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Apostasy in the Last Days (17): Apostates Convicted of Their Ungodliness

“To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Jude 15.

 

The text may be rendered, “to exercise judgment against all and to convict all their ungodly ones concerning all their works of ungodliness, which they performed in an ungodly manner, and concerning all the hard things which ungodly sinners said against Him.”

Enoch had prophesied of the coming in glory of the divine Judge with His glorious attendants. Now he states the purpose of His judgment and describes both the work of the Judge and the persons haled before the final court of appeal. The Lord will proceed against all the ungodly, to refute, correct and convict them; and the grounds and reasons for this action taken against them are because of their ungodly practices and hard speeches against Christ.

“To exercise judgment’’: Not only is the Lord “a God of judgment” (Isa. 30:18), but “the Lord is known by the judgment He executeth” (Ps. 9:16).  Notice the present tense: He exercises judgment in time as well as in eternity. Against all, that is, against all those referred to here, all the ungodly; for condemnatory judgment is not executed against the saints, but for them. “The Lord executeth judgment for the oppressed” (Ps. 103:6). “And to convince” (convict) the ungodly, so that they go down in judgment corrected, their mouths forever shut! The judgment will leave the wicked self-condemned and speechless. “Concerning all their works of ungodliness.” The sin of ungodliness is that state of depravity in the sinner which leaves him devoid of the image of God. He has lost the likeness of God and so is not God-like. Ungodliness is also that lawless behavior in which the sinner not only denies God (v. 4), His honor, worship and service, but also opposes His servants, worship and truth. “Which they performed in an ungodly manner.” Of course, works of ungodliness could be performed in no other way. But the idea is that they maliciously denied God in their every act, maligning and blaspheming His name with every breath. “And concerning all the hard things,” which, as in the King James Version, are hard speeches, for they said them. Ungodly practices are inseparable from an evil tongue and a vile mouth. The ungodly are profane, arrogant, cursing, swearing, blaspheming. “How long shall they utter and speak hard things, and the workers of iniquity boast themselves?” (Ps. 94:4).

“. ..speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken. . .” They are not just sinners, but ungodly sinners. As in Psalm 1, sinners are by way of explication the ungodly, the scornful. “Ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” To be “against Him,” to be anti-Christ, is to be against the person, the doctrine, the truth of Christ, to be against His messengers and ordinances. Thus there are already many antichrists which have come into the world.

“To convince all”: the word convince is exelegcho and is a more intense form of the same word in John 8:46 where Jesus silenced His enemies with, “which of you convinceth Me of sin?”. This cannot mean, Which of you can convince Me, that is, make Me realize I have sin. Rather the meaning is. Who can substantiate a charge of sin and furnish a proof of sin against Me? So this convincing is not that of a gracious conviction meant to lead to confession of guilt and wrong, but that of an objective, legal conviction with a view to condemnation and judgment, and not a subjective sensing and inner realizing of the pronouncement of judgment. It is, rather, like the scathing denunciations of the prosecuting attorney and the judge in unanswerable arguments and final verdict against the guilty. (Cp. the same word, convicted, in John 8:9). Christ, the Judge, convicts and convinces the wicked in judgment, then condemns and finally executes the sentence of judgment. God convicts and convinces elect, regenerated sinners for their conversion, but convinces the reprobate ungodly for their confusion and condemnation. God chastises the righteous that He may restore them; He punishes the ungodly by casting them into hell (v. 13).

“Of all their ungodly deeds.” Observe that the final judgment process at the last day proceeds against the ungodly for all their ungodly deeds. The ungodliness of men provokes God’s wrath against them (Rom. 1:18). They are ordained to wrath and condemnation (Jude 4; I Thess. 5:9) for their ungodliness. But exactly what are ungodly deeds? They are evil actions of apostatizing deviations from the knowledge, worship and service of God. The ungodly have departed from these virtues to become like the heathen who neither know nor worship the true God. All sin is distinguished as ungodliness and unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18), the former especially being transgression of the first table of the law requiring duty to God, and the latter being transgression of the second table, requiring our duty to man.

Their ungodly practices are performed in an ungodly manner. Not only are their principles bad, but their methods are bad. It is not only the gross sins which they commit, but the offensive manner in which they commit them that is condemned. What they do in their conduct is sin, and their sin flows out of a sinful, ungodly mind. They will be judged for thinking and acting out of “a vicious nature.” They will not only be judged for doing “ungodly deeds,” but for doing them in the most ungodly manner they could devise. The believer sins too, for when he would do good, evil is present with him. But the wicked “do evil with both hands earnestly” (Mic. 7:3). They follow the devil’s pattern of wicked works with all their might. They are, in the judgment of God, “workers of iniquity’1 (Matt. 7:23). They are evildoers. Their workers’ union protects and supports them in their business and trade, which is iniquity. They pay their dues to the devil. The godly also sin, but they groan and grieve over it and repent of it. The ungodly swill and wallow in sin; they revel in it. They rage in it in hatred of God, of their neighbor and of themselves.

God convicts them “of all their hard speeches.” Not only their transgressions and crimes, but their words will be brought into judgment. Where they dare not get caught in the commission of the act of evil they do dare to speak it. But the very utterance of sin is kept upon record and account must be given in the day of judgment for every idle word spoken. (Matt. 12:36). Just think of the idle, rotten words by “rock-n-roll” and “M-TV” stars! They multiply their “hard speeches” in recordings up into the millions, and they shall answer for every idle and wicked word in them! In the judgment they must listen to a re-play of their vile productions and must answer for every foul utterance!

But whether idle words, or worse, hard speeches, they are calumnies and reproaches which directly reflect on the glory and honor of Christ, for ungodly sinners said them “against Him.” Some of these apostates, even today, deny that He is God. (Jn. 5:18). Others make Him a docetic man (one only in appearance), denying His true humanity. Christian Science does this holding that the conception of Jesus was only an idea in the mind of Mary; that Jesus was merely the offspring of her spiritual, self-conscious communion with God; that Jesus, accommodating Himself to the immature thought of men, spoke of His body as “flesh and bone.” But this was only a temporary concession of convenience to His disciples’ ignorance and superstition. So the heresy of Docetism is still with us. Hence the Lord complains, “Your words have been stout against Me” (Mai. 3:13). Also, modern libertines call our zeal “Fundamentalist fanaticism,” our Christian discipline “strait-laced strictness” and our godly manner of life “Puritanism.” A current novelist sweeps away the biblical concept of godliness with, “Cotton Mather has been out of the picture for some time!” Not true! “He, being dead yet speaketh!” Jesus said, “My Word shall not pass away,” whether spoken by Puritan or president. Matthew Henry tells us that “one of our good old Puritans says, If thou smite (what you think is a heretic or an apostate) and God find (in reality) a real saint bleeding, look out: you will answer for it!” So, all these “hard speeches” must come to judgment. In that Day the Judge and His just sentence shall be approved and applauded by an assembled universe. (Rev. 19:1-6).

Ungodliness includes hard speeches said against Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these hard speeches were directed against the hard sayings of Christ in His Word. The Sanhedrin made hard speeches against Christ’s hard sayings which He spoke through Stephen (Acts 6:12-7:1, 51-57). Many of our Lord’s disciples apostatized, departing from His doctrine as intolerably offensive. (Jn. 6:60, 66). They murmured, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” But any making hard speeches against the Lord’s hard sayings need not profess to being His disciples. The doctrine of eternal punishment had been spoken against as “horrible doctrine!” What makes it really horrible is that it is literally true. But it is not for us to criticize the severity of God. The ungodly, in judgment and damnation, come to a horrible end. The Spirit of God in describing this end in His Word is incapable of exaggeration. When the Lord comes again at the last day it will not be with the golden scepter stretched out in favor to the ungodly, but with the rod of iron raised up against them to break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. “His rule extends over them, but its. . .display will be one of justice, not of mercy; He will exhibit His power in executing the righteous sentence of God upon the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and, seeing they have rejected Him, He will be the object of their deepest dread.” (C. H. Spurgeon).