Contend for the Faith
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 the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. - Jude 3, 4
I have been thinking about the short book of Jude as we enter into June. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that Jude and June are only one letter apart, something I hadn’t contemplated until I just typed this out. This passage came to mind as I considered the amount of messaging we will hear regarding “Pride” month. During the month of June I want to look at Jude and the truth he gives as we seek to stand for the truth.
Jude wanted to write a letter about the awe and wonder of our common salvation. The word “common” here was not meant to signify that our salvation is commonplace or run of the mill. Our salvation is far from common. The idea here is that our salvation is shared by, or common to, all who place their faith in Christ. The believers who originally read Jude’s letter were saved the same way we are saved today— through faith in Jesus Christ! However, while Jude could have written about the wonder and truth of our salvation, the Holy Spirit lead him to write about contending for that faith. What does it mean to contend? What is the faith we are to contend for?
To contend means to strive or to wrestle with great effort. The fact that we have to contend shows that we have an opponent. The verb is in the present infinitive tense which shows us that our struggle is continuous. Our struggle to stand for the truth and wrestle against our opposition will be ongoing. The intensity of that opposition will go up and down, but it will never go away this side of heaven. While that can seem overwhelming at times, it is helpful to have a realistic view of the spiritual battle we are a part of. Also, it is a reminder that our strength to fight this battle does not come from ourselves; we have a Savior who listens to our prayers and provides help in the time of need.
Jude tells us that we are to contend for the faith. What is this faith? It is the body of truth that serves as our foundation. It is the faith that the apostles taught (Acts 2:42). It is the Word of God that we can rightly understand through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We received Jesus by faith, and we are rooted and grow in Christ which results in us being established in the faith (Colossians 2:6, 7).
We are to contend for the truth of God’s Word; the message of the gospel has not changed. It was delivered once and for all to the saints.
Why do we have to contend for the faith? Why do we have to wrestle against those who oppose the truth of God’s word? Because, as Jude tells us, there are ungodly teachers who are distorting the grace of God and actually denying Jesus Christ. There will be many who try and twist the words of Scripture to allow them to live for their sensual desires. Sadly, there are many churches today who are perverting the truth of God’s Word, going against the clear teaching of God’s Word. As Paul wrote in Titus: 1:16, “They profess to know God. But they deny Him by their works.” We must contend for the faith. We must stand lovingly for the truth.