“And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude 22-23).
Sinners come in all shapes, personalities, and circumstances. Jude identifies two basic types—those who are lost and do not want to be, and those who are lost and are enjoying the passing pleasures of sin.
Of note in Jude’s inspired counsel is the fact that he does not in any way endorse the idea that effort should not be made to save both types of sinners. Jude’s counsel is not: focus all your efforts on this type and completely ignore the other because it is impossible to save them.
Effort is to be made to save both types of sinners. How one goes about expending that effort may vary depending upon which type is being approached.
The first type may only need a compassionate, plain-spoken teaching of the truth so that they learn the way of the Lord more accurately—like those Peter taught in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10) or like those Paul taught in Ephesus (Acts 17:1-7).
The other type is going to require a different strategy. Their hearts will not be won in a single battle with their sin, nor will Satan surrender them quickly and easily. Because their lives have been defiled by sensual living, they will require prayer, persistence, and focused instruction on righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come—like Felix (Acts 24:25).
Regardless of the type of sinner involved, God still offers them His mercy and eternal life through His Son. Therefore, every effort to rescue the perishing is imperative.