Characteristics of Man in Sin

 

"Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities" (Jude 8; KJV).

"Yet in like manner"(ASV) identifies the conduct of these to whom the writer alludes with those of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain. “In their dreamings" (ASV) they (1) defile the flesh, (2) set at naught dominion, and (3) rail at dignities.  They lived in a dreamy world of impurity; they defiled the flesh by sins unspeakably vile (cf. Romans 1:18-32); they exhibited contempt for all authority, whether civil or divine; and they did not hesitate to speak evil of men though they occupied high places (Guy N. Woods).

 

They are "filthy dreamers"

"All sinners are spiritually asleep; their carnal activity is as it were a dream (1 Thessalonians 5:6-7)" (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown). "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6). Indeed, those who are caught up in sin are spiritually asleep and are in a dream world that is out of touch with reality. The truth of the gospel is that which causes man to wake up, and see his condition before God.  Hence, Paul urgently warns men to wake up and come out of sin. "Awake to righteousness, and sin not..." (1 Corinthians 15:34a). "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" (Ephesians 5:14).

"The Greek word (£vuTTvia~w) means to dream; and is applied to these persons as holding doctrines and opinions which sustained the same relation to truth which dreams do to good sense.  Their doctrines were the fruits of mere imagination, foolish vagaries and fancies" (Albert Barnes).  In­ deed, the doctrines of men are the fruit of their imaginations, and are not of God.  Therefore, they are false.  Jesus said of the scribes and Pharisees: "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).  To Titus, Paul spoke of: "commandments of men, that turn from the truth" (Titus 1:14).  Paul warned Timothy: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itch­ing ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

 

They "defile the flesh"

Those in sin: "Pollute themselves; give indulgence to corrupt passions and appe­tites" (A. Barnes).  They "walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness" (2 Peter 2:10).  The sinful dreamer ceases to reason correctly and to have the proper estimation of his soul's worth and the seriousness of matters eternal.  The Scripture warns concerning children of God who go

back into the ways of the flesh: "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire" (2 Peter 2:20-22).

 

They "despise dominion"

To despise dominion means that they "reject authority" (NKJV). They "set at nought dominion" (ASV).  In a similar pas­sage, Peter says of these: "But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.  Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (2 Peter 2:10). Disregard for civil authority, or­dained by God (Romans 13:1-7), indicates disrespect for God, which also impacts the home and the church.

It affects the husband-wife relationship when the wife does not respect her husband and submit to him, and also when the husband does not love his wife as Christ loved the church, because of his failure to submit to Christ (cf. Ephesians 5:23-25).  Furthermore, a host of problems are created when children fail to respect parental authority, as the Lord instructs (cf. Ephesians 6:1-3).  Moreover, many problems arise in the local church when members despise the authority which God has invested in the eldership (cf. Hebrews 13:17).  If people had a proper respect for the authority of elders such false doctrines as the re-evaluation and reaffirmation of elders would never have been dreamed up.

However, the root problem of those who "despise dominion" is that they lack respect for the authority of God and His word.  Respect for God is the foundation of all proper forms of respect.  The lack of it leads to the doctrines of men and man­ made religious organizations, rather than adhering to God's will. Recently, a man who has been a member of the Lord's church for many years informed me that he was leaving the church, and that he said he was going to doing things "my way."  This sad statement was to let me know that regardless of what the Bible says, he would do what he wanted!

 

They "speak evil of dignities"

Obviously those who disdain authority would have no problem with exhibiting contempt for those in authority, either civil or divine.  This conveys disrespect for Jesus Christ Himself, Who has all authority "in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18, ASV).  The rejection of authority gives them license, in their mind, to indulge in all kinds of fleshly appetites without restraint.  Yet, one day they will have to stand before the All-Authoritative Son of God and give account (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10).  The solution to this problem is: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).  Danny Douglas, August 17, 2008 [The Saluter; Dresden church of Christ, Dresden TN]