Contending For The Faith
By Pastor J.D. Link
Jude 1:3 says, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
First, we must understand that this is applicable to the church now, as it was then. Jude is a short epistle written to warn the Believers about false teachers and false doctrine. This is not an uncommon theme in the New Testament. Paul, Peter, John and Jesus Himself all warned of this. We know Jude is addressing Believers, because he calls them “beloved”. He was writing to us who are sanctified by God the Father; preserved in Jesus Christ; and called. Jude blesses them by saying, “Mercy, peace and love be multiplied unto you.” (Jude 1:1-2).
Jude “gave all diligence” to write unto them. Diligence means haste, earnestness, with eagerness. The preacher wants to waste no time, because the Word burns within him. Paul speaks of “redeeming the time, for the days are evil”. The preacher is ever aware that the return of Christ – or our death – is imminent, and that today is the day of salvation; so he “gives all diligence” to study; to write; to preach; to teach the Gospel.
He wanted to write to them of our “common salvation”. Common means shared by all or belonging to all; and salvation means rescue, safety, and deliverance. There is but one salvation, and there is but one way to it. Jesus is the only name given under heaven whereby we must be saved (Act 4:12). He the Way, truth and life (Jn 14:6). There is only one Gospel (1Cor 15:1-4). Paul said if anyone, even an angel, preaches any other Gospel, let him be condemned to Hell (Gal 1:8). This is a most powerful statement. The Gospel must be believed in the heart and confessed with the mouth (Rom 10:8-11). There is no special salvation. The common salvation – that deliverance belonging to all – comes through faith and trust in Christ alone.
“It was needful for me to write unto you and exhort you.” Needful means “I was constrained and distressed, and by necessity I was compelled to write and exhort (call you near, summon, beseech) you.” Jude wanted to write about the “good stuff” of salvation; but because he was pressed in his spirit by seeing the deception and false teaching in the church, he felt compelled to write this word of warning. I believe all preachers face the same thing. It would be nice to always speak of the “good things”; but the preacher is also responsible to warn and correct at times. We are to declare the whole of God’s Word, not just the things everyone likes (Act 20:20). This is being responsible to the call, and being a God-pleaser rather than a man-pleaser (Gal 1:10). The preacher must speak God’s Word. He cannot help it (Jer 20:9, 1Cor 9:16).
“That you should earnestly contend.” This word is used only here in the NT. It means to struggle for. Saints are to be of one mind (the mind of Christ), revealed in God’s Word; and strive together for the faith of the Gospel (Philp 1:27-28). We must be bold in God to speak the truth, though we will suffer contention for it (1Thess 2:2-4). We are not to be contentious, but we are to stand for truth – which will often cause contention. We are to war a good warfare (1Tim 1:18) and fight the good fight of faith (1Tim 6:11-12). We are seeking a crown, and so fight with purpose (1Cor 9:25-26).
This is a spiritual battle. We wrestle not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12-18). Our weapons are spiritual, and mighty through God to pull down demonic strongholds and ways of thinking that are contrary to God’s Word. We must not let false teachings occupy space in our mind; but rather take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2Cor 10:3-5). The mind is the battlefield, where this war rages. We will win or lose between our ears. We must be on guard against the tricks of Satan.
At the end of Paul’s life, he wrote that he had fought a good fight, and a crown from the Lord now awaits him (2Tim 4:7-8). Contending for the faith is a good fight with eternal rewards. We must not grow weary in well doing. Keep standing for truth. Truth is not always popular, but it is truth nevertheless.
“For the faith, once delivered to the saints.” Notice again, it is “the faith”, not a faith or some faith. It was “once” delivered by Jesus, communicated to us by the Apostles through the NT. There is no new thing, no new Gospel. The Gospel once delivered is the Gospel today. Also notice, it was “delivered”; not invented by man, but given by God. Gal 1:11-12 says, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (se also 1Cor 11:23, Eph 3:3-8). The Gospel was not conceived by the mind of man, but by Almighty God. Men were merely the instruments used by Him to communicate it.
Earnestly contend for the faith. Speak the Word. Be salt and light. Don’t compromise the truth, but stand firmly on it in love. Take great care of your spiritual life, for if we get that wrong, nothing else matters. It is the thing that is eternal. Selah.