Jude 22-23 – And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
God commands His people to not just come to different conclusions than non-Christians, but to have a completely different mindset.
- Matthew 22:37 – [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…”
- Romans 8:5-7 – For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
- Romans 12:1-2 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…
- 1 Corinthians 2:16 – “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ…
The believer’s ability to judge between truth and lies, good and evil, right and wrong by the aid of the Holy Spirit illuminating the Word of God is generally referred to as “discernment”. In the Old Testament (OT), “The key Hebrew word is bîn. It and its derivatives are used some 247 times in the OT and are usually translated “understanding”. The basic idea is that of understanding gained by evaluating. Thus, words like “discern,” “distinguish,” and “judgment” capture the basic meaning of bîn. (1)
Although the concept of discernment appears repeatedly throughout the New Testament (NT), “In the NT “discern” and “discernment” occur only four times. Three of the Greek terms are based on the root krínō (kritikós, anakrínō, diakrínō), which basically meant “sift” or “distinguish,” then “select” or “divide out,” and finally received the common meaning “decide” or (esp in the NT) “judge”. (2)
The motive for the writing of Jude is largely discernment. The theme of Jude is found in verse 3, which is a battle cry to, “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints”. This imagery taken from physical war that is applied to spiritual warfare, is that a demonic invasion has occurred in the church as God’s people had been infiltrated by the Enemy camp.
To “contend” for the heart of the gospel, which is never changing and “delivered” just “once” for all true “saints” in all of Church history are some specific commands that apply to every age and every deception that seeks to dilute the purity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. No one is permitted to change the gospel, because God got it right the first time and does not need editors, just messengers.
What are some of the issues that are most important for Christians to “contend” for in our day to safeguard God’s Word as the highest authority in the Church?
- Lawrence O. Richards, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words: Based on the NIV and the NASB, Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1999), 226.
- J. T. Dennison Jr., “Discern; Discerning; Discernment,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 947.
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