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 3)

Although we are called to be humble peacemakers, no Christian should be caught saying, “You have your opinion, and I have mine.” It seems like the right thing to say, considering our present-day society seemingly built around these words. But it’s a sad thing when a follower of Christ fails to share the Good News, unknowingly in the name of relativism.

You could picture judgement day. (It might not be an accurate description, but it will suffice.) God declares that your co-worker or best friend rejected Jesus’ sacrificial death, and must be separated from the Creator for eternity. However, before dismissing him, God turns to you and says, “You were My child. Why did you not tell this person about My goodness?” What would you say?

“He was entitled to his own opinion.”

Look, I’m not against religious freedom. I think it’s a good thing; you can’t force someone to be a genuine Christian with a saving faith. But we just have to remember the worth of Jesus and preach the remission of sins.

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)

I propose that the single verse of Jude 3 has so much more to teach than meets the eye. Let’s look at it.

. . . the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. The Bible clearly teaches that what the Apostle’s gave us in the Bible is the final teaching, faith, and doctrine for mankind before the last day. So often, religious groups contradict this. Mohammed gives us the Koran, claiming this is the final truth. Joseph Smith gives us the Book of Mormon, saying, “Yes, just Jesus… plus this!” The Jehovah’s Witnesses do a similar feat. The Bible is always modified or done away with completely to agree with the new teaching. In contrast, the writer of Hebrews declares that God used prophets “long ago, at many times and in many ways… but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2) And the Son taught His apostles to spread His message, which comes to us in the Bible.

And so the Bible, God’s Word, stands firm, passing through the fire of time’s testing unscathed. What, then, does Jude want us to do with this Christian faith? He is “urging you to defend the truth of the Good News” (NLT).

We would not be the first ones; no, we stand at the forefront of a history of saints dying for the truth. Under Queen Mary, the Catholic ruler of England from 1555 to 1558, 288 Protestant reformers burned at the stake.¹ These men died for defending the core truth of the Gospel. Sometimes, we are tempted to completely forget about our Church tradition, wanting to “do away with religion.” In doing so, I fear we may take for granted the sacrifice made by many so the Gospel could go forth. Among these sacrifices is that of William Tyndale, who gave his life so the Bible could be translated into English.

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org

How exactly do we “contend for the faith?” Verses 20 and 21 tell us we should prepare throughout our life. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

And when push comes to shove, and it comes time to act, Jude 22-23 gives us the battle plan. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Understand the need to fight for the only true message of salvation. Look back at the men and women who have given their lives for that truth. Build yourselves up in the faith; keep yourselves in the love of God. Have mercy on the doubters; snatch sinners from the fire. And thank God for the amazing Truth we have been given.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.

¹Desiring God (2013). Contend for the Faith. Retrieved from http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/contend-for-the-faith
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