“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you, to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”
– Jude 1:3
This is such a significant phrase. As we think about our lives, as we think about the church, as we think about the common salvation we have in Christ, we have been called in God’s word to contend for the faith. To contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. So we have been given the gospel, passed down to us, through the bible, from generation to generation. I think about my life.
Here I am in the 21st century, and for 20 centuries before me, and really going back before that, even before Christ, there has been faith that has been passed down, from generation to generation, and by God’s grace, it was passed down to me, that I know the gospel of Jesus. I know about his life, his death, his resurrection for my sins. This has been delivered to me, and I have a responsibility to deliver it to those who come after me, all of us do. We have a responsibility to pass this gospel on, and in order to do that, there is contending for the faith that is necessary in that.
Believers are called to cling to God’s Word and to not waver in defending the truth of the gospel.
Jude 1:3 Speaks Against False Gospels
What that means is, what Jude is addressing is false teachers, in the first century, who were spreading false gospels. 20 centuries later, the same thing’s happening. There’s all kinds of false gospels. Counterfeit gospels, false teaching, in the church, spreading in the church, from the church, around the church, and we have a responsible to contend for the faith that has been delivered to us, to make sure that the gospel is being preached in the church, to combat in a very real sense, combat false teaching. To call it out, to say that’s not the gospel. That’s not what God’s word teaches.
Not that we want to be aggressive and combative just for any reason, because people disagree with us on this or that, but on the core elements of the gospel, on the truth of God’s word, absolutely. We want to hold fast to it. We want to make sure it’s being proclaimed, and we want to be clear when it is not. So, even as I am doing some teaching, coming up about counterfeit gospels, I’ve been reminded of how many false gospels are deceiving millions and millions of people, and I’ve just been driven in a fresh way to say, God I want to contend for the faith. I want to speak your gospel clearly, with love, with compassion, with humility, but I want to contend well.
Jude 1:3 Calls Us Not to Compromise
We have been called to do that, especially in a day where there’s all kinds of compromise in the church, on the word, all kinds of temptations to leave God’s truth behind in favor of man’s opinions because that’s more popular. We must contend for the faith. So we pray, God help us. God help us to hold fast to the faith that has been delivered to us. Help us to hold fast to your word. Your truth.
I think about the article I read just yesterday about how many churches are compromising, when it comes to positions on sexuality and other realities in the word because of popular trends around us in the culture. God may it not be so, in me. May it not be so in those who are listening to this. Help us to contend for the faith. Help us to hold fast to your word, to believe it, to trust it, even when it’s not popular.
A Prayer Based on Jude 1:3
God, we praise you for those who’ve done that, for centuries before us, for generations before us, who at great cost to them, held fast to the gospel and passed it on from generation to generation. Please help us to do the same today. Please help us to work against false teaching in the church. Help us to proclaim and promote the gospel and the truth of your word. Those who come after us might know that truth and experience life in it. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.