Thursday, August 26, 2010

Contend Earnestly For The Faith!


Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)

Jude's primary focus was the ethical dangers posed by false teachers who denied Christ's lordship by using Christian freedom and God's grace as a "license for immorality" (Jude 4). These false teachers were "grumblers and faultfinders" (Jude 16), scoffers who followed their own ungodly desires and natural instincts (Jude 18-19).

Jude's letter emphasizes the lordship of Christ (Jude 4,9,14-15,25). Christian freedom is not a hall pass to do whatever one wishes. Christians are to build themselves up in the foundational teachings of the faith, pray, remain faithful to God and be merciful to others.


Jude intended to write a more general doctrinal letter, but the present crisis demanded this short, pointed attack on doctrinal error. When Jude speaks of common salvation, he is referring to the unity all believers have in Christ. But due to the crisis of the infiltrating heretics, Jude does not dwell on the subject of the common salvation.

Contend earnestly translates a Greek word that is the basis of the English word agonize. Christians are not called to passive service, but to vigilance in the cause of Christ (see Phil. 1:27). The faith here does not have its usual sense of personal belief in Christ for salvation; here it means the body of teaching passed down in the church by the apostles (Jude 17). This is similar to traditions about the Lord Jesus spoken of by the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 11:1; 15:3–8. The revelation was not ongoing but once for all delivered; final and complete (see Heb. 1:2).

Jude emphasizes the important relationship between correct doctrine and true faith. The truth of the Bible must not be compromised, because it gives us the real facts about Jesus and salvation. The Bible is inspired by God and should never be twisted or manipulated; when it is, we can become confused over right and wrong and lose sight of the only path that leads to eternal life.

Before writing about salvation, Jude felt he had to set his readers back on the right track, calling them back to the basics of their faith. Then the way to salvation would be clearer. Saints refers to all believers. The Greek term translated saints' means “holy people.” The essence of “holiness” is being set apart to God. All believers are saints, not because they are perfect, but because they belong to God.

Father God, it is my prayer that I never lose sight of the foundational teachings of the faith. That I keep my guard up for false teachers that want to twist the truth of the gospel for their advantage and personal pleasures. Lord, continue to search my heart and soul for anything that might get in the way of me doing Your will. I pray this all in Jesus' name. Amen.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV),the Nelson Study Bible, and the Archaeological Study Bible(NIV).

19 comments:

MTJ said...

Hi Lloyd,

Once again, you examine an aspect of the Christian experience in a manner that illuminates to the reader.

For many reasons today, there isn't a challenge to Christian heresy that is condoned and practiced; in spite of this, we are accountable to God.

It is imperative to recognize the "important relationship between correct doctrine and true faith. The truth of the Bible must not be compromised, because it gives us the real facts about Jesus and salvation."

Blessings and peace.

MTJ

dfish said...

Thanks for another really good post. thanks for your encouragement on my blog, too.

GOD thinker said...

Excellent explanations!! Thank you!

Mari said...

I couldn't read anything else much better and clearer than this post today!

Wonderful work, with all these new religions and groups there is so much confusion out here. I will read the book of Jude once more to refresh my memory and be able to yoshare.

Love how you ended the post. Amen!

Thanks and God Bless :)

DeanO said...

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Keep on sharing the truth my Brother-

Wind said...

Thank you for sharing with us!
Regards
wind

Teresa said...

AMEN Lloyd! I love the prayer of humbleness you wrote. I see that your heart longs to long for our Awesome God and Him ONLY! I thank Jesus Christ for our relationship with our Awesome God by the power of the Holy Spirit! I also love the reminder in what you stated, "The essence of “holiness” is being set apart to God. All believers are saints, not because they are perfect, but because they belong to God."

Marja said...

Great post Lloyd, I am glad I stubled upon your blog, good read!

Finally Free said...

I wanted to thank you for praying for me and my Mom. It means alot. :)

Blessings,
Tammy

Buzz and Ellen Ditto said...

Thank you for the reflection info & teaching. I will read again the letter of Jude. God has blessed you with His wisdom & you use it for His glory. May not comment often, but try to follow regularly.

Denise said...

Another wonderful post.

Kerrie said...

Another blessing....

Lou said...

Another good one, Lloyd! :)

Lou

Lloyd said...

MTJ – Thank you for your visit and kind words. The only challenge today for Christian heresy is the Spirit of God that dwells within each Believer. The problem with many believers is that they do not listen to the Holy Spirit and challenge those who are spreading and teaching false doctrines and preaching a “false” gospel. But, you are right…We are all accountable to God and in the end will be judged accordingly. It has been my prayer that we all are given the courage to speak up for Jesus and not allow God’s Word to be watered down and compromised. God bless you.

dfish and GOD thinker – Thank you both for your visits and encouraging comments. I really enjoy reading God’s Truths on both of your blogs… they are refreshing to the soul. May God continue to bless both of you.

Mari – Thank you for the kind comments. The book of Jude is sometimes overlooked because it is so short, however, it parallels closely with 1 Peter. I always like to give thanks to our Lord for all of the blessings He has provided both in good and bad times. Bless you.

DeanO and Wind – Thank you both for your visits and encouraging words. And, DeanO, I just love reading and meditating on 2 Tim. 2:15. God bless.

Teresa – Thank you for your visit and encouraging remarks. My heart, mind and soul belong to the Lord. I can see that you also belong 100% to our Awesome God and that the power of the Holy Spirit works in you. I have visited your blog and enjoy reading the Lord’s teachings there. God bless you.

Marja, Finally Free, Denise, Kerrie and Lou: I want to thank each one of you personally for your visits and kind words. Marja, I am blessed that you stumbled upon my blog. And Finally Free, I was really touched by your blog and will continue to keep you and your mom in prayer. God’s blessings too each of you.

Buzz and Ellen – I really appreciate your encouraging words and visit. It seems like every time I read and meditate on the book of Jude, the Holy Spirit divulges more of God’s Truths to me. I give all the glory to my Lord Christ Jesus. God bless.

igsie said...

I appreciate your Bible-centered blog! You give very clear teaching, thanks!

INSIDE THE SHRINK said...

The book of Jude is one that I haven't studied in depth, but you've given me food for thought here about speaking the truth and being proactive Christians in our walk and sharing the truth. Thanks Lloyd for your consistent wisdom and sharing of the Word. You are a faithful follower of Daily Grace and your encouragement and comments are inspiring to me. God bless you my friend. Bobbi

Dean Spencer said...

Lloyd -

Excellent examination for contending for the faith. I like your word studies. It always good to go back to the original language and get the context and meaning for which it was intended.

I particularly find it interesting that "contend earnestly" translates in Greek to the word agonize. That's pretty intense. How often to we agonize over our faith toward Jesus Christ.

Thank you so much for this study. God bless!

Self Sagacity said...

Lloyd, I am catholic, my SO is christian. I recently had a chance to go to a christian ceremony, it was very different. Anyhow, your post is a great reminder, not to loose faith or be misguided. Thanks for stopping by, I followed you.

Sheila Deeth said...

Nice to read something on Jude, and as always, well worth reading.