Sunday, August 13, 2023


 There are things worse than death to contend with. Jesus said as much. It’s not those who kill the body that should concern us, but the One that can destroy both body and soul. Thankfully there’s just the One that can do it, but Biblically speaking, it can be done, and He reserves the right to do it. It is within His wheelhouse, skill set, and ability to carry out. There’s no point in threatening something if you have neither the means nor the willingness to do it. God doesn’t make empty threats or say the impossible only to be called out on it. If Jesus said He can destroy both the body and the soul, you can be sure that it is not an exaggeration. It’s not a fun topic to begin discussing and dissecting, but one which is paramount if we hope to understand certain Biblical truths that may cut a bit too deep for some.

Jude 12-13, “These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.”

If we could say one thing about Jude with absolute certainty, it’s that he could never be a politician. There’s none of the smooth oily, slimy, slippery double-tongued speak we’ve become accustomed to from those in the public eye, at least those that can string a sentence together, don’t have dementia, haven’t stroked out, or aren’t so old and feeble that they carry a feeding tube around just for funsies. If you’ve ever wondered why people put themselves through the ordeal of running for office, save for a slim minority compelled by patriotism, it’s because the getting’s good. The average Joe has no clue how good the getting is. Gravy trains with biscuit wheels don’t apply just to prosperity preachers.

Whenever I consider Paul’s instruction to be angry yet not sin, I picture Jude fiercely scratching away at a piece of parchment with a quill as he described those who would attempt to harm the sheep of God’s pasture. You can’t be neutral, indifferent, or uncaring when it comes to those who attempt to deceive the household of faith or confuse those sincerely desirous of a relationship with Christ. Confusion breeds uncertainty; uncertainty robs men of peace. Mature believers ought to feel protective toward baby Christians, but the enemy succeeded in curbing this innate desire by doing away with discipleship in the church.

When discipleship is no longer practiced in a church body, the relational interconnectedness, the bond, and the unity begin to slip until they become nonexistent. Everyone’s just another face, a ship in the night, so generic and uninspired that it’s become like every other neighborhood in America where you know the layout, how it will look, and what you will find even before you get there.

It’s why someone can go from church to church throughout the nation, and if they check a few boxes like numerical size, the size of the worship team, and the one man show atmosphere, they’ll say they feel just like home. You can walk into any Walmart and know where everything is because the layout is the same. You can walk into any mega-church and know what to expect because the branding is the same. It’s like all these guys bought a Popeye franchise, and although some locations look cleaner and are safer than others, you still get the same gristly chicken.

There’s a reason the practice of discipleship has been suppressed in the modern-day church, and it’s nefarious. As far as the enemy is concerned, the less interaction mature believers have with new ones, the better. You don’t form attachments that way; you don’t feel protective; you just make the trek to a stadium, see Joel smile for thirty minutes, hear how your best days are right in front of you, and drive back home to contemplate where it all went wrong, and why your Sunday isn’t feeling much like a Friday.

 I don’t care how you feel about animals in general; if you see someone trying to club a baby seal, you’re going to try to stop them. In the least, you’ll say something, hoping to get the attention of others, and thereby ruin the individual’s plans to beat a baby seal to death.

This is why whenever I hear of supposed spiritual leaders, pastors, and deacons, and bishops, oh my, insisting that everyone else is in the wrong for opposing the murder of the unborn, I can’t help but be reminded of Jude’s proclamation that these are twice dead, and pulled up by the root.

When we strip away denominational dogma, men’s interpretations, and presuppositions, what being twice dead means is simple enough, straightforward even. It’s when we place denominational spectacles on the bridge of our noses, read the text, and refuse to believe our lying eyes as far as what the passage obviously means that things become murky and confusing.

What is the overarching assumption about a twice-baked potato? That it’s baked twice! Well done. Give yourself a gold star.

What is the overarching assumption about being twice dead? Well, you see, that can’t be. Why not? Twice dead means precisely what it implies. That the individuals in question were dead, then alive, then died again, then Jude goes a step further and tells us that they were pulled up from the roots, meaning there is no possibility for them to return to life. When you think about it, it’s a heavy verse, one of a handful within the Bible that spells out the finality of rebellion and deception.

There’s no rehabilitating someone who is twice dead. There’s no bringing back to life someone who’s been pulled up from the roots. They are beyond the point of resuscitation, and no amount of heart massaging, mouth-to-mouth, or electric shock will bring that particular cadaver back to life.

Some people are knowingly racing toward destruction, fully aware of what the Bible says, but their conscience is seared, they are twice dead and pulled up from the root, and their only purpose in life is to deceive whoever they can, whenever they can, wherever they can, by whatever means they can.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

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