Thursday, 28 April 2022
“Beloved,… I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” (Jude Vs.3)
At a time when apostasy was on the increase, Jude challenged all believers to contend earnestly for the faith. The word ‘contend’ means to ‘fight for’ or to ‘stand firm’ for our faith. We live in an era when apostasy is rampant and ever increasing and Jude’s message is relevant to us today in taking a stand for Christ. The Epistle of Jude offers practical guidelines on how we can withstand the danger of apostasy.
Unless we are rooted in the Word and right doctrines ‘which was once for all delivered to the saints,’ we cannot identify or answer the claims of false prophets. We need to grow and mature, rooted in the word of God and grounded in the truth to oppose and refute the claims of the apostates. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:13-14)
Be on your Guard
Jesus warns us, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) It is to be understood that false teachers have crept in and infiltrated the church, the body of Christ (Vs 4). Just as in the days of Jude, so called Christian freedomists teach that God’s forgiveness justifies immoral living. But Christ died to free us from the chains of sin and not that we could continue in sin. We should be constantly vigilant to identify heresies and refute it!
To those who use the grace of God as an excuse to continue in sin, Jude draws attention to God’s divine judgment against disobedience and unbelief through the incident of Exodus, the disobedient angels in Genesis 6 and God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Jude 5-7)
In Verses 18 &19 Jude writes of scoffers who follow their ungodly desires and bring divisions, who do not have God’s Spirit in them to guide them. While contending for our faith, we need to ensure that we guard ourselves from such being drawn to heresies, no matter how sugar-coated they may be. In Vs 20 Jude reminds us how to guard ourselves:
build yourselves up on [the foundation of] your most holy faith [continually progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher],
pray in the Holy Spirit,
keep yourselves in the love of God
waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [which will bring you] to eternal life. (Jude 20 Amplified)
Apart from refuting false doctrine and guarding our own hearts, we have great a responsibility to warn others of the dangers of such erroneous teaching and lead them to Christ (Vs 22-23). The old saying of ‘Hate the sin, love the sinner’ can be seen in this Scripture. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in how to approach and minister to those who need help – to some with gentleness and to others with a firmer approach!
Brothers and sisters, let us pray and entrust ourselves to the LORD who is able to keep us from falling and present us without blame before His glorious presence with joy!
Practise the Word: In contending for our faith, let us take to heart and follow Paul’s instruction to ‘guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge " which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.’ (1Timothy 6:20-21)