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Re: Common salvation: once for all delivered (Judas 3-4)

This study begins with an exchange from a subscriber that started out like this:

READER QUESTION:
Beloved what is your undertsanding of the following? (all-caps added)

Jude 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you ABOUT THE SALVATION WE SHARE, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith THAT WAS ONCE for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 1:4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Yeshua the Messiah our only Sovereign and Lord.

VW ANSWER:
First of all, you need to get a copy of God's Word. I'm not sure which perversion this comes from....but it is not God's Word. If you compare this side-by-side with God's Word, you will see wrong words all over the place, that change the whole scope, meaning and emphasis of what is being said. I'm not sure what your questions are, that you are wanting comments from me about.....but it could be that, when you read it from God's Word, your questions will vanish....??


The person then re-quoted the passage, this time from the VW-edition, with the same areas highlighted, with the same un-focused question. I replied, including something on the order of: "do not the words mean what they say?"

I was not trying to be "smart-mouthed" in answering as I did. But as I let this subject stew around in my mind and heart a few days, it became clear that we need to address this little passage, tackling it from two fronts: 1) the Translation issue, and 2) What the passage Says.

Here it is, for comparison...

"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning the common salvation, it was necessary for me to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were set forth to this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God, even our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ju3-4)

In the Library is a past study of the entire epistle, from the aspect: "10 characteristics of apostasy prior to God's Wrath"

But these two verses, but more especially vs3, is the very -key- to many things: Rightful 'understanding' of God's Word to the Church, and some of the parameters involved in 'guarding' God's Word from corruption.


Let us first observe a few things that are wrong with the rendition as originally quoted. I have no idea 'which', of the many versions that proliferate today, that it is from. Let's address it -as- given in the correspondence, not worrying about its label, but seeing the text for what it presumes to say; comparing next to God's Word (VW, KJV and others say essentially the same thing as each other)

  • "I was very eager to write" vs "I was very diligent to write"

    Do these two not say the same thing? No they don't. The word "eager" carries with it the notion of the writer's own personal desire and will; as though this was something that Judas was mulling around in his mind one day and "really wanted" to write... just: because.

    But how was God's Word written? "...holy men of God spoke as they were propelled along by the Holy Spirit". (2Pet1:21b) The Scriptures did not come about by various ones coming to God, panting, "Can I can I can I... p'leeeease write Your Words??? Pretty please???" No! When God sets about to have His servant write, it often comes to one who doesn't want to, like Jeremiah: "I will not make mention of Him, nor speak in His name any more. But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with holding it in, and I could not." (Jer20:9)

    God gave the message to Judas to pass along, and he is writing it with -DILIGENCE-. Using the UTMOST CARE to say -exactly- what God intends.

  • "I felt I had to write" vs "it was necessary for me to write"

    Again, a variation of the preceding point. Where does the epistle originate? With Judas? or from the Holy Spirit? Is God's Word based on 'feelings'? or (often) out of "need" (KJV says "needful")? What is the 'need'? There are certain ungodly men who "have crept in unnoticed" (vs4) They are condemned. They "turn the grace of our God into licentiousness" through the dialectic of "gray areas" and "consensus" mentality. And they "deny" Jesus Christ.

    And one of the most clever ways in which this "creeping" has happened "unnoticed", is in things like these clever little word changes in the translations. It's the same thing that is happening all over. Recently I mentioned how Multnomah Bible College has changed its Statement of Faith. In Europe (EU) they are changing the definition of "terrorism", and such things, regarding Islam, to not have Muslims be "terrorists", but they are coming up with other clever ways to stick their (collective) heads in the sand (like ostriches), to turn a blind eye from the reality of how Islam is trying to infiltrate and TAKE OVER; so that they no longer feel the need to "contend" for goodness, against evil. After all, to "contend" is these days deemed so "hateful" and "judgmental".

  • Also, notice how it changed "contend earnestly" to just "contend". All strength and diligence is erased. There is no longer the willingness to "having done all, to stand" against the wiles of the devil and all "spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies". (Eph6:12-13)
If an entity, any entity, but in this case the Church, is convinced that it does not need to be on guard; the enemy has 'free run' of the place and takes over. Today's [c]hurch has been run over, and is being led by "doctrines of demons" (1Tim4:1) These are "perilous times" (2Tim3:1) in which we live. And our chance of standing up to satan's onslaughts is greatly hindered if we do not stick to God's Word.

When a drill sergeant or commanding officer gives a command to one lower in rank, do they 'urge'? Or is it more like an 'exhortation'? If someone is being "snatched out of the fire" (vs23), is the person in danger being "urged" to "grab my hand (if you feel so-inclined)"? Or is it with strong exhortation: C'mon, RUN! Here! Grab my hand, and let me pull/lead you out!!! ??

See the differences? Do you understand? Do you yet understand why we spend so much time exhorting regarding 'translation' issues? Why, if you are still stuck in your NIV, RSV, or (gasp!) Message; throw them out and get a copy of God's Word. And I don't mean that, in order to have God's Word you -must- be reading the VW-edition. I would 'encourage' (urge) people to check it out; and if the Lord so-burdens you, you will find yourself using it regularly. But the KJV, NKJV, LITV, MKJV are also English translations of God's Word.


But why would a little passage like this be messed up; even if 'slightly'? ...although, to me, -anything- that seeks to change or 'soften' the words of God's Word is not 'slight'. That's what the messenger asked of Micaiah, be in -agreement- with all the other prophets that were speaking 'positive' things to the king: "..let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak pleasant things. And Micaiah said, As Jehovah lives, whatever Jehovah says to me, that I will speak." (1Ki22:13-14)... Because: if the messenger's credentials, and the 'source' of the message can be put into question, even if the reader doesn't even realize it's in question; then the actual -message- also becomes watered down. If Judas had this 'notion' that he wanted to 'share' with his readers, of a 'suggestion' he 'wished' to pass along; well, ho hum! I, as the reader, can either read it, or not. Whatever! No big deal.

But the Word is from the Lord, through Judas' "diligence" to faithfulness to the message!


So... What is the message? What is this "COMMON SALVATION...ONCE FOR ALL DELIVERED"?

What does the word "common" mean? (as I suggested to the one who wrote: do not the words mean what they say?) Common indicates a "universality". Something that is the "same" for -all-. Something that all people can come and partake.

"Common" is not the same as "share". Again: "share" makes the Salvation something -we- 'do' with each other. We are the masters/rulers of our own eternal destiny, and because of some perceived 'something-or-other' whereby we are all 'feeling' -good- with each other, we "share". Same as Bible "studies" since the 70s, where everyone sat around and "shared"; rather than there being a -teacher- who 'taught' and proclaimed God's "whole counsel" (Ac20:27): "Thus says the Lord Jehovah" (Ezk2:4) But "common" is something that is -beyond- our own powers. It is something that -is-; by definition of the character of the matter. And in the case of "Salvation", it being "common" is something provided by/from God; NOT man!

When we read the Bible we see various covenants God makes with various entities, along with prophecies, blessing and judgment. There was the pre-diluvian humanity. Post-diluvian humanity got spread out throughout the earth, and the continents were separated. God chose Abraham and Israel as a special nation. And in relationship to Israel, God requires certain things of the other nations, depending on how they relate to Israel. And all these covenants have variations; things that are 'different'; depending on -who- is involved. It is not the scope of this 'portion' to enumerate everything and give their references. But you who know your Bibles, and have been around here awhile: you know what we're talking about. Newer subscribers, if you're not versed in these things, may find the (Library) link for "Covenants & Dispensations" to be helpful.

But one concept that is 'common' to -all-, no matter the time or dispensation, are the matters of Sin, Death, Salvation, Resurrection, Judgment and Life....

"And at that time, your people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the Book. And many of those sleeping in the earth’s dust shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to reproach and everlasting abhorrence. And the prudent shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever." (Dan12:1-3)

"And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. And books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, out of the things which were written in the books. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one, according to their works...And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire." (Rev20:12-13,15)

Salvation is for "all who call upon Him" (Rom10:12) It makes no matter who or what station/dispensation they may be of: "...the new man who is renewed in full true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all things and in all." (Col3:10-11) "God...now commands ALL men EVERYWHERE to repent" (Ac17:30)

That is the COMMON salvation, available to all, where "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are -ALL- one in Christ Jesus." (Ga3:28) That verse is not talking about 'feminism', as distorted by many; but about Salvation. The "common" salvation.

We are saved "by grace through faith" (Eph2:8) In Scripture, another word often used synonymously with "salvation" is "faith". We are "saved"; we are "in the faith" (Ac14:22, 2Co13:5); same thing. The 'doctrines' about these things is also often called the "faith". Those who are saved are often called "Believers". "Belief" and "faith" being of the same root meaning.

The "faith" was "once for all delivered" to the saints. There are several aspects to this statement.

First of all: Salvation was given through Jesus Christ dying on the cross, shedding His blood. (Rev1:5) And when He had purged away our sins, He cried out, "It has been finished!" (Jn19:30) The job is done! There is now no more "need" for the "daily sacrifices" because Jesus offered up Himself "once for all". (Heb7:27)

KJV renders it "once". The ALT includes the word "time" in the phrase, "once for all time". In the Greek the word "time" does not appear, but the intent of what is there indicates it. In other words, when Jesus died for sin, He did so for -all- sin, for -all- 'ages' of the earth. His sacrifice took care of Adam's sin, as well as Peter and John's, as well as anybody living today, and into the future, until the time when God proclaims, "It is finished...the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. (Rev21:6, 22:10-11)

Also, the word "faith", indicating doctrine/teaching was "once for all delivered to the saints". From where do we get doctrine and teaching? since the apostles are no longer alive? The Scriptures. "All Scripture is breathed by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2Tim3:16-17)

In other words, Scripture -has- been given. Whatever had been given when Judas wrote these words was -all- there was to be given. There was to be no more Revelation. There is not an "additional testament of Jesus Christ" to go "hand in hand with the Bible", as Mormonism offers. There are not "new revelations" through spirit-fillings, and new words of prophecy of visions, when they go contrary to the Scripture that has -already- "once for all" been given in our Bibles. In fact, the warning is so clear that Paul puts it this way: "But even if we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Ga1:8-9) He -repeats- the curse, to make sure we all got it. But Mormonism doesn't get it...their Book of Mormon came, allegedly, from an "angel". Paul warns, even if an angel comes along with another message...it is accursed. Because, God's Word -has- ALREADY "once for all" been given.

The opening 'translation' chooses to use the word "entrusted"; rather than the usual "delivered". While the Greek word does have a (lesser) degree where "entrust" can be included in the definition; the primary meaning is that it was "given" to the saints (Believers). It's like when the postal, UPS or Fed-Ex person comes, carrying the package, they "deliver" it to you. They brought it from point-A, and placed it into your hands. They "delivered" it.

When a messenger is "entrusted" with a message, there is a further degree of responsibility: to make sure the message gets to its destination "undamaged". See the cleverness of that 'translation'? They claim the message has been "entrusted", while (themselves) 'damaging' the text surrounding the message... as we noted above. Like the car salesman who continually repeats, "believe me, believe me" while being less-than-honest about the 'deal' he is trying to broker with you. Saying, "God's honest truth", to con you into thinking he's honest, and believes in God; while out the other side of his mouth, lying through his teeth.

But God's Salvation, through Jesus' death, burial and resurrection (1Co15:3-4) is -universally- (commonly) available to -all- "who call upon Him" (Rom10:12) Jesus provided this salvation "once for all [time]", never to be "crucified again" (Heb6:6) And the Gospel message, the "message preached" (1Co1:21), has also been given "once for all [time]". The message has not changed, because what Jesus did in dying and rising from the dead, has not changed. Jesus -did- those things, He "finished" the work, and the work cannot be 'un-done'. And there is no 'new' work that is necessary for salvation: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men that is required for us to be saved." (Ac4:12) Thus, since Salvation and how Jesus attained it for us has not changed, the message also does not change; and it, also, -has- been given. Nothing was left out, but as Paul proclaims: "...I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying both to Jews, and also to Greeks, REPENTANCE toward God and FAITH toward our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ac20:20-21)

A closing thought...

The -common- salvation is 'available' to all "who call upon the name of the Lord" (Rom10:12-13); but a -shared- salvation makes an 'assumption' that everybody within hearing of that statement is saved. Indeed, that is one of the alleged 'gospels' being proclaimed today, that Jesus' death sav-[ED] 'everybody', so the "good news" is for the purpose to "inform them of that fact".

But just as Paul observed: "For not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6b); John observed about those who "went out from us", that "not all of them are of us" (1Jn2:19) Like we say around here: not all [c]hristians are [C]hristian; not all those of the [c]hurch are part of Christ's [C]hurch. And since Judas is talking about those who sneek in to pervert the Gospel, obviously not everybody is saved. Thus, not everybody reading what Judas wrote "share" (have a share) in Salvation.

Something that many modern feel-gooders like to say: "We're -all- Christians here"... is a false statement! And that's why such an (alleged) 'translation' is so spiritually deadly. It is NOT a translation of what God -said-, but is an "other" gospel; it is accursed. (Ga1:8-9) When an unbeliever reads that passage, they might assume that they are saved; when in reality they are not; and so, not seeing the need to repent, they don't; and will spend forever in the Lake of Fire.

God does not automatically forgive everyone, just because Jesus died on the cross; but the Scripture says, "For You, Lord, are good, and -READY- to forgive, and abounding in mercy UNTO ALL THOSE WHO CALL UPON YOU." (Ps86:5) Salvation is "common": it is 'available' to all WHO "REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL" (Mk1:15) That "EVERYONE -BELIEVING- into Him should not perish but have eternal life." (Jn3:16)

However... Most do NOT call upon God for salvation; not everyone believes; and there are certainly -many- who go the step further and actively REFUSE to 'repent'. They do NOT -have- a 'share' in this "common Salvation".

Amen!