Contend for the Faith
“Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
The warnings and exhortations Jude gives to us regarding false teachers and their appointed end (vv. 5–16) are pertinent in our day as the assaults of Satan against the church continue. Unless we are well-grounded in our faith, we will not be able to recognize false doctrine and help rescue those who have fallen prey to it (vv. 17–23).
Jude recognizes all children of God are kept by His power and will not finally fall away (vv. 1–2; 24–25). But he does not let this precious truth lead us into passivity. He reminds us that believers must contend for the faith once delivered to the saints because of the goats who set themselves up as teachers of the sheep (vv. 3–4). Yet this call to fight actively for the faith is not limited to Jude alone; it is one theme uniting all of the General Epistles.
Each battle to defend the apostolic faith will be slightly different.
Sometimes we will have to confront those who deny specific doctrines, like Peter and John did when they confronted those who denied the second coming (2 Peter 3:8–10) and the incarnation (1 John 4:1–6). In other instances we will have to reassert the active nature of faith, like James did when he called us to love God in word and deed (2:14–26). Resisting the influence of false teachers may be more indirect at times, such as when we withhold support from those who pervert doctrine (2 John) or show hospitality to ministers (3 John). Nevertheless, we must always defend the Gospel with gentleness and respect, even if it brings suffering (1 Peter 3:15–16).
As we contend for the faith, let us always love those who disagree with us on negotiable matters (James 1:19–21; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 4:7–8). However, let us always love others in the truth and contend for the faith delivered to the saints as we serve the living God.
Take some time today to read through the epistle of Jude once more. Ask the Lord to help you recall His apostles’ teaching as you go about your daily business, and pray you will not fall prey to false doctrine. Ask Him to help you love other believers more deeply and to motivate you to give generously of your time, effort, and resources for the propagation of the true Gospel.
Passages for Further Study:
James 1:22, 2 Peter 3:17, 1 John 5:21, 3 John 8, Jude 20–21