Contend for The Faith
Jude, the brother of our Lord, only wrote one simple yet very profound letter to some of the saints living in the 1stcentury. It cannot be known for certain which Christians Jude specifically sent this letter to, but we do know its timeless message suits us just as well today as it did for them. Jude begins with the general salutation as is customary for most of the epistles (cf. Rom. 1:1-7; 1 Cor. 1:1-9; 2 Cor. 1:1-2; Gal. 1:1-5; Eph. 1:1-2; Phil. 1:1-2 etc.) before telling us the main message of the letter. Jude 1:3 reads:
“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”
Jude makes it very clear to his readers: Fight for the faith! This may seem rather strange. Why would Jude be encouraging Christians to fight for something they should already have? Why would Jude state what should already be obvious to them? During the 1stcentury and the early years of Christianity, the NT authors repeatedly warned of occasions where opposers of Christianity, enemies of God, and false teachers seeking their own glory would give their best effort to draw the saints away from God and from His holy pattern. They would be very convincing and unfortunately many were persuaded by them (cf. Gal. 1:6-9). If you took a fairly quick drive around the Zanesville area, you would also see the fruition of these things. It began shortly after the church was established and many have fallen prey to the predators that strongly oppose Jesus and His standards.
As a result, the encouragement and the message all Christians everywhere, both then and now, need to adhere to is the reality that we need to fight for the faith which was handed down once for the saints. Notice how Jude words that exhortation. He says that it was ONCE handed down. This is essential because Jude is claiming that what Jesus established, what He taught and what He proclaimed was distinctive, unparalleled and unrivaled. Jesus did not die twice, He died ONCE! What Jesus said was written down and it is as authoritative today as it was back then. The Faith Jude speaks of is not our belief in a God we cannot see. We certainly must grow in this faith, but the faith Jude speaks of is the set of standards and beliefs Jesus Christ established. We must fight for that because it is constantly being attacked and diminished by our culture, our leaders, our friends and our enemies.
It has been said it is better to believe a lie that’s been told a thousand times that the truth which someone has never heard before. Look no further than the message which has been spread around for hundreds of years that Jesus was born on December 25th. The bible affirms no such thing and historical evidence points well away from December. There are many more illustrations that solidify this point, but the idea is clear: Unstable and untaught people have twisted the faith to their own destruction. 2000 years later and much has not change at all. Yet, Jesus continuously calls us to stand up for the truth and for His principles which He expects us to keep in uniform and humble subjection until the day we die or the day He returns.
So, how to we keep fighting for this faith? The principle here is to combine small changes with humble service. We should ensure we are staying on top of our bible studies and ensuring we know what God has outline for our lives. This will equip us to better speak with our neighbors and as such we can humbly correct the things, they have wrong and we can point them in the right direction. The priority as Jude says is to have mercy on some and save others from Hell. We need to save as much souls as possible! Contending for the faith will do this! Finally, we should always hold God’s standards high by living them out in our own lives. May we endeavor to earnestly contend for the faith till we die or till He returns!