“Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” – (Jude 1:3)
But what exactly does it mean to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”? Well, the answer is two-fold: 1) We are called to vie for and campaign for the true gospel of Jesus Christ against any kind of false gospel that is competing for our hearts and souls, and 2) We are encouraged to actively engage in practices that strengthen our Christian faith.
Just as it was at the time of Jude and the early Church of the Apostles, we have to contend for the Christian Faith (received from our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles) amid the false claims of various pseudo-gospels. While Jude specifically addresses those who have turned the gospel of Christ into a “licentious” philosophy (an anything-goes philosophy), we today also contend with this same thing in addition to contending with other things.
In our world today, we “contend for the faith” against things like the Prosperity Gospel, which teaches that we can be blessed with material wealth if we have enough faith or the right kind of faith. We also contend with Radical Secularism, which seeks to strictly relegate faith to a mere freedom of private worship rather than a true freedom of religious expression within both our private and public lives. Furthermore, we contend against Radical Relativism, a doctrine stating that truth, knowledge, ethics and morality are completely relative to culture and are not absolute.
My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to resist going astray into these various theological and philosophical distortions of the grace and truth of God. However, we cannot fulfill this calling without the power of God in our lives to strengthen our Christian faith. So, this is where we are encouraged to actively engage in practices that empower our faith. And these practices include worship, Holy Communion, fellowship, charitable service, prayer, and devotional reading, but primary among these practices is BIBLE READING.
Privately reading the Bible as an individual and collectively reading the Bible with a Bible study group are essential practices for maintaining a strong Christian hope and faith. There is power in the Word (Hebrews 4:11-16). Of course, regular personal Bible reading does not make us perfect people, but it does strengthen Christian hope, faith, inner peace and joy. So, what are we self-feeding our souls throughout the week? Are we reading the Bible to build up our faith and help us to contend for the Christian Faith amid all the false claims of the various pseudo-gospels of the world?
“But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” – (Jude 1:20-21)
Almighty God, strengthen us with power through the Holy Spirit that Christ may live in our hearts through faith!
By God’s Grace, Pastor Tim