Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote a message to the Christians in the first century. He had hoped to be able to celebrate the salvation that they shared. However, he felt compelled to urge them to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people (v.3).
What is this faith to which he refers? It is the belief in the gospel message that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, had come to save all mankind. He made this possible by his atoning death on the cross, and Jesus rose from the dead on the third day so that anyone who would put their full trust in this crucified and resurrected Jesus would be saved from their sins and given the free gift of eternal life. Everyone who accepted this message repented of their sins, were baptized into Christ and God added them to the church.
Those who follow Jesus must hold fast to this belief. However, Jude was concerned that many people were not contending for the faith. So he wrote them this message of encouragement and exhortation.
Many Christians today need a reminder that they are supposed to be contending for the faith. So many professing believers look like anything but contenders. Can you really be serious about your faith if you miss church on Sunday morning for little or no reason? If you are not giving a significant amount of your income to the Lord’s work, can you really say that you are invested in the kingdom of God? Are you reading the Bible and praying daily? Are you using your spiritual gift to build up the church? Are you involved in the Lord’s work in some specific, tangible way? When is the last time you spoke of your faith or invited someone to church? It seems that there are many ways in which professing believers are showing themselves to be anything but contenders for the faith.
The concern that Jude had about Christians failing to contend for the faith was that they had allowed ungodly people to slip into the church and teach that Christianity gives you a license to be immoral. He says that by doing so these teachers were perverting the grace of God and denying Jesus Christ (v.4). He goes on to remind the readers about how Sodom and Gomorrah gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion and points out that they are an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire (v.7).
What was true in the first century is still true today—God does not permit sex outside of marriage. Indonesia’s parliament recently voted to ban sex outside of marriage. I wonder if they realized that God had already done that!? Satan has become quite adept at deceiving people with his lies about sexual conduct. Therefore, we have to speak the truth about the matter. Christians have only two options concerning sexual behavior. They must choose to be faithful in marriage, or to be abstinent outside of marriage. That’s it. There are no other options. Those who violate this moral law must repent or pay the penalty. The Bible clearly says that those who live a sexually immoral lifestyle are not a part of God’s kingdom (1 Cor.6:9-11) and will not be allowed to enter God’s heaven (Rev.22:15). Even those who serve as enablers to sexually immoral people run the risk of experiencing God’s wrath (Rom.1:32).
So, are you contending for the faith? Jude has some advice for us in the last part of his message. Remember what Jesus and his apostles said about those who live ungodly lives (v.17). Build yourselves up in your faith and pray (v.20). Keep yourself in God’s love with your obedience (v.21). Finally, try to save others who are engaged in ungodly behavior (vv.22-23).