Earlier in this short passage we focused on have mercy on those who doubt, now let’s look at the rest.
22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Here Jude continues his instruction as to how we interact with those stuck under the false teaching of vv.8-13. To those who have doubts of the heart we are to have mercy, but some situations require a stronger response. Jude writes save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. The response is different to show mercy, and the response is stronger too.
The crux of it all is that we should indeed be others-focused. Looking outwardly to others and the direction they are heading shows that we care and shows we are valuing our brothers and sisters in Christ. If people are being taught a different version of Jesus than is orthodox and shown in Scripture, we ought to be stepping in to lovingly correct them (Ephesians 4.14-16).
I read recently that “Christians should not abandon a friend flirting with false teaching. They should help him through it in love.“
So, if people are flirting with false teaching, be that from an individual pastor who teaches ever so slightly away from Scripture to tickle the ears of those who listen, or if an entire church and movement is founded on principles and teachings that are not explicitly demonstrated in the Bible, we should help them see the truth of the Word of God, but always in love.
In doing so, as Jude writes, we will save others. Not in that we become their Saviour, but we will redirect them to the One who is.
Point to ponder – Would I know how to lovingly give correction? Am I humble enough to receive correction?
Prayer – Father we thank you for your timeless and true Word to us that we carry in our Bibles, and we thank you that this Word became flesh and lived here among us temporarily to point us to you. Give us a spirit of humility and the right words if we need to be in this situation, and help us to always keep our eyes fixed on the message of your Word, not the words of those who deliver it. Amen.