CONTEND FOR THE FAITH
Jude a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James predicted the sin and doom of Godless men, and exhorted those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ to contend for the faith.
He wrote, “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 licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4).
Since we have been admonished to, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace, for there is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all;” It is imperative that all true believers contend earnestly for that one faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
The faith which was once for all delivered to the saints is eternal, unchangeable, and it is the same yesterday, today and for ever.
The faith which was once for all delivered to the saints is that which was from the beginning, which the earlier saints heard, saw with their eyes, looked upon, and touched with their hands. It is the faith concerning the Word of life – the life which was made manifest, and they saw it, and testified to it, and proclaimed to us the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to them.
That which they have seen and heard they declared to us, so that we also may have fellowship with them; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. These things were written to us, so that our joy may be complete.
The faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints is Jesus Christ, and belief in him.
The scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus, might be given to those who believe.
Since Christ is the substance of what we hope for, and the certainty of what we do not see, faith therefore comes by hearing the word of God concerning Jesus Christ.
For, “How can they believe on him of whom they have not heard?” Consequently, faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of God.
How can one hear about Jesus Christ so as to believe and have faith in him?
There are only four sources that can testify about Jesus Christ and reveal him to man.
- John the Baptist. He was sent as a witness to bear witness of the light: that all through him might believe.
- The works which Christ did. Jesus said, “But I have greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given me to finish – the very works that I do – bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me” (Jn.5:36).
- The Father Himself. Jesus said to the Jews, “And the Father himself who sent me, has testified of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form.” But on the day of his baptism, as soon as he was baptized, he went up out of the water, and at that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him, and a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.
And to the Pharisees Jesus said, “I am one who bears witness of my self; and the Father who sent me bears witness of me” (Jn.8:18). In predicting his death on the cross Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour, but for this purpose I came to this hour, “Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again” (Jn.12:27-28).
- The Scriptures. Jesus said to the Jews, “You search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of me.” For if you believed Moses you would believe me; for he wrote about me, but if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (Jn.5:39, 47).
The first set of disciples who testified about the lord, testified about him because of what they found written in the law and the prophets. When Philip found Nathanael he said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (Jn.1:45).
At the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, he revealed himself to two of his followers by saying, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Lk.24:25-27).
In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man said to Abraham, “I beg you father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Abraham replied, ‘they have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
No father Abraham, Lazarus said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Lk.16:27-31).
Hence when Christ came to earth he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappears, not the smallest letter, not the least strokes of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished” (Matt.5:17-18).
Unfortunately today, we have ungodly men who have turned the grace of God into a license to pervert and abolish not just the smallest letter, or the least stroke of a pen, but the whole commandment which honors the Lord our God, and thereby denying the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ of their glory and honor.
The instructions given to man by God through Moses is quite simple, He said, “Observe my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:30; 26:2).
The instructions given to man by God through his prophets are the same. He said, “Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezek.20:20).
The Son of Man is still Lord of the Sabbath, because the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
The faith which we earnestly have to contend for, which was once for all delivered to the saints did not nullify the law. It replaced the law as the medium by which the believer comes to the Father, and obeys him.
Before one becomes a believer, he/she has to be instructed or tutored by the law which will point him/her to Christ. It is through the law one becomes conscious of sin. The law then serves as the school master, tutor and guardian, until we come to know Jesus Christ and believe him.
My definition of a believer is, “One who has come to know Jesus Christ through the scriptures, and believed what the scriptures say about him.” As it is written, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one, of whom they have not heard?” (Rom.10:14).
The law is made not for the righteous but for law breakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and the irreligious; for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to his saints. (1Tim.1:10-11).
When some one believes in what the law and the prophets says about Jesus Christ, and come to believe in Jesus Christ, he is no longer under the law of works, but has become under the law of faith which is “If you know these things happy are you if you do them”. And, He who knows to do what is good and does it not, to him it is sin.
It is no longer, “You shall” as of command, but rather, “If you love me keep my commandments.” We have been set free from sin, but have become slaves of righteousness. And now that we have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit we reap leads to holiness, and the result is everlasting life.
Let us not turn the grace of God into licentiousness, like the ungodly men, but let us contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
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