When the letter from Jude is written these warnings were reality. The danger was no longer afar off, it was very much in the here and now. Jude changed what he wanted to originally write about and seized the moment to encourage the readers to “contend earnestly for the faith” because there were some who have “crept in unnoticed”. Isn’t that a scary situation?
If the danger of falling away was already in the here and now in the first century then it is certainly exists today in the twenty first century. This danger is real and is at our door in our own community. It would be wise for us to lift up our heads and look around us and apply what is written in the book of Jude. It is relevant and easily applied to us today. Take a few moments with me and notice a few things from verses 3 and 4.
Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
There is a great need for us to “contend” earnestly for the faith because there are some who will deny the all-sufficiency of the word of God. Jude says that the the “faith” was one time, for all time delivered down to the saints. The faith delivered is the body of doctrine given down to the church. It is revelation that was not to be repeated but recorded once and for all. It is good for once and for all. There is not any new revelation or new “faith” that is handed down.
Today, there are some who may say that the Word of God needs to adapt with culture but I say that culture needs to adapt to the Word of God. When Jude says once for all he means one time for all time.
There is also a great need for us to “contend” earnestly for the faith because there are some who will distort the doctrine of grace. Jude says there are some that are turning the grace of God into licentiousness or lewdness. This means they were thinking that the grace of God is so great that they could do anything they wanted even in a sexual lewd way.
Today, there are some who pervert the grace of God in this way claiming that God just wants them to be happy and that Jesus would want us to love everyone. They justify their lifestyle and claim that God is too loving and His grace is too wonderful, to condemn us when we are being so sincere. This is not just applied to sexuality but to many doctrinal errors, such as the necessity of baptism, the use of a musical instrument in worship and the role of women in the assembly.
There is also a great need for us to contend earnestly for the faith because there are some who will deny God’s authority. Jude has to deal head on with those that “deny the Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ? It’s obvious in the text that the emphasis is on the word “Lord”. These people were denying the authority that belonged to God and to Jesus.
Today, there are some we are dealing with like this too. They have a lack of respect for the Word of God and will twist and turn scriptures around to do whatever they have already set in heir minds to do. But those who have committed to “contend earnestly” will recognize the authority of the Scriptures, Christ and God.
Now, let’s quickly ask ourselves this question to help us apply this teaching from the text: How can we content earnestly for the faith”?
- We have to decide to be earnest in our study of the Scriptures. This means we have to diligently study as if it is the most important information we will ever ingest because that is exactly what it is.
- We must be willing to use the whole armor of God to fight off those that will creep in. We need to be girded with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, shod our feet with the gospel of peace, holding our shield of faith, with our helmet of salvation on and our sword of the Spirit in hand while we watch and pray.
We can and should do this! Let’s “contend” together!
Hey Jude! You’ve got a powerful punch in your small little letter!