Scripture warns us about this. “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. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:3-4, ESV emphasis added).
If we’re going to contend as Jude calls us to, we can’t contend for some type of faith that’s not entirely biblical, or for a portion of faith that is your tribe’s favorite part of scripture. If you’re going to contend for that most holy faith, then it must be something more than watered down, lukewarm Christianity. It has to be a faith filled with fire and the Holy Ghost. Our churches have been delivered before, and they can be delivered again. We must hold to that great hope for God’s deliverance.
Years ago I took some Bible courses at a local Bible College just to further my love for learning His Word. I had a brilliant Professor who had a deep devotion to teach the Scripture in a way that caused you to remember what you were taught. These many years later I am reminded of his teaching on the urgency of Jude 3: “Contending for the faith;” a sharp warning given before the reason was laid out. Contend is a word that carries a heavy meaning of, “agonizing,” “to fight, or do battle.” Why? Because of false prophets (teachers) that will try to creep in and distort (twist) the truth!. Jude gives us a picture of these “teachers” in verses 10-19. Particular verses really stand out such as, “speak evil of what they do not know, trees without fruit, serving themselves, twice dead, wandering stars, mockers, walking in their own ungodly lusts, sensual persons who cause division, not having the spirit.” Thus, the use of the strong word, “contend.”
Jesus also speaks to this in Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets (teachers) who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” “Ravenous,” meaning very hungry to deceive and entice others. “Entice” is to “catch with bait.” Interesting isn’t it that the enemy can use and does use just the right bait to catch and deceive? Further, we have 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 where Paul will also give a description of these “teachers, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.“
Then, the obvious take away is that why would it be a big thing for his ministers to transform themselves into “ministers of righteousness?” Adding that their “end will be according to their works.” 2 Peter 2:1-22 brings even more into light about these “enemies within the gate,” as I call them. Actually the body of Scripture is full in regard to this subject. I fully believe the Holy Spirit saw fit to give the warning more than once as He knows the damage they can do and have done.
I find myself never questioning the seriousness of the word “contend” any longer. We are not to be a passive people that carelessly handles or teaches the Word of God. We are to agonize for the faith, another strong word to understand. This word is one which I am sure the Apostle Paul was very familiar with as he dealt with so much within the churches and so should we. We are living in ever changing, ever darkening times of spiritual compromise and a forsaking (falling away) of what was once held to as truth.
Dismayed? Defeated? Discouraged? Not for the one who holds tight to the Rock, who seeks His face and adores His Word, who is filled with His Spirit of power! Jude will remind us to build ourselves up on our “MOST HOLY FAITH, PRAYING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, KEEPING OURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD“….Notice, “praying IN the Holy Spirit.” He is the Pray-er within us. He knows the mind of God. He knows the will of God. He enables us to pray as we ought.
Hallelujah! He has equipped us fully! He has conquered the enemy. He loves His own. The warnings of Scripture are as blessed as the admonitions. Because of His great care over the body, He makes sure we have all we need!