As we continue our journey through Jude, verses fourteen through sixteen conclude his warning to us about false teachers. Jude reminds us of the judgment that is coming for them at the Lord’s Second Coming. In verse sixteen, he once again goes into what these false teachers are like. We are going to focus on this verse because many times we can fall into these actions even though we are not false teachers.
Jude calls false teachers ‘grumblers.’ We are told throughout the New Testament to do everything without grumbling. We are to have a joyful spirit. Being joyful and grumbling about something are opposites of each other. This affects our spiritual life as well. Commentator Michael Green puts it this way, “Whenever a man gets out of touch with God he is likely to begin complaining about something. To grumble and moan is one of the distinguishing marks of man without God.” Whenever we lose our focus on God, we begin to be tempted to complain about our circumstances. We start to not like what God has provided for us. We want more, or we want it differently. The circumstances that God has given us are no longer appealing. What we want is our way. This is the trap that Satan wants us, as believers, to fall into. We look at the circumstances through our flesh. This causes us to complain and to try finding faults in them. Rather, we should be thankful to God in each circumstance that we are in. Paul commands us of this in his first letter to the Thessalonians: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Paul is not saying that we ought to be thankful for the situation that we are in, rather we are to be thankful in every situation. We are to rely on His providence. God has given us enough faith to get through the circumstances that we are experiencing.
False teachers also boast about themselves. How many times have we boasted about ourselves? We are leading a study and we get a good turnout, and the study was great. The church on Sunday morning is bursting at the seams because it is so full. We win a competition. The list could go on. Why do we do this? I say ‘we’ because I have fallen into this trap before as well. Doesn’t it make us feel great when we boast about ourselves? It makes us feel superior to other people. However, why are we boasting about something that we could not do on our own? The real reason that we are successful is that God has given us that talent. He has provided us with that success. God is the one that made your study have a good turnout and go great. He is the one that brought all the people to the church. He is the one that gifted you with the talent to win the competition. He is the one that gives you everything. Without Him, we would be nothing. Why, then, would we want to take the praise and glory from Him, the Giver of All Things? Paul reminds us of this in his letter to the Galatians; “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” We are deceived if we think we can do anything outside of Christ. He is the reason that we are even able to breathe. He holds everything in His hands.
As we conclude this section of Jude we are reminded again of the characteristics of false teachers. While it is easy for us to separate ourselves from these verses because we are not false teachers, the principles are still the same. We must always be wary to not fall into these actions. It is just like any other sin. You start small. You may only do it once. However, you start to do it more. The next step over doesn’t seem as bad. This continues until you are neck-deep in the sin. While it is still possible to get out of that sin, it is a lot harder than just avoiding it to start. The punishment for these false teachers is very serious. Why, then, would we risk coming under this punishment?