I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith. (Jude 3)
The great 19th-century English evangelist John Wesley once declared, “If I had 300 men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, I would set the world on fire.” To be sure, 300 men on fire contending for the faith would be an awesome sight to see. Yet it all starts with one . . . and that one is YOU!
They cry of Jude “to contend for the faith” is a call to every Christian, because it is no different today than it was in his day. The Jewish Christians were under attack from the false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing who were spreading lies and heresies about the good news of the Gospel. These false teachers were denying the deity of Christ and perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality.
The Greek word epagonizomai that our English Bibles render as “contend” is generally used to describe an athlete striving with intensity and determination to win victory in the field of competition. The Amplified Bible translates epagonizomai as “fight strenuously.” So the question I am putting to you today is this: Are you contending for the faith? Remember, our Lord Jesus did not entrust the Good News only to His disciples who had known Him personally, but to every disciple who would follow in their footsteps . . . and that includes you and me.
Here are two practical steps Jude provides us so that we can contend for the faith.
- “Build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 20). The goal of the Christian life is Christ-likeness. We contend for the faith when we are growing and maturing in our faith, and we are to use all the means of grace God has given us — including Bible study, prayer, and consistent church attendance — to do so.
- “Keep yourselves in God’s love” (Jude 21). Jesus made it clear what is meant here: “If you keep my commands,” He said, “you will remain in my love” (John 15:10). Obedience is not the reason for God to love us; it is the result of God’s love for us. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We obey simply because we love our God and want to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
Remember, contending for the faith starts with each one of us. Greater is the power that is in you– the power of the One — than any power that will ever come against you. Contend for the faith, Christian! It all starts with you.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!