In last week’s article we discussed Jude’s statement that we are to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered” (Jude 3). We pointed out that this contending for the faith must be done earnestly, and that we must use the weapons at our disposal (Eph. 6:13-18). Before leaving this subject we want to mention a few other things.
This call to “contend earnestly for the faith” is not a license to engage in contentions and outbursts of wrath. Paul wrote to the churches of Asia telling them, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21 NKJV).
He also had something important to say to the strife-torn church at Corinth: “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (I Cor. 3:1-3 NKJV).
It is a call to vigorously contend with all the weapons at our disposal—first and foremost with the Word of God, applied first to ourselves and then to others. But also with the Christ-like qualities that are “mighty through God” to win people over to obedience to Christ. Just being “continuous” is not contending for the faith once delivered. It is the fact that many are not obeying the instructions of Christ our Lord, but perverting His teaching, or have set themselves up as their own authority.
That makes it even more necessary that we heed Jude’s instruction to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints.” “The faith once delivered” is the “one faith” of Ephesians 4:5. It has been delivered to the saints once for all time. All are to “speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11). We are forbidden to tamper with it in any way (Gal. 1:6-10; Rev. 22:18-19). Only when we follow these divine injunctions will we ever become “one as Thou Father art in Me and I in You” as prayed by our Saviour in sight of the cross (John 17:20-21).
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). Whose side of the battle are you on? Have you submitted to Him whom God has made both Lord and Christ? Are you continuing in the apostles’ doctrine, including this instruction in Jude 3-4?