Contending 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 1:3]
Contending for the faith is a key theme in this short epistle. Jude, the last of the General Epistles, hones in on “overcoming the apostates” [Wiersbe].
Paul warned, “in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” [2 Ti 3:1-5] Peter warned, “scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts.” [2 Pet 3:3] John warned “it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Anti-christ is coming, even now many anti-christs have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” [1 Jn 2:18]
Note that apostates have a “form of godliness” and John spells out their deception by calling them “anti-christs,” which means “counterfeit” christs. Also note the several references to “last days,” and “last hour.” Common to these last General Epistles are warnings of deceptive apostates with selfish and fleshly motives. “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked for condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Jude 4]
Notice these “certain men have crept in (the church) unnoticed”. Secondly, these ungodly men are predestined to hell [“who long ago were marked for condemnation”]. Thirdly, they use the grace of God as a cloak for sin [“who turn the grace of our God into lewdness”]. The real danger is their propensity to bring down others, and thus Jude’s exhortation that we must “contend earnestly for the faith.” [Jude 3]
We, especially in this day, must watch our life and doctrine closely [ref. 1 Ti 4:16]. These were some of Paul’s final words to Timothy [ref. 2 Ti 3:10], and a warning that resonated from all the Apostles. It is a word that we must heed today, for we are truly in the last days.
Sin and deception are high [even within the church] because His Return is near.