– to struggle for, to earnestly contend for
“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.”
– Jude 1:3 NKJV
Paul tells us in the short, but critically important book of Jude that while he has been diligent writing about salvation in so many of his letters, that it is also necessary that he “exhort” us – strongly encourage and urge us. And the point of this strong encouragement is that we would “contend” – struggle, grapple with, take on – for the faith.
This is not a sideline faith. This is not an arm chair quarterback faith. This is not a faith of complacency and absence of power or conviction because “Jesus has already won the victory.”
This is an active faith. This is a faith not resting and fattening ourselves up in prosperity as if we were resting in peace alone. No, this is a faith of action, or purpose, of mission.
And he warns us of those who have crept in who “turn the grace of God into lewdness” – calling good what the Word of God calls evil. They deny the Word of God because they are liars just like their father, in whom there is no truth at all. They contradict the Word of God because they want their own will to be done instead of His will. They come up with many excuses to justify their continued disobedience and their false teaching. They add to or subtract from the Word of God to their own pleasing and their own accord – not to further His glory and honor.
Their hearts are seared from their hypocrisy, empty religious practices, and continued rebellion. They have found themselves spiritless and powerless, and have declared an public and damning denial of themselves by their unleashing all kinds of immorality and ungodliness into their gatherings. They do not love God enough to enter into the gate themselves, and they do not love others enough to sound a clear warning of the coming destruction. So they will party on until the end, just as it was in the days of Noah. These liars are selling tickets to hell and making merchandise of the ignorant because they chase after ease and profit and a full belly and have no interest in serving God – they want to be served by God.
They flatter people with their sugary sweet words in order to gain their trust and their loyalty. They are sensual and carnal people – chasing after the things of this world. Even in their prayers, they ask for things of the world that will root and rust and decay, instead of eternal treasures, instead of the fruit of your Holy Spirit, instead of for a surrendered life shining as salt and light here and now.
Yes, on some we show compassion because they seek compassion – because they are already humble and ready to hear truth. But for so many of these hard hearted, proud, defiant, rebellious people – they need the fear of God and it is the only thing that will pull them or of the fire – because they are still in love with their filthy ways and do not hate sin as we do.
If you do not hate sin, how can you say you are His?
We will love one master and hate the other.
If you love sin, you are of your father, the devil. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.