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by Joseph Strocchia
“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
Jude had original intentions to write a letter to a group of fellow believers about their mutual faith and salvation, but he was compelled to encourage them to contend for the faith because there were people in their midst that were preaching a gospel that caused many of them to doubt the true message of Jesus that they had accepted.
It wasn’t just Jude who felt urged by the Holy Spirit to encourage believers to stand firm for what they knew to be true. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 10:5, said,” we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” Paul also wrote to one of his young assistants, Titus, and encouraged him to “teach what is in accord with sound doctrine,” 2:1, and he informed him that the elders of his church “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it,” 1:9.
Peter also wrote, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15.
It was important for the contention of the faith then, and it is still important today–especially as it concerns the origins of our world.
As believers in Christ we attest to the truth that God created all that we see and know. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1. There are many scoffers and jeerers who attest to the opposite saying, “Billions of years ago nothing exploded into everything and life as we know it has been evolving ever since.”
We must stand firm in our faith that God is Creator of all, but we must do so–as Peter implored–with gentleness and respect. People who oppose God are lost spiritually and their greatest need is Jesus. As believers in Christ, we have what they need and one of our desires should be to show them the genuine love of our Lord and to share with them the reason we have set our hope in Him.
But it’s also just as important that we know what we believe, in Whom we believe, and why we believe it and we should stand ready to defend this against those who would oppose it.
Are you ready to stand firm in your faith against those who would oppose it? Are you also ready to show them the love of Christ as you stand up for your faith? It’s important that we all do both!