5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. 8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. Jude 5–8
In verses 5-7, Jude gives us three examples of God punishing those who defied his word, his authority, and his natural laws, respectively. God judged the Israelites who disbelieved (verse 5), his angels who were disloyal (verse 6), and entire cities who defiled themselves (verse 7). Physical judgements on his people and Sodom and Gomorrah are documented in 1 Corinthians 10:5-10 and Genesis 19:24, respectively, and the incarceration of fallen angels is mentioned here and in 2 Peter 2:4.
So it’s obvious to me that Jude’s topic is a very serious one, even worthy of shelving a discussion of “our common salvation.” Accordingly, we must be determined in our spheres to eradicate anything resembling disbelief, disloyalty, or deviant behavior. This is a full time job, but we do have help from the Holy Spirit.
There are three additional teachings in these verses that come free of charge.
First, both Jude and Peter (2 Peter 1:12) take it upon themselves to remind us of this primary truth (verse 5); in Jesus we know all that we need to know. One commentator recalls the fact that the Israelites were presented with grapes from the promised land as “Exhibit A,” yet they declined to enter. We save ourselves from painful lessons if we take what the Bible teaches at face value and respond accordingly.
Second, we enter the danger zone when we adopt our own takes on matters of theological importance. “Well, I think,” are dangerous words. The angels abandoned their “proper abode” in heaven (verse 6), and we can too in a practical sense if we follow enticing theological rabbit trails. Only God’s word is authoritative.
Third, those involved in advanced forms of sin, of the kinds listed in verse 7 and Romans 1:26-27, hang by a thread. In fact, as Jude describes in verse 23, these souls are already experiencing judgment in their lives (they are in the fire) and need to be “snatched out.”
Save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Jude 23
It is interesting that we are to rescue and exhibit mercy with fear towards these who are in this advanced state of degradation (more on this verse later). Now to address verse 8.
Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. Jude 8
Those Jude describes as “creeping in unnoticed,” (verse 4) he also calls “dreamers,” or those who fantasize in their minds about “sensuous” things, and in so doing, by visualizing these vile things in their minds, contaminate themselves and others through their teachings, i.e., their “takes” on “spiritual” things, and their resultant “loose” behavior, leading to the rejection of the absolute authority and majestic glory of God by those who are so easily captivated (2 Timothy 3:6).
I say to this prospect, may it never be! (1 Corinthians 6:13) Rather, we should run everything through the following grid.
Is it true? Is it honorable? Is it right? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it of good repute? Is it excellent? Is it worthy of praise? Philippians 4:8
In other words, be vigilantly and constantly involved in the following pursuit.
5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:5–6