â€œBut these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.â€ (Jude 1:10)
Both Jude and Peter use essentially the same terms when they speak of people who are like â€œbrute beastsâ€ (2 Peter 2:12). Both use the qualifying adjective â€œnaturalâ€ to draw a precise distinction between those who are only alive physically and those who have been given eternal life by the Spirit of God.
Prior to being twice-born, all men are â€œbyÂ natureÂ the children of wrathâ€ (Ephesians 2:3) and have not yet been given â€œtheÂ divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lustâ€ (2 Peter 1:4). Such â€œnaturalâ€ people are â€œsensual, having not the Spiritâ€ (Jude 1:19) and therefore cannot receive â€œthe things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discernedâ€ (1 Corinthians 2:14).
These strong pictures are not incidental for understanding the challenge to â€œearnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saintsâ€ (Jude 1:3). Jude and Peter are describing the intransigence of those who resist the truthâ€”especially of the â€œtaresâ€ who have been planted by the Enemy among the â€œwheatâ€ in the Lordâ€™s field (Matthew 13:24-30).
The Greek term translated â€œbruteâ€ by both Jude and Peter is a combination of the negative particleÂ aÂ and the basic word for intelligent communication,Â logos. We must therefore expect the resistance to take form â€œwithout reason.â€ The unsaved cannot understand Godâ€™s message without the transformation of the new birth. Their efforts to undermine â€œthe faithâ€ will always be based on human (natural) reasoning.
Contending for the faith will always be a â€œlabour,Â strivingÂ according to his workingâ€ (Colossians 1:29). May God grant us a â€œgood fight,â€ having â€œkept the faithâ€ (2 Timothy 4:7). HMM III