4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 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 (Jude).
The phrase “have crept in unnoticed” comes from one word meaning “to settle alongside”—signifying an appearance of becoming one with the group. These are the “tares” in our Lord’s parable, wherein the “enemy came and sowed among the wheat” and were kept until the harvest to be “burned up” (Matthew 13:24-30). Jude then gives three examples of such tares: unbelieving rabble-rousers during the Exodus from Egypt, angels, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the end it did not go well for them.
As much as we may be loathe to admit, every church will have its share of tares within her. And just as whole cities were lost (Sodom and Gomorrah), even so, whole churches may consist of nothing but tares! Yet, in the end, all the tares—every last one of them—will “undergo the punishment of eternal fire.”
Lord, thank You that we are not numbered among the tares, but among the wheat! Help us This Day to stand out among any tares around us. Amen.