The book of Jude was written to appeal to believers to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. Why? Because, certain persons have crept in unnoticed. These persons are the subject of the majority of the message written by Jude. He describes their lifestyle so we can have a standard for evaluating those who claim to belong to Jesus, especially those who claim to be teachers and preachers in the church.
Of course, our evaluation should always be done with grace and mercy, recognizing that the best of us can have a bad day or season in our lives. But Jude is very clear about how to recognize false teachers, so we need to be prepared to obey God’s Word and contend and keep on contending, when necessary. And that can be scary. I want to be kind and gracious but sometimes, we are taught here, we must contend. Vine’s dictionary says that to contend means signifies “to contend about a thing, as a combatant” (epi, “upon or about,” intensive, agon, “a contest”), “to contend earnestly,” . The word “earnestly” is added to convey the intensive force of the preposition.
It takes courage to contend, to be a combatant for the gospel. But Jude doesn’t leave us without encouragement for the battle. Here are some of the things he tells us about true believers:
V 1 – We are the called
We are beloved in God the Father
We are kept for Jesus Christ
V 3 We have the faith once for all handed down to the saints
V 4 Our Lord and Master is Jesus Christ
V 17 We remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles
V 20 We are beloved
We are to be building ourselves up in the faith
We are to be praying in the Holy Spirit
V 21 We are to keep ourselves in the love of God
We are to be waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life
V 24 He is able to keep us from stumbling
He will make us stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy
And these things are where courage and strength for the battle from. He will never leave us or forsake us. Our job in the now is to obey Jude 1:22-23. “ And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”
Will you mercifully encourage the doubting? Will you snatch others out of the fire by telling them the true gospel? Will your mercy be tempered with fear because you want nothing to do with the pollution of the flesh? We live in a time where anything goes and people are being told, by these people who have crept in, that God accepts all sin and loves them as they sin. Thankfully, He does love us in spite of our sin, but the gospel calls us to repentance and obedience. Truly, we need to know God’s Word well. That is where we will learn the truth that we must contend for.
So gird up and get your armor on. God has provided everything we need to contend earnestly for the faith.