Why You Must “Contend” for Your Faith!

Jude 3 – Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Maintaining physical health is hard work. Keeping up with routine maintenance on your home is a never-ending pursuit. Getting your job done every day at work is a constant struggle. In life, you quickly learn that everything will atrophy, decline, and fall apart unless you intentionally work to maintain it. 

What is true physically is also true spiritually. Like gravity that pulls everything south toward Hell, the proclivity in the life of both individual Christians, and local Christian churches, is toward moving in the direction of compromise that leads to corruption and eventually collapse. When fake “Christians” compromise, they’re likely perverting the grace of God into a celebration of sexual sin, gender confusion, and rebellion against the sexual biblical guardrails put in place by our “Master and Lord, Jesus Christ”. 

The theme of Jude is found in the one word, “contend”. An academic study of the original Greek word explains that it means, “to exert intense effort…When used in athletic imagery…[it refers to] the one against whom one is contending…the effort expended by the subject in a noble cause…[and the] ideal of dedication to the welfare of the larger group.” (1)

A Bible commentary goes on to explain that the word contend “was commonly used in connection with the Greek stadium to denote a strenuous struggle to overcome an opponent, as in a wrestling match. It was also used more generally of any conflict, contest, debate, or lawsuit. Involved is the thought of the expenditure of all one’s energy in order to prevail. Here, as often, the verb is used metaphorically to denote a spiritual conflict in which believers are engaged.” (2) 

Another Bible commentary says, “the force of the compound verb as ‘to fight, standing upon a thing which is assaulted and which the adversary desires to take away, and it is to fight so as to defend it, and to retain it.’” (3)

One Christian academic journal speaks of the reality meant by “contend” in Jude saying, “The present tense indicates that such a defense of the faith is a continuing duty for believers.” (4)

This language of spiritual warfare, with Christians constantly needing to fight against worldly cultural forces seeking to invade and implode the church, requires a vigilance that does not take a season off or ever surrender. Every day, the Enemy of God and His people will be on the attack in everything from lying false teachers to compromised church members who live for tolerance of sin rather than repentance of sin and lip service to Christian faith but who have little interest in truly Christian lifestyle. There is no such thing as stasis in the Christian life. Every day, we are going forward or backward in our walk with Jesus. 

Look up the following Scriptures that give further insights on what it means to “contend” for the faith: 1 Peter 3:8-18; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6. 

  1. William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 356.
  2. D. Edmond Hiebert, “Selected Studies from Jude Part 1: An Exposition of Jude 3–4,” Bibliotheca Sacra 142 (1985): 144.
  3. G. F. C. Fronmüller, “The Epistle General of Jude,” in Lange’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, with additions by J. Isidor Mombert (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, n.d.), p. 13.
  4. D. Edmond Hiebert, “Selected Studies from Jude Part 1: An Exposition of Jude 3–4,” Bibliotheca Sacra 142 (1985): 144.

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