â€œAnd of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.â€ (Jude 1:22-23)
In the context of this passage, Jude has been exhorting us to â€œbuild upâ€ ourselves in the â€œmost holy faith,â€ keeping ourselves in Godâ€™s love and looking forward to â€œthe mercy of our Lord Jesus Christâ€ (Jude 1:20-21). The instructions that follow may apply to us and our fellow believers. If so, then these categories would fit the â€œvessels of . . . dishonorâ€ that Paul alludes to that are in a â€œgreat houseâ€ (2 Timothy 2:20).
â€œOf some have compassion, making a difference.â€ Some of those in our circle of influence need our â€œpity.â€ The word choices imply a desperate need that we must attempt to remedy. Many of the Lordâ€™s healing miracles were done because of compassion. We are encouraged to â€œmake a differenceâ€ in the lives of those who urgently need the healing of the Word of God.
â€œOthers save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.â€ These are in jeopardy of eternal judgment. They are truly needy but are more dangerous to deal with. Even the imagery used by Jude is fearful. These are so â€œspottedâ€ (dirty, filthy) by their fleshly deeds that we must â€œbeware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastnessâ€ (2 Peter 3:17).
Judeâ€™s admonition is also applicable to Paulâ€™s concern for the unsaved Jews that he â€œmight save some of themâ€ (Romans 11:14), or his willingness to become as â€œthem that are without lawâ€ so that he might â€œgain themâ€ and to become â€œas weak, that I might gain the weakâ€ (1 Corinthians 9:21-22). The instructions are valid for either perspective.
Paul echoes Judeâ€™s concern when he says, â€œI am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save someâ€ (1 Corinthians 9:22). HMM III