Jude 4 - "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
Puritan Thomas Manton in his excellent commentary on Jude discusses from this verse “ungodly men”, and how men show their ungodliness.
In the section below, his premise is God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and then ways we can be ungodly regarding this.
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From Thomas Manton:
Secondly, God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and so we are guilty of ungodliness:—
1. If we do not often think of him.
If we did not want [lack] hearts, we cannot want [lack] objects to put us in mind of God. οὐ μακρὰν, ‘he is not far from every one of us,’ Acts xvii. 27. But though God be not far from us, yet we are far from God. He that is everywhere is seldom found in our hearts. We are not so near to ourselves as God is near to us.
Who can keep his breath in his body for a minute if God were not there? He is within us and round about us in the effects of his power and goodness, but we are at too great a distance from him in our mind and affections.
How many trifles occupy our minds! But the Lord can seldom find any room there: ‘God is not in all their thoughts,’ Ps. x. 4.
Yea, when thoughts of God rush into our minds, they are like unwelcome guests— we wish to be rid of them. Wicked men abhor their own thoughts of God, because the more they think of God the more they tremble, as the devils do. Therefore the apostle says, ‘They like not to retain God in their knowledge.’ Rom. i.
This is far from the temper of God’s children. David says, Ps. civ. 34, ‘My meditation of him shall be sweet.’ It is the spiritual feast and entertainment of a gracious soul to think of God. None deserves our thoughts more than he, and we cannot put them to better use.
He thought of us before the world was, and still ‘great is the multitude of his thoughts to us-ward.’ Therefore it is vile ingratitude not to think of him again. When we hate a person we cannot endure to look upon him, and the hatred of the mind is showed by the aversation [being averse to] and turning away of the thoughts.
2. If we do not delight in communion with him, we do not honour him as the chiefest good.
Friends love to be often in one another’s company, and certainly ‘it is good to draw nigh to God,’ to preserve an acquaintance between him and us.
He hath appointed his ordinances, the word and prayer, which are as it were a dialogue and interchangeable discourse between God and the creature. In the word he speaks to us, and in prayer we speak unto him. He conveys his mind in the word, and we ask his grace in prayer. In prayer we make the request, and in the word we have God’s answer.
Well, then, when men neglect public or private prayer, or opportunities of hearing, they are guilty of ungodliness. So far they break off communion with God, especially if they neglect prayer, which is a duty to be done at all times—a sweet diversion which the soul enjoys with God in private, a duty which answers to the daily sacrifice.
Therefore the neglect of prayer is made to be a branch of atheism, Ps. xiv. 3, 4. When men are loath to come into God’s presence, out of a love to ease and carnal pleasures, and care not if God and they grow strange, or seldom hear from one another, it is a great evil. Our comfort and peace depends much upon frequent access to God.
So when family worship, when that is neglected, God is not honoured as the chiefest good: the heathens are described to be ‘the families that call not on God’s name,’ Jer. x. 25. In many places from one end of the week to the other there is no prayer and worship in the family, and so the house, which should be a church, is made a stye. Not a swine about their houses but is attended morning and evening, and yet they can find no time for the solemn invocation of the name of God. What are they better than heathens?
May God grant us to always have Him in our thoughts and to desire to and indeed spend time with Him.
Continue to Part 2!