Jude 17-19 parallels verse four which also described the apostates.
But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 How that they told you there should be mockers [called â€śscoffers in IIÂ Peter 3:3, the only other place it is used.] in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19 These be they who separate themselves [cause division], sensual, having not the Spirit.
Remembering the words spoken by the apostles (also described as the apostlesâ€™ doctrine in Acts 2:42) is our only protection from the threatened apostasy.Â Remembering implies that we heard them.Â We just need to cling to them.
Jude tells the believers in verses 17 & 18 that what he is saying is not new; that, in fact, the apostles prophesied this would happen.Â He calls them to remember that they had been forewarned, so they should not stumble in their faith.Â Peter was one who warned them in IIÂ Peter 2:1-3:10, and Paul warned them in Acts 20:29 and 30.Â He also warned Timothy in IÂ Timothy 4:1-2 and IIÂ Timothy 3:1-8; 4:3-4.
Paul, in the synagogue at Antioch, Pisidia, explains in Acts 13:40-41:Â â€śBeware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.â€ťÂ (As spoken of in Habakkuk 1:5.)
Jude focuses on the core character of these mockers, noting that they â€śseparate themselvesâ€ť and are â€śsensual.â€ťÂ â€śSensualâ€ť is the adjective form of the Greek noun for soul, psuchÄ“.Â These kinds of people are driven by their â€śnatural manâ€ť and cannot receive â€śthe things of the Spirit of Godâ€ť (IÂ Corinthians 2:14).Â It doesnâ€™t say they were natural men, but they acted like natural men.Â They were â€śsoulish.â€ťÂ James is even more intense calling them â€śearthly, sensual, devilishâ€ť (James 3:15).
Furthermore, they consciously separate themselves from the godly.Â â€śSeparateâ€ť is the Greek, apodiorizĹŤ, used only here in the New Testament.Â It means to separate off by placing boundaries or to instigate divisions between people.Â John speaks of this saying, â€śThey went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of usâ€ť (IÂ John 2:19).Â Jesus simply notes that â€śevery one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reprovedâ€ť (John 3:20).
The last phrase is quite absolute.Â These people do not have the Spirit, pneuma. Â This must be usage 5 of pneuma meaning manifestations of the spirit.Â Jude has already established they were part of the church but had departed from the faith.Â They still had spirit; they just didnâ€™t use it.Â Remember, they were sensual or â€śsoulish,â€ť they walked as natural men not operating the spirit.Â They walked by the flesh not by the spirit.Â Walking by the flesh is walking in oneâ€™s own lusts and walking by the spirit is walking with the manifestations of the spirit.Â When we walk by our senses instead of by the spirit we are headed for trouble.