What Does It Mean To Contend For The Faith (Jude 1:3)?

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Published by Kenneth Garcia

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Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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In Jude 1:3, Jude wrote, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” The term “contend,” as translated from the ancient Greek word epagonizomai, literally means to “agonize over” or to “struggle with intense determination.”

Jude’s concern stems from the assault on the Christian gospel—the faith—by false teachers disseminating perilous heresies. He implores God’s people to vigorously defend this faith against those who aim to subvert and erode it.

By using the term “contend earnestly,” Jude evokes the image of an athlete fiercely striving to triumph in a physical competition. His message underscores the urgency of safeguarding the core beliefs of Christianity from distortion.

What Are The Fundamentals Of Faith?

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

— Hebrews 11:1–2

Christianity originated in the region of Judea during the 1st century AD[1]. It evolved from Judaism, with Jesus Christ being the central figure who preached love, forgiveness, and salvation. His crucifixion and resurrection form the cornerstone of Christian belief.

The Holy Trinity

Christianity is a monotheistic faith, emphasizing belief in a single divine entity. Additionally, many Christians embrace the concept of the Holy Trinity, often referred to as the Blessed Trinity. This doctrine posits that three distinct persons or aspects of God exist within the same divine essence. According to Christian belief, these entities within the Holy Trinity are co-equal and eternal.

“Trinity” is derived from the Latin word “trinus,” signifying a threefold nature. It is a concept closely associated with Christian theology and holds immense significance in the foundational beliefs of organized Christian religion, illustrating the intricate relationship of three distinct entities within the singular divine essence, marking a 3:1 theological concept.

Original Sin And Redemption

Christianity teaches that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve. Jesus’ sacrificial death is perceived as the avenue to redemption, extending salvation to those who have faith. These principles persist in molding the lives and convictions of countless Christians across the globe, serving as a foundation for comprehending their connection with the divine and their role in the world.

The Bible As God’s Word

The Bible, segmented into the Old Testament and the New Testament, stands as the hallowed scripture of Christianity. Within its pages reside teachings, parables, and historical narratives that have left scholars and philosophers puzzled for countless centuries.

Regarded by Christians as the inspired word of God, it serves as the ultimate source of divine revelation and spiritual guidance. Understanding its significance is essential for comprehending the Christian faith.

The Bible as scripture is a cornerstone of Christianity, shaping beliefs, practices, and ethical values for adherents worldwide. Its historical origins, structure, and interpretive richness make it an enduring source of spiritual inspiration and guidance.

What Does It Mean To Contend For The Faith?

Authored by a likely half-brother of Jesus, the book of Jude urgently addresses believers to contend for their faith against false teachings. Jude exhorts them to safeguard the message of the gospel from being twisted by false teachers. He emphasizes the need to stand firm against heretical beliefs that threaten the core tenets of Christianity.

Drawing on historical and scriptural examples, he illustrates the grave consequences of straying from the truth. Jude’s passionate plea is to maintain a strong spiritual foundation, pray in the Holy Spirit, and keep oneself in God’s love.

Through vivid imagery and references, he warns of the dangers of compromise and the importance of remaining vigilant in faith. Overall, Jude’s letter serves as a call to uphold the unchanging truth of the gospel, resist deception, and stand boldly for the authentic Christian and holy faith.

The early Christian communities often faced challenges from individuals or groups promoting false doctrines or teachings that deviated from the original teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles. Contending for the faith involves addressing and refuting these false teachings to ensure the integrity of the Christian message.

Throughout history, different heretical beliefs have arisen that distort or undermine critical tenets of the Christian faith. Contending for faith involves refuting these heresies and clarifying the correct interpretation of Scripture.

As societies change and evolve, new cultural trends and ideas can impact how people understand and practice their faith. Contending for faith in this context involves helping believers navigate these changes while remaining true to the foundational principles of Christianity.

There are times when cultural norms conflict with Christian ethics and values. Contending for the faith involves advocating for a biblical perspective on moral issues, even if it goes against prevailing societal attitudes.

In a world of skepticism and atheism, contending for the faith can also mean providing rational and well-reasoned explanations for the Christian worldview. It also means addressing doubts and objections raised by skeptics.

fist raised in the air against dark background and contend for the faith

Why Do We Need To “Contend For The Faith”?

Certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord.

— Jude 1:4

Preserving The Authenticity Of God’s Grace

Contending for faith becomes paramount due to the dangerous possibility of distorting the very essence of God’s grace. As Jude underscores, there is a real risk of perverting the grace of God into a license for ungodliness and complacency.

By actively engaging in this struggle, we ensure that the profound gift of grace retains its true transformative power, empowering believers to live in righteousness and godliness rather than embracing license or distortion.

Affirming Christ’s Sovereign Lordship

The call to contend for the faith arises from the challenge of those who would deny the sovereign lordship of Christ. In a world where diverse ideologies vie for prominence, we stand firm against any attempts to undermine or reject Christ’s rightful authority.

By participating in this spiritual contention, we reiterate the supreme dominion of Christ, upholding His proper place as Lord over all aspects of life, both spiritual and earthly.

4 Disciplines On How To Contend For The Faith

Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

— 1 Timothy 6:12

1. Nurturing Your Faith Foundation

In the pursuit of spiritual growth, we are called to continually fortify our most holy faith. A pivotal aspect of this transformative journey involves immersing ourselves in the study of God’s Word, thereby fostering a deep understanding of its truths.

As the apostle Paul admonishes, “Diligently present yourself to God as an approved worker, unashamedly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The Scriptures, divinely inspired, possess the remarkable capacity to educate, guide, correct, and empower us toward righteousness.

By grounding ourselves in these teachings, we, as devoted servants of God, become fully equipped to undertake every noble endeavor set before us (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

2. Prayer Empowered By The Holy Spirit

Engaging in prayer guided by the Holy Spirit offers us a profound source of assistance in our inherent human frailty. This divine guidance serves to illuminate our comprehension of God’s truths, shielding us from the peril of deception propagated by false teachers (Romans 8:26).

3. Abide In The Embrace Of God’s Love

Remaining enveloped in God’s love necessitates a life characterized by unwavering faith and persistent obedience to His divine precepts. As echoed by Jesus Himself, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10).

Our obedience isn’t simply an obligation—it’s a heartfelt response to the profound influence God holds over our souls, demonstrated by our unwavering devotion to Him (Romans 6:17). An authentic demonstration of our commitment to the Divine is eloquently mirrored through our sincere love for one another (1 John 3:11–24; 1 Peter 1:22).

4. Await With Anticipatory Hope

In the pursuit of upholding the tenets of our faith, it becomes imperative to stoke the flames of hope in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Jude beckons us to await in Jude 1:21, “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” He underscores the significance of living each passing moment with a resolute confidence that the imminent return of Jesus Christ could transpire at any juncture (Titus 2:13).

woman sitting on a rock above ocean waves and contend for the faith

Conclusion

Contending for the faith, as urged by Jude, means defending the Christian doctrine against misleading beliefs. It requires a character modeled after Christ, one who is humble and loving and who exemplifies the transformative power of faith.

Patiently awaiting Christ’s return and contending for the faith unites believers in hope. This multifaceted endeavor demands intellectual rigor, moral integrity, and spiritual discernment.

By upholding truth, compassion, and Christ’s lordship, we safeguard faith’s essence and extend an invitation to others. Through these disciplines, we secure a legacy that connects generations and keeps the light of truth shining brightly in a changing world.

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