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A SLAVE OF JESUS CHRIST,
BROTHER OF JAMES,
To those who are called,
May mercy and peace and love be richly allotted
Dear brothers, while I was with all earnestness endeavoring to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write at once to you and to exhort you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to God's devoted ones. For there crept in secretly certain men who were long ago marked out as on their way to this condemnation, irreverent men, turning the favor of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. 5. Now I desire to remind you, though you know everything once for all, how the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterwards destroyed the unbelievers. And angels who did not keep their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he has kept in perpetual bonds under darkness to the judgment of the great day. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, having in the same way with these given themselves over to fornication, and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
Yet in the same way these also in their dreamings defile the flesh, set aside dominion, and revile dignities. But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he was disputing about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring against him a charge characterized by reviling, but said :
66 The Lord rebuke thee." But these revile whatever they do not know. And what they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, in these they are destroyed.
Woe to them !
For they went in the way of Cain and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
These are they who are hidden rocks in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; wild waves of the sea foaming out their own shame; wandering stars for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
And to these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, and said :
“Look, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the irreverent of all their irreverent deeds which they have irreverently done, and of all the hard things which irreverent sinners have spoken against him."
These are murmurers, faulters of Providence following their desires (and their mouth speaks great swelling words), admiring persons for the sake of advantage.
dear brothers, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they used to tell you :
“ In the last time there will be mockers, following their own irreverent desires."
These are they who make separations, sensuous, because they have not the Spirit.
But you, dear brothers, building up yourselves on