By Nathan Jones
What does Jude mean when he calls those who have a common salvation to contend for the faith?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the little book of Jude from a prophetic perspective.
Jude, Contending for the Faith (Verses 2-4)
Vic Batista: I love the opening in Jude. The text in verse 2 says, "Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you."
As you brought us to verses 3-4, I think we could camp out here for a while because there's just to learn in those two verses. In these verses Jude encourages and exhorts the Church to "contend earnestly for the faith." There is even today a lot of heresy afflicting the Church. You just have to go to YouTube or in other media outlets to witness so much nonsense. Apostasy and heresy are really making it difficult these days for true faith in the Lord to be discerned, right?
Nathan Jones: Satan has always been coming up with ways to water down the Gospel, or he's trying to bury it under false religions. We know that, according to Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 and other passages, the closer we get to Jesus' soon return the more there will be a proliferation of false prophets and false teachers who will try to lead people astray.
That is what Jude contends with in this passage. Here he realizes that the people whom he has helped lead to the Lord have Satan trying to pull them away in different directions and so away from Jesus Christ. There is almost a sense of urgency in the book of Jude as you read it. He was worried that his spiritual children were about to be lead astray and he didn't want that to happen. As we read through this little book, there is that sense of urgency for Jude to rescue his fellow Christians from falling over a precipice, so to speak, where they are about to fall away from true biblical doctrines.
Vic Batista: When I read those words about how we are to contend for the faith, it reminds me of a fighter or a boxer. This battle is serious business!
Nathan Jones: That's an excellent comparison! True, boxers have to contend in the ring. They get beaten up, knocked down, end up lying on the mat, and sometimes are down for the count. Likewise, Jude wanted people to contend for the faith.
Jude isn't addressing a group of unbelievers, for it says right there is verse 1, "to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ." In other words, these are people who were saved. They believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior. They had been sanctified by God the Father. They'd been called into service by the Lord. But, even though we are called into the service of the Lord, we have to contend for the faith daily, because Satan always tries to get us sidetracked.
Vic Batista: Absolutely! I believe that Christians today need to contend for the faith more than ever, because there's just so much heresy out there. You are right, Nathan, this message from Jude is a word to believers. It's an exhortation about how we need to be like Bereans and be diligent in studying God's Word. We need to make sure that we understand the times in which we are living.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! We live in tremendously wonderful times, but also terribly difficult times. The false prophets and false teachers are out there in abundance. They are trying so hard to get Christians sidetracked in knowing who the Jesus of the Bible really is. Even back in Jude's time, there were people who were trying to pull the Christians away from the teaching of Jesus Christ. The early Gnostics and other heretics were trying to pull believers in Christ away in order to start their own cults. Jude didn't want that to happen to his church brethren. He wanted to make sure that Christians contend for the faith.
Jude, On the Common Salvation (Verse 3)
Vic Batista: I just love these opening verses where Jude calls his brothers in Christ "beloved." He goes on, "While I was very diligently to write to you concerning our common salvation..." I love the way that Jude wrote this letter — just the passion behind it — the concern for his brothers and sisters in Christ. That's why we need to contend for our "common salvation," because there are a lot of roadblocks out there when it comes to living out our faith in Christ.
Nathan Jones: It's wonderful that you brought up is the word "beloved." Here Jude is calling his readers beloved. He loves the Church. He loves the people he has led to know the Lord as Savior. He is like a father who is worried that his kids are going to go astray and fall into worldly traps. There's a deep sense of love that comes from the book of Jude. And, since we know Jude's book is in the Bible and we know the Holy Spirit guided its writing, so this book also reflects the heart of God.
God doesn't want His children to be led astray. He wants us to know Him as who He is, and not what false teachers imagine He is. So, Jude presents a strong apologetic — a strong defense — of the faith. He wants to keep Christians on track in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Vic Batista: The Bible tells us in Galatians that if anybody approaches you with any other gospel other than the biblical account, they are to be an anathema. And here again in verse 3, the message is to contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered to you by the saints. So, there is only one type of faith, one Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Nathan Jones: The term Gospel means Good News. Good news is really what we are talking about concerning the Gospel. We're talking about the story of Jesus' life, His biography, so to speak. The Good News covers how Jesus was born of a virgin, how He traveled for three years sharing the message of the coming Kingdom, how He was healing people, and about having faith in God. Jesus also foretold to the people how He would suffer and die for mankind so that our sins along with the guilt and punishment would be removed from us. He even foretold how He'd be resurrected from the dead three days later. Those who believe in Him would be saved. That was the life story of Jesus Christ — the Good News — for Jude.
I wonder what the age difference was between Jude and Jesus? I assume since Jude was in the middle of the list of half-siblings that he was probably at least a few years younger than Jesus. He grew up watching his perfect brother. There is always one kid in the family whom the other kids believe is their parents' favorite, right? Can you imagine being the brother to Jesus?
Vic Batista: No, I cannot. That'd be tough. Then imagine how Jude must have felt after his brother actually rose from the dead and everybody started to believe in Him as the Son of God. Then I am sure Jude was like, "Hey, people, check this out! This is my bro, okay."
Nathan Jones: I humorously imagine that Jesus probably got some payback for whatever tormenting He might of gotten from His brothers by showing up after His resurrection. I don't know for sure, of course, but can imagine. What we do see for sure is that Jude's life was transformed, and I think that transformation is also proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
There is a lie that is perpetrated today by people who claim, "I believe in Jesus, but I can't believe in that resurrection thing. Coming back from the dead would be miraculous, so forget that." But, without Jesus' resurrection from the dead, there is no victory over death, and there is no forgiveness of sins. Jesus' resurrection transformed people's lives. It certainly transformed Jude's life.
Vic Batista: The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is what separates Christianity from every other religion. Historically and even archaeologically proven by the people who excavate old ruins, we know for sure that the bones of every other prophet can eventually be dug up, but you go to Jesus' tomb, and it is empty.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! Buddha is buried. Confucius is buried. Muhammad is buried. All of the leaders of these world religions are buried. Their bones remain in the ground. People know where their graves are. But, no one knows where Jesus' grave is. Archaeologists think they might know a possible location. I've visited the Garden Tomb a few times in Jerusalem, but the location is just an educated guess, for in Christianity Christ's tomb is empty, because our God is alive.
Vic Batista: Praise the Lord! What an incredible hope that gives us. That hope is available to everyone. One simply needs to recognize the saving work that Jesus has accomplished at the cross. He paid for your sins in full. He did that all for you. Christians celebrate a living hope.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, and that's what Jude calls our "common salvation." It isn't like we all have different salvations in that there are different ways to get into heaven. There is only one way to heaven, and that is through Jesus Christ. Jesus declared in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me."
That is the Gospel message. That is the Good News. That is the "common salvation" that Jude is sharing here in verse 3.
Vic Batista: Excellent point! People try different religions that offer different ways that people can get into Heaven, whether it is by works or being good or whatever the case. And yet, Jesus tells us explicitly that, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me." That is the common faith.
Nathan Jones: Have you ever taken one of those maze puzzles from the back of a restaurant menu or in puzzle books? That's where your pencil travels through a maze. Sometimes you may hit a dead end, and so you back track. Hitting a dead end, that's what all these false religions are. Being stuck in a dead end, that is what Satan wants. He wants us trapped like maze runners, trapped in a maze that we can never get out. There is only way to get through the maze and out the other side, and that is by a belief in Jesus Christ as Savior. It is the one way to get out of the maze of sin that traps us in Hell.
In the third segment of our study of the prophetic book of Jude, we'll explore Jude's warning about the "ungodly men."