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“Ordained of God”
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 4)
When we read such a passage as this and see it fulfilled before our eyes, we often ask, — “How could this have happened?” That is because we fail to give proper consideration to the most significant words in Jude 4 concerning the heretics who infiltrate gospel churches.
Jude tells us that these serpentine preachers “were before of old ordained to this condemnation.” Their infiltration is by divine design. They could not find their way into Zion if the Lord our God did not wisely ordain it for good reasons. One of those reasons is stated plainly in 1 Corinthians 11:19. When heretics come among us, the Lord makes manifest who are his. His sheep hear the Good Shepherd’s voice and follow him. They hear not the voice of strangers.
They creep into the church and worm their way into people’s affections by pretense and insinuation (2 Timothy 3:1-7). They claim to promote righteousness and truth. Yet their doctrine is so corrupt and their motives so vile that they know their success depends entirely upon deceit. It is no marvel that Paul wrote as he did in 2 Corinthians 11, warning us to mark those who seek to destroy our souls with their beguiling doctrines.
Our most dangerous enemies are not godless politicians, but godless preachers, subtle enemies inside the church (2 Peter 2:1; 1 Timothy 4:1-3). In the night, when men sleep, Satan sows his tares among the wheat, that he might corrupt the church. His messengers creep into the church unsuspected, under falsely professed faith (Matthew 7:15; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
No Harm Done
Yet, there is no cause for alarm. They shall cause no real harm. The church and kingdom of Christ, God’s elect, are kept safe and secure. God’s purpose is not overthrown, or even hindered by our foes, but only served. Everything about them, including their work and their end, is according to the determinate counsel and eternal purpose of our all-wise and sovereign God.
Jude tells us that these false prophets “were before of old ordained to this condemnation.” Heresies and errors do not fall out by chance, but according to the certain and eternal purpose of our God. Nothing can come to pass without his will; and nothing can come to pass against his will. And nothing will injure his church and kingdom.
“Zion stands with hills surrounded;
Zion, kept by pow'r divine.
All her foes shall be confounded,
Though the world in arms combine.
Happy Zion, Happy Zion,
What a favored lot is thine!