Calling All Contenders
Jude 1:1-3 - “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them who are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
WHO WAS JUDE EXHORTING to contend for the faith? Is this applicable to Christians today? Is it even being attempted by the church today? How do we effectively contend for the faith?
Verse 1 answers to whom this was written. It was written to “them who are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and (are) called.” Jude was writing to believers to stand up and contend for the faith. This is not a call to only those called to be pastors or even evangelists, but to all who have been sanctified, all who have been preserved in Jesus Christ, and all who have been called as children of God.
What is the faith we are to contend for? Is it the “name it and claim it” doctrine? Is it the “prosperity” gospel? Is it the “once saved, always saved” doctrine? Is it the “humanistic feel good” gospel or the Hebraic Roots Movement? Is it a mixture of these for which we are to contend? No. The word faith (pistei) is in the singular. It is a specific faith for which we are to contend. Jude said that we are to contend for that specific faith that was once delivered to the saints or holy ones (hagiois). What was the message once delivered that caused them to become saints? Clearly it was the Message of the Cross: Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
There is a theological term used to describe the act of contending for or defending the faith. If correct doctrine is defended among the unsaved, it is referred to as apologetics. If it is defended within the church, it is called polemics. Paul, no doubt, was a polemist. Most of his writings and, therefore, most of the New Testament, dealt with correcting false doctrine. Paul defended the Message of the Cross against all enemies, foreign or domestic. He would not back down. It was then the foundational message of the church. It is still now the foundational message of Christianity. He would not allow it to be compromised or corrupted.
Jude’s words are just as applicable today as when they were first penned. If there was ever a time for the saints of God to contend for the faith that was once delivered unto them, it is now. The only way to effectively contend for the faith is through Spirit-led application of God’s Word.
George Duffield, Jr., penned the famous Christian standard:
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Ye soldiers of the Cross;
Lift high His royal banner,
It must not suffer loss.”
I wonder if we would be wrong in saying that it certainly has suffered loss. The pure Gospel of Jesus Christ has been attacked, with less and less saints of the Cross standing up and contending for the faith. The church today needs saints of God to stand up for the Message of the Cross. We need a few more polemists. Calling all contenders! Stand up, stand up, ye soldiers of the Cross; lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.