Contend for the faith
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Jude 1:3-4 HCSB
After a such nice greeting, Jude elaborates and wished that he could continue speaking about the joyous salvation that we as believers share, but alas, there is a problem: the faith in which the believers are in are under attack from within. Notice in verse 3: “I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith…” We get to the main purpose of the letter: that Jude has heard that the church is under attack and is rallying the believers to stand up and fight for their beliefs. This phrase “contend for the faith,” has a twofold call to action according to Bengel: “strenuously to fight for the faith against enemies and to edify oneself in faith.” This is the theme that Jude will elaborate on throughout the rest of the letter. Secondly, we see the enemy in verse 4, “ungodly people who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.” These individuals have seeped their way into this church “secretly.” They have become a part of the church and began teaching a false doctrine. They continued to live sinful lives because they believed that God’s grace was “a license for immorality,” a “get out of jail” free card. Paul addresses such actions in Romans 6:1-4:” What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Once we have been saved by grace, yes, when we die, we will be in the presence of the Lord, yet, that does not give us the right to sin and take advantage of the grace given to us. As believers, because we love our Lord and Savior, and sin is detested by Him, we should do our very best to sin no more out of obedience and love for our Savior. The other false doctrine that this group was sharing was denying Jesus’ authority as our Lord and denying His Sovereignty. They were going directly against Jesus’ words in John 14:6-7: “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” From these two verses, we are reminded to be weary of the doctrine that we hear from others who may call themselves “believers,” for they may be agents of the devil seeking to devour us (see 1 Peter 5:8) We have the Word of God to guide us and be our lamp that helps us discern what is true and what is false. “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude. Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ” (Colossians 2:6-8).
Isaac De Guzman