Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. – Jude 1:3 NIV
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The Bible seems to have the record of only two of the brothers of Jesus Christ’s active involvement in his ministry in the name of James and Jude, although there seems to be no agreement amongst bible historians on the nature of the relationship of Jude to Jesus. Whereas, some describe him as having the same father with Jesus Christ, some believe they are just cousins but what is not in doubt is that they have stronger ties beyond Jude being just one of the disciples. Both of them, James and Jude that is, wrote their epistles to all people but James was more concerned about the need for the Christian to demonstrate faith during trials and temptations by showing their deeds. He advised Christians to avoid favouritism and control their pronouncements with a conclusion that they learn to submit themselves fully to the Almighty God. Jude in his one chapter epistle was however more concerned with the presence of godless people amongst the brethren and the need for the genuine Christian to be aware of the activities of these group of wolves in sheep skin.
Addressing fellow Christians as friends, he disclosed his initial intention to write on salvation but felt moved spiritually to touch on the need for the Christian to contend for the faith that was once given to them – Jude 1:3. This statement was very revealing of the state of Christianity during this early period of the existence of Christianity. As at this early stage, the Christians were already losing the real Christian values that was preached to them. This version of Christianity was the one he described as being entrusted to God’s holy people. He definitely did not see this version of Christianity in the conduct of these Christians especially as it relates to their manner of reacting to some issues amongst them. There was some evidence of some of them putting up some character traits that could make anyone described them as godless. The two major words that can summarise his letter to all Christians based on his observation of the activities within the local church are “contend” and “godless”.
To contend in this instance will be to pick a side of an argument and stand firmly in support of that side. The use of the word, “contend” no doubt confirms that argument with regards to the true faith was already becoming a major feature amongst the Christians at that time. If they were to contend rightly in this situation, then they will have to be on the side of the version of Christianity that was entrusted to God’s holy people. That argument and division does not seem to have abated since then as instead, it seems to be growing. One will probably be right to say that the Christian world has never been this divided but more distressing is the fact that the trend seems to present a worsening situation as the days go by. The victim of this remains the innocent Christian who is genuinely searching for the true Word.
Jesus Christ himself anticipated the confusion that may follow his departure when he expressed his doubts as to his meeting true faith in the world when he returns (Lk. 18:1-8) and so in a move that was supposed to help the true Christian from getting lost in the expected confusion, he advised that the one that desires to be isolated from this confusion ask for the Holy Spirit. That was the only teacher that he was sure will remind Christians of all that he had instructed during his time on earth and was going to even teach them new things that he could not teach them because, it will be too hard for them to assimilate – Jn. 14:26; 16:12-14.
The knowledge that was entrusted to the Holy people was entrusted by Jesus Christ himself and he it is that also advised the Christian to position him/her self to receive the Holy Spirit, as according to the Apostle Paul, that remains the only way that innocent and young Christians will not be like infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming – Eph. 4:1-14. If indeed, anyone is to be in a position to contend today, it will have to be on the side of the truth as revealed, not just by anyone who claims to be operating in an undefined spirit, but as revealed to that person personally by the Holy Spirit, with whatever is being thought being a confirmation of what his/her spirit is saying. Any standard short of this continues to expose the Christian to divisive arguments and confusion that may eventually sweep such away from the path of faith.
Seek for the most reliable and honest teacher today so that you will be clear of what you are contending for and thus be in a position to defend it. Let the reason for being in that group be the agreement between what is being thought and what is being spiritually inspired in you and not just what the supposed spiritual leader is saying. An empty Christian will soon be a lost Christian but the one who has the Holy Spirit will only have to act on those teachings that are confirmed by the one that is residing in him or her.
May God grant us all the requisite knowledge that will enable us to contend efficiently for the right faith in Jesus name. Amen.