Contending…

CONTENDING…

Jude 1

2 Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.

3 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.

4 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 lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

You will notice I have highlighted a phrase in bold type. What does it mean?

You ask me – and I will ask you – and we can both ask God what it means.

A lot of preachers/teachers will reach now for the greek lexicon or seek, by whatever means, to understand the original words.

Let’s instead, look at the phrase in different bible translations:

fight for the faith…

defend the faith…

fight hard for the faith…

continue your fight for the Christian faith…

put up a real fight for the faith…

earnestly persevere in the faith…

stoutly defend the truth…

carry on the struggle for the faith…

to hold very strongly to what you do believe…

strive strongly for the faith…

to agonize for the faith…

Well – does that help us grasp what this means?

Seems to me there is no simple thought that sums up, all that is contained or built-into this exhortation from the writer Jude.

There is more involved in ‘contending earnestly for the faith’ than just one thing. And I hazard a guess that this post will touch on but a few.

I observe that in America (USA) there is a ‘movement’ that calls for the return to the principles that America was founded on. In a nutshell summed up in the word ‘Freedom’.

Many of the actions of those who contend for this return, give us one possible definition we may or may not want to embrace, as an example of ‘contending for the faith’ (?)

The greatest challenge in contending for the faith, once delivered to the saints, is to move in God’s anointing in all that we think, say and do. A tall order in light of our wayward contrary natures.

It is possible whilst contending for the faith to grieve or quench The Holy Spirit. How? By allowing that which is of the flesh to get the upper hand, so that abruptness, rudeness, anger and eventually resentment and bitterness takes us into a different kind of ‘contending’ or ‘contention’.

So that we are no longer contending in a godly manner.

But to know the difference between warring according to the flesh or according to The Spirit – whilst taking our faith into the public arena – can be a lost art. (II Corinthians 10/3, 4) (Ephesians 6)

Jesus was daily involved in highlighting behaviour. Good behaviour and bad behaviour.

Laying out in His sermons all that pertained to acceptable behaviour in the sight of God. Thus doing He was contending for the faith.

Some of this behaviour he addressed, was within a political or secular environment/background. So in that sense it could be suggested that as salt and light we should enter the political or media realm to put forth the righteous principles of Christ and therefore by so doing – contend for the faith.

(I am not an American – but a Northern Irishman) – and I have seen in my country, things done in the name of religion which for me have nothing to do with contending for the faith. Yet they are – in some people’s perceptions – exactly that.

Very quickly – if we stand with political activists who (perhaps on certain topics) contend for the tenets of scripture – we get pigeon-holed and branded with all the other policies they hold – which we may not want anything to do with.

So it’s a difficult mix – faith, principles of righteousness and political stances.

Proper contending for the faith I believe, is summed up in the words of Paul the apostle:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

If we read-on-into the rest of the verses, we started with, Jude is obviously telling the believers that a mix of doctrinal error and lies are to be addressed and counter-acted with the unadulterated truth of God. 

This is contending for the faith, because faith comes by and stays by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10/17)

Jude also covers the subject of sin and sinful men in the church. Contending for the faith then, is becoming aware of the behaviour that can creep into the company of God’s people, which is contrary to the behaviour of Christ The Lord.

A watchful eye therefore is called for, by leadership, and everybody else, to enable the people to keep to the faith, and the uprightness required.

So – contending for the faith is holding to sound doctrine. And adhering to the great foundational truths once delivered to the saints, and – experientially walking in The Spirit. (Romans 8/1, 4)

Living like Jesus is contending for the faith. Glorifying God in our body and spirit is contending for the faith. (I Cor. 6/20)

Entering in to spiritual warfare in the enablement of God is contending for the faith. (Ephesians 6/12)

Intercession in prayer – is contending for the faith.

Punching someone on the nose for not following us – is…

You spotted the deliberate mistake, right?

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