3. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
3. Dilecti, quum omne studium adhiberem ad scribendum vobis de communi salute, necesse habui scribere vobis ad vos hortandos ut certando adjuvetis eam, quae semel tradita est sanctis, fidem.
4. 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.
4. Subingressi enim sunt quidam homines, olim praescripti judicium, impii, Dei nostri gratiam transferentes in lasciviam, et Deum, qui solus est Herus, et Dominum Jesum Christum negantes.
Then, in the first place, Jude testifies that he felt so much concern for their salvation, that he wished himself, and was indeed anxious to write to them; and, secondly, in order to rouse their attention, he says that the state of things required him to do so. For necessity adds strong stimulants. Had they not been forewarned how necessary his exhortation was, they might have been slothful and negligent; but when he makes this preface, that he wrote on account of the necessity of their case, it was the same as though he had blown a trumpet to awake them from their torpor.
Because we teach that salvation is obtained through God's mercy alone, the Papists accuse us of this crime. But why should we use words to refute their effrontery, since we everywhere urge repentance, the fear of God, and newness of life, and since they themselves not only corrupt the whole world with the worst examples, but also by their ungodly teaching take away from the world true holiness and the pure worship of God? though I rather think, that those of whom Jude speaks, were like the libertines of our time, as it will be more evident from what follows.
1 Then the rendering would be, "Beloved, when I was applying all care to write to you of the common salvation, I deemed (or found) it necessary to write to you, in order to exhort you to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints." Macknight and some others give another meaning to the first clause, and one more literal: "Beloved, making all haste to write to you, concerning the common salvation, I have thought it necessary," etc. For this haste the Apostle gives a reason in the following verse, "For some men have stealthily crept in," etc.. This is the most obvious meaning of the passage. -- Ed.
2 The meaning of the verb is, to combat for, to strive, fight or contend for. It is a word derived from the games, and expresses a strenuous effort. Our version conveys well its meaning, "earnestly contend for the faith;" or, the words may be rendered, "strenuously combat for the faith;" not with the sword, says Beza, but with sound doctrine and the example of a holy life. -- Ed.
3 The words literally are, "Who have been long ago (or, some time past) forewritten of for (or, as to) this judgment." The reference is to prophecy; such creepers in for the purpose of corrupting the truth had been foretold; and this creeping in for such a purpose was a judgment for yielding up themselves to the delusions of Satan. The word
4 "The grace of God" here is evidently the gospel. They transformed, says Grotius, the gospel to a libidinous doctrine. -- Ed.
5 Griesbach excludes