1:17 But you, dear friends – recall the predictions 1 foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 1:18 For they said to you, “In the end time there will come 3 scoffers, propelled by their own ungodly desires.” 4 1:19 These people are divisive, 5 worldly, 6 devoid of the Spirit. 7 1:20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, 8 1:21 maintain 9 yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating 10 the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life. 11 1:22 And have mercy on those who waver; 1:23 save 12 others by snatching them out of the fire; have mercy 13 on others, coupled with a fear of God, 14 hating even the clothes stained 15 by the flesh. 16
[1:17] 2 sn This verse parallels 2 Pet 3:2 both conceptually and in much of the verbiage. There is one important difference, however: In 2 Pet 3:2 the prophets and apostles speak; here, just the apostles speak. This makes good sense if Jude is using 2 Peter as his main source and is urging his readers to go back to the authoritative writings, both OT and now especially NT.
[1:19] sn The phrase devoid of the Spirit may well indicate Jude’s and Peter’s assessment of the spiritual status of the false teachers. Those who do not have the Spirit are clearly not saved.
[1:20] 8 tn The participles in v. 20 have been variously interpreted. Some treat them imperativally or as attendant circumstance to the imperative in v. 21 (“maintain”): “build yourselves up…pray.” But they do not follow the normal contours of either the imperatival or attendant circumstance participles, rendering this unlikely. A better option is to treat them as the means by which the readers are to maintain themselves in the love of God. This both makes eminently good sense and fits the structural patterns of instrumental participles elsewhere.
[1:23] sn Joining a fear of God to mercy is an important balance when involved in disciplinary action. On the one hand, being merciful without fear can turn to unwarranted sympathy for the individual, absolving him of personal responsibility; but fearing God without showing mercy can turn into personal judgment and condemnation.
[1:23] 16 tn Grk “hating even the tunic spotted by the flesh.” The “flesh” in this instance could refer to the body or to the sin nature. It makes little difference in one sense: Jude is thinking primarily of sexual sins, which are borne of the sin nature and manifest themselves in inappropriate deeds done with the body. At the same time, he is not saying that the body is intrinsically bad, a view held by the opponents of Christianity. Hence, it is best to see “flesh” as referring to the sin nature here and the language as metaphorical.