Jude was the earthly half-brother of Jesus. He was also the writer of the Bible’s book of Jude, which is a letter he wrote to his fellow Christians. Jude’s original plan was to build the letter around the subject of the salvation that Christians hold in common. But when it came time to put ink to parchment, the Holy Spirit led him to write a much different letter, one that encouraged Christians to contend for the Christian faith and be on guard against apostate teachers who would corrupt and pollute the pure stream of that faith. Jude verses 3 and 4 say:
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. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christian, you need to understand that if some dedicated, courageous Christians down through the ages hadn’t contended for the faith in the face of apostasy, wrong doctrine, and false teaching in their day, you might never have heard the true, pure gospel in your day. Furthermore, you need to also understand that it is now your job to carry the torch they have passed. In his book Of God & Men, A.W. Tozer, a great defender of the faith in his own right, puts it this way:
The task of the church is twofold: to spread Christianity throughout the world and to make sure that the Christianity she spreads is the pure New Testament kind.
If you need some additional scriptural motivation to take up this challenge, the Bible offers plenty. Consider the following list. There’s a very logical flow to all these passages:
1. We are to test all teachings:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
2. We are to expose those teachings that are false:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:8-11)
3. We are to rebuke false teachers:
…Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. (Titus 1:13-14)
4. We are to separate from those who persist in false teaching:
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. (Romans 16:17)
5. If we refuse to separate ourselves from false teachers, we hinder ourselves from being vessels of honor that can be used by God to perform every good work:
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21)
In closing, let me say that I realize full well that this subject doesn’t get preached much these days. Instead modern-day Christians are all about tolerance, acceptance, ecumenicalism, and what we refer to as “unity.” But unity around error is not a unity to be valued. Actually, it’s the polar opposite of Jude’s plea for us to contend for the faith. In light of this, Christian, I want you to ask yourself a serious question: “If every Christian contended for the pure Christian faith the way I do, where would that faith be fifty years from now?” Be honest with your answer, and if you need to pick up the torch of contending for the faith, please do so. I assure you that we need you in the battle.