“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.”
We live in times when it seems that many would rather get along with everyone even if it means that the faith must be compromised to do so. Throughout my ministry, I have watched many who contended for the faith become the person under attack because people would rather get along than they would contend to keep the faith pure.
The verse above gives the believer a command to contend for the faith. The word “contend” means to use earnest efforts to defend and preserve. In other words, you will often find yourself on the opposite side of the popular crowd when contending for the faith. Let me give you several observations about contending that are needful reminders.
First, contending is not bad. Satan loves it when Christians paint contending in a bad light because he knows this mentality hurts the faith. My friend, contending is not a bad thing if God inspired the Book of Jude, and He did. In fact, contending is the right thing to do and the needed thing to do for the faith to be passed on to the next generation in the same manner that it was passed to us.
Second, contending is needed for the faith to stay pure. Truth will always be under attack by error. You cannot have a pure faith without contending against those who would pervert it. Verse 4 says, “For there are certain men crept in unawares…” People who disagree with truth will do their best to slowly erode away the faith. You must contend for the faith against those who would try to destroy it, even if those who are slowly eroding the faith are those who are among you.
Third, someone before you contended to give you what you have. The reason you have a pure faith is because someone before you was willing to contend for the faith so that you could have a pure faith. Let me remind you that someone who contends for the faith will seem contentious to those who are undermining the faith with worldliness. Those before you who seemed to be contentious are those who fought for you to have a pure faith. Instead of painting those who contended for the faith in a bad light because of their contentiousness, you would be wise to learn from their example and embrace them as heroes instead of villains.
Fourth, you must contend to give to the next generation what was handed to you. The only way the next generation will know the pure faith is if you will contend for the faith when it’s under attack. Don’t sit idly by and hope that someone else will do the work that you are supposed to do. All it takes for the next generation not to know a pure faith is for everyone to sit and wait for someone else to stand for the faith when it is under attack.
Fifth, you will never be popular if you contend for the faith. I will warn you that if you choose to obey God’s Word and contend for the faith, you will be painted as the problem. The Scriptures are filled with illustrations of heroes who were unpopular in their day for contending for the faith, but their willingness to be unpopular for the faith is what make them heroes today. Don’t worry about popularity; instead, fall in love with the faith and stand against anyone who would try to compromise it in the least.