First off, who is this guy Jude? He
identifies himself in the opening verse: the brother of James. Both were Jesus' half-brothers (see
). Notably, both Jude and James (James 1:1) refrained from identifying themselves as the brothers of Jesus out of humility and reverence for Christ.
The Believer's Call: Fight for the Faith
Jude begins and ends his letter with a "call for service" to
FIGHT FOR THE FAITH. Understand that God's concern for us, as revealed by Jude, is not simply to help believers (to wit, those who have been born again in Christ alone --
John 3:1-21, 14:6) feel content (joyful, safe in Christ) but to help them stay vigilant and in the battle (the spiritual kind). Having shown them the love and unsurpassed power of God (vv. 2-5) to keep them safe, Jude now shows them the danger that surrounds them. And he tells them to
contend) for the faith. Look closely at verse 3 (the focal point for the entire chapter/book):
"Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." In other words, the assured victory of the believing church ("church" being the body of believers -- not a brick and mortar building) does not mean that we don't have to fight (contend) to win.
Teaching on this, noted pastor Charles Stanley said, "Just because the brilliant Commander in Chief promises victory on the beaches doesn't mean the troops can throw their weapons overboard. The promise of victory assumes valor in battle. When God promises that his church will be kept from defeat, his purpose is not that we lay down our sword and go to lunch, but that we pick up the sword of the Spirit and look confidently to God for the strength to fight and win. Wherever the promised security of God is used to justify going AWOL, we may suspect there is a traitor in the ranks." AMEN!
So God's purpose for us here, as revealed through Jude, is to give His people confidence that their faith will be victorious in the end (verses 1 and 24) and then send them out to
fight for it. Here's what noted 19th century pastor Charles Spurgeon rightly said on this:
"The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies."
Now understand that Jude's central focus here is apostacy -- FRAUD --
within the church! Who would have thought that people claiming to be Christians -- even so-called pastors -- would attack the very notion of truth?
But they are -- and at an alarming rate!
Here's just one example: In November 2004, Christianity Today featured a cover article about the
"emerging church" movement
. That is the popular name for an informal affiliation of so-called Christian communities worldwide who want to revamp God's church, change the way Christians interact with their culture, and remodel the way we think about truth itself.
"We want to embrace mystery, rather than conquer it," says Rob Bell, one of the founders of a prominent emerging church movement in Michigan (and an apostate fraudster).
Within this movement, "truth" -- to whatever degree such a concept is even recognized in the emergent church -- is assumed to be inherently hazy, indistinct, uncertain and perhaps even ultimately unknowable. Truth has always been under attack, and this is just one more movement meant to undermine God's Word, denying its absolute authority.
Emerging church members claim to believe in the God of the Bible, yet still they say they are comfortably uncertain about what is true. On this, noted pastor John MacArthur said, "Certain
avant-garde evangelicals act as if the demise of certainty is a dramatic new intellectual development, rather than seeing it for what it actually is. Uncertainty is the new 'truth.' Doubt and skepticism have been canonized as a form of 'humility.' Right and wrong have been redefined in terms of subjective feelings and personal perspectives.
Refusing to acknowledge and defend the revealed truth of God is a particularly stubborn and pernicious kind of unbelief. Advocating ambiguity, exalting uncertainty, or otherwise deliberately clouding the truth is a sinful way of nurturing unbelief. It is unbelief cloaked in a religious disguise and seeking legitimacy as if it were merely a humbler kind of faith. But this is not faith at all." Amen!
Like every faithful officer, every true Christian (Is that you?) should know and love the truth. The church's duty has always been to confront ("contend" against) false teaching and false teachers by clearly proclaiming the truth God has revealed in his Word. Yet in many places, the church has grown lazy, worldly, and self-satisfied. Church leaders are obsessed with style, flash and methodology, losing interest in the glory of God, God's Word (the Bible) and becoming grossly apathetic about truth and sound doctrine.
This is by no means the first time the "Truth War" has intruded into the church. It has happened in every major era of church history. Battles over the truth were raging inside the Christian community even in apostolic times, when the church was just beginning. Scripture indicates that false teachers in the church immediately became a significant and widespread problem wherever the gospel went.
In fact, ever since that day in the garden when the serpent tempted Eve, he has relentlessly attacked the truth with lies, using the same strategies over and over to sow doubt and disbelief in the human mind. He questions the truth God has revealed, "
Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (
Genesis 3:1), or "Did Jesus really mean that He alone is the ONLY way unto salvation? (
Many Christians today are weary of the long war over truth just as we officers are weary of the "
War on Cops
." They are uneasy about whether doctrinal disagreements and divisions are a blight on the spiritual unity of the church and therefore a poor testimony to the world. Questions constantly heard nowadays include, "Isn't it time to set aside our differences and just love one another?" "Rather than battling people with whom we disagree over various points of doctrine, why not stage a cordial dialogue with them and listen to their ideas?" "Can't we have a friendly conversation rather than a bitter clash?"
Scripture makes it very clear that (as here in
Jude, for example) we have an urgent mandate from God Himself to do our part in the Truth War. In fact, Jude's whole point in writing was to remind believers of their
duty to fight for the truth. The Holy Spirit, through the pen of Jude, is urging Christians to exercise caution, discernment, and courage, because "
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." (
Jude 4). .
This battle for the truth is vital. Truth is the only thing that can liberate people from the bondage of sin and give them eternal life (
John 8:32, 14:6
). That is precisely what Paul meant when he said the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (
Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18
). Truth (the simple truth of the
, to be specific) is absolutely necessary for salvation. "
For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
). Scripture is clear about this: There is no hope of salvation apart from hearing and believing the truth about Christ.
That is why nothing is more destructive than false "religion" (yes, that word is appropriate here). In this case, meaning to stray from truth and embracing the idea that there is no real truth, is leading the church into chaos and tolerance of sin in the name of Christianity.
My heart resonates with concern for the church, love for the gospel, and a passion for the truth and the lost (the latter being com
passion). I also find myself compelled, with a "Code 3" sense of urgency, to echo the inspired words of Jude and exhort readers who truly love Christ with the truth that we who know Him as Lord and Savior have all been called and commanded to contend earnestly for the faith (
Jude 3) and for the lost.
Truth is under heavy attack, and there are far too few courageous servant-warriors who are willing to fight. This fight is not merely about the thrill of defeating some foe or winning some argument, but about a genuine love for Christ, who is the living, breathing embodiment of all that we hold true and worth fighting for.
We live in a unique time in history and this little but oh-so-powerful book can help equip us for the untold challenges of living in the end times. Today's Christian "cop" (meaning EVERY believer, in this case) must be on guard for false doctrines and false, slick-tongued fraudsters which can so easily deceive us if we are not well versed in the Word and armored-up against the devil (the "Armor of God"). We need to know the Gospel and then protect and defend both it and those sheep who are so easily swayed and led astray. Authentic faith always reflects Christ-like behavior. Our life in Christ should rest on the authority of the Almighty (Father, Son and Holy Spriit) who empowers us to put faith into practice.
Finally, all this is said with the understanding that we first need that life-saving/life-changing personal relationship with God in Christ! Only then will we know His voice so well that we will serve and follow no other. Only then can we have the indwelling power and discernment of the Holy Spirit. Is that you? Are you truly "born again" in Him? If not, it is in this same spirit of contending (fighting) for the faith that I urge you to consider the following:
(1) Do you still cling to the false hope that you can "earn" or otherwise "badge" your way into heaven and escape hell because you are a so-called "good" cop or "good" person? Take
Good Person Test
and see how you do.