22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Among believers and unbelievers alike there are found two general classes of people who walk contrary to principles found in scripture–those who do so ignorantly, not understanding the doctrine aright, and those who do so willfully and intentionally by providing some rational justification for their actions. And here Jude provides two separate prescriptions for such classes: For the first class, enduring (non-judgmental) compassion and love is what may invite such persons to consider their lives in light of the wisdom of such principles, doing so “in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.” For the second class, the expression “save with fear” suggests that such believers or unbelievers must be communicated with uncompromising truth. (Though much in contemporary American society resists such communication, this ought not be the case.) For there are a great many people whose lives will be spent in utter misery owing to our failure and fear to speak plainly both pleasant and unpleasant truth. Such communication will often prove to be what “pull[s] them out of the fire,” for though they reject and ignore such words, such a communication will forever be lodged within their conscience, and with this very awareness they will be reminded one day. Still further, such a communication ought be done so with deep and abiding love for the person, yet not for the “garment spotted by the flesh.” For one’s garment whether clean or unclean, typifies the righteousness and unrighteousness of one’s works throughout scripture, and in the case of both unbelievers and (faltering believers) we can only stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ:
[Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.] KJV Revelation 19:7-8