↑ 1.Salutation 61ce
servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,
to those whom God has called, who live in the love of God the Father and in the safe keeping of Jesus Christ.
2Mercy, peace, and love be yours in fullest measure.
Judgment on False Teachers
3My friends, I was fully engaged in writing to you about our salvation—which is yours no less than ours—when it became urgently necessary to write at once and appeal to you to join the struggle in defence of the faith, the faith which God entrusted to his people once and for all. 4It is in danger from certain persons who have wormed their way in, the very men whom Scripture long ago marked down for the doom they have incurred. They are the enemies of religion; they pervert the free favour of our God into licentiousness, disowning Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.
5You already know it all, but let me remind you how the Lord, having once delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt, next time destroyed those who were guilty of unbelief. 6Remember too the angels, how some of them were not content to keep the dominion given to them but abandoned their proper home; and God has reserved them for judgement on the great Day, bound beneath the darkness in everlasting chains. 7Remember Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbouring towns; like the angels, they committed fornication and followed unnatural lusts; and they paid the penalty in eternal fire, an example for all to see.
8So too with these men today. Their dreams lead them to defile the body, to flout authority, and to insult celestial beings. 9 [ Zch.3.2. ] In contrast, when the archangel Michael was in debate with the devil, disputing the possession of Moses's body, he did not presume to condemn him in insulting words, but said, 'May the Lord rebuke you!'
10But these men pour abuse upon things they do not understand; the things they do understand, by instinct like brute beasts, prove their undoing. 11Alas for them! They have gone the way of Cain; they have plunged into Balaam's error for pay; they have rebelled like Korah, and they share his doom.
12These men are a blot on your love-feasts, where they eat and drink without reverence. They are shepherds who take care only of themselves. They are clouds carried away by the wind without giving rain, trees that in season bear no fruit, dead twice over and pulled up by the roots. 13They are fierce waves of the sea, foaming shameful deeds; they are stars that have wandered from their course, and the place for ever reserved for them is blackest darkness.
14It was to them that Enoch, the seventh in descent from Adam, directed his prophecy when he said: 'I saw the Lord come with his myriads of angels, 15to bring all men to judgement and to convict all the godless of all the godless deeds they had committed, and of all the defiant words which godless sinners had spoken against him.'
16They are a set of grumblers and malcontents. They follow their lusts. Big words come rolling from their lips, and they court favour to gain their ends. Warnings and Exhortations 17But you, my friends, should remember the predictions made by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18This was the warning they gave you: 'In the final age there will be men who pour scorn on religion, and follow their own godless lusts.'
19These men draw a line between spiritual and unspiritual persons, although they are themselves wholly unspiritual. 20But you, my friends, must fortify yourselves in your most sacred faith. Continue to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in the love of God, and look forward to the day when our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy will give eternal life.
22There are some doubting souls who need your pity; 23snatch them from the flames and save them. There are others for whom your pity must be mixed with fear; hate the very clothing that is contaminated with sensuality.
24Now to the One who can keep you from falling and set you in the presence of his glory, jubilant and above reproach, 25to the only God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, might and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all time, now, and for evermore. Amen.