by the evil and are in danger of following and becoming associated with the evil men. For those in the first group, we would recognize their simplicity and seek gently and kindly to help them to remove themselves from the dangerous place. However, in dealing with the second group, that is the “others,” greater care is needed. Those who would seek to rescue these “others” are kept from self-confidence through a realization of the horror of defilement and the risks to which the others are exposing themselves (save from fire); they are kept pure by a real sense of dependence upon the Lord.

What is clearly evident is the need for discernment and coupled with that a real compassion for those who are erring. We must heed the admonition in Galatians 6:1: “Ye who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of meekness, considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.”


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