Earnestly Contend For The Faith

C.R. Sutton

  In his letter to saints, Jude exhorted: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” The faith is the gospel of Christ which Paul preached. In preaching the gospel, he preached “the faith which once he destroyed.” (Gal. 1:23).

  Saints have a responsibility to “earnestly contend” for the faith. The idea is that we should contend as combatants, and we should do so earnestly. To contend for the faith is to defend the faith! Paul said he was “set for the defense of the gospel”. (Phil. 1:17) Writing to the church of the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul said: “…we were bold to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.” (1 Thess. 2:2)

  In 1 Tim. 6:12 Paul exhorted Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith…” In Eph. 6:10-18 Paul urges saints to properly equip themselves by putting on “the whole armor of God” and taking “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. They were not to use carnal weapons in their battle for the faith. (See 2 Cor. 10:3-6). As we contend for the faith we must “strive lawfully”. (See 2 Tim. 2:1-5).

  At Antioch in Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas boldly contended for the faith although envious Jews “spake against those things spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” (Acts 13:45-46). In Athens (as recorded in Acts 17) Paul disputed “in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.” (Verse 17). Some of the philosophers “enountered him,” i.e., debated or argued with him and some others said, “What will this babbler say?”

  In Ephesus Paul “went into the synagogue, and spake boldly by the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from “them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:8-10).

  The reason why saints are told to “earnestly contend for the faith ” is because ungodly men creep in unawares. By their teaching they will endeavor to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness and deny either by their teaching or by their actions (or both) the true God and His Son Jesus Christ! (See Jude 4).

  We learn from Titus 1:9-16 that there are many deceivers “Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”

  We must “contend for the faith” by exposing false teachings with courage, boldness and love. (CRS)

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