And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
— Jude 1:23
I don’t know about you, but I believe the word “hate” is a very strong word that should only rarely be used. When our children were young, Denise and I forbade our children to use this word. Even if we strongly disliked something or someone, we never allowed ourselves or our children to use the word “hate” to describe this strong dislike. It was simply too strong an expression to describe how we or our children felt about something or someone.
But there is a proper time and place for hate! Jude 1:23 gives us an example of one of those times. It says, “…Hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
The word “hate” in this verse is taken from the word miseo. It is one of the strongest, fiercest words in the Greek New Testament. In fact, it is so strong that it actually carries the idea of a hatred that can turn violent. So when Jude tells us to “hate” the garments spotted by the flesh, he isn’t talking about a mere dislike of something; he is talking about a radical, violent aversion to something.
The Greek word miseo is the same Greek word that is used in Revelation 2:6 and 2:15, when Jesus declares that He “hates” the deeds of the Nicolaitans. Because the word miseo is used in these verses, the Bible categorically tells us that Jesus had no taste for what the Nicolaitans were doing. In Jesus’ opinion, their deeds and teachings were repugnant, disgusting, revolting, repulsive, and nauseating. The Lord Jesus possessed a deep-seated aversion to their activities and found their deeds abhorrent.
Now Jude uses this Greek word miseo in Jude 1:23 when he writes, “…Hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” There is no doubt about it. Jude is letting us know that we should have a strong aversion to sin — so strong that it allows absolutely no tolerance for sin in our lives or in the lives of other believers.
This part of verse 23 could be taken to mean:
“When it comes to sin in your life or in the lives of others, you should have no stomach for it at all. In fact, your feelings about sin should be so strong that you possess an aversion and repugnance to it…”
Our aversion to sin should be so fierce that Jude says we are to hate “…even the garment spotted by the flesh.” The word “garment” (from the Greek word chiton) was used in ancient times to describe a person’s undergarment. You see, the outer robe may be changed to look fresh and clean while the undergarment remains just as dirty as ever! A new, clean robe may hide the truth that a person’s undergarment is filthy — but this disguise doesn’t alter the fact that he has a deeper problem to deal with!
Sin isn’t just a superficial, outward problem. If we allow wrong attitudes and behavior to continue in our lives, this moral decay will eventually permeate deeper than the surface and penetrate even to the deepest, most hidden parts of our souls. The defilement may begin as an outward problem, the same way loose dirt can soil a man’s outer garment. But if this filth is never dealt with, it will begin to work its way through every area of a person’s life until he is completely defiled.
When this happens, Jude says the person has been “spotted by the flesh.” The word “spotted” is the word spilos. It means to stain, defile, or contaminate. This person could have dealt with his moral problems before the problem got so serious. However, through neglect he allowed that filth to contaminate his entire life.
Thus, the second part of this verse conveys this idea:
“…And don’t just deal with the superficial issues of sin by cloaking yourself with a garment that hides the true picture. Be honest with yourself about your true situations. And be hard on sin, refusing to allow it access to the deeper parts of your life. If sin sinks that deep below the surface, it won’t be long until you are completely contaminated and affected by it.”
It is imperative that we understand the consequences of sin and learn to hate even the smallest hint of its presence in our lives. If we don’t deal with sin while it’s still a small, superficial problem, it will become a much deeper problem — and much more difficult to deal with!
So before you do anything else today, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to those areas of your life that need attention and correction. He will lovingly point them out to you and then show you how to change!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me see sin the way You see it so that I have no stomach for it in my life. I know that as long as I view sin only as a mistake or a weakness, I will be tempted to tolerate it. So I ask You to teach me to see sin exactly the way You do so my desire for change will grow. Holy Spirit, help me see the truth and know the proper steps I need to take in order to make those needed changes.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I understand the consequences of sin and that I hate even the smallest hint of sin in my life. I will deal with sin while it is still a small, superficial problem so that it never becomes a much deeper problem. The Holy Spirit opens my eyes to those areas of my life that need attention and correction. He lovingly shows me what needs to change, and I willingly obey Him as He shows me how to change.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Have you had any ongoing battles with particular sins? Make a list of the areas you’ve been struggling with, and be honest with yourself.
2. Have you asked the Lord to help you overcome and change in these areas of your life?
3. What can you begin to do differently that will help you walk free of these sins once and for all?