Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.Jude 1:4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
In verse 3 two phrases seem to leap from the page, first Jude's intention "I was very eager to write" and second "I felt I had to write". He wanted to write about the salvation they had in common. It is interesting that although God speaks to us and deals with us as individuals we have a common salvation. We know ourselves that it is pleasant, exciting and satisfying to discuss the salvation we share and we gain a glimpse of the writers' heart in that he would rather talk about the positive things of life, but was willing to grasp the nettle. He felt he had to write to warn the church and to put them on their guard against those who would turn Christianity from a relationship into a religion. Introducing new innovations as though following ever fad and fashion of the day.
The church today can also be charged of following the latest craze or fad.
Jude tells them to "contend for the faith"; to fight for the truth but here we have to recognise that this is only a small part of what Jude is implying. James Hastings defines the word as follows:
CONTEND. -Generally, contend with in the modern sense of fight with, as Isaiah 49:25, 'I will contend with him that Contendeth with thee'; or 'argue with,' as Acts 11:2, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying.' But in the latter sense contend is also found without' with,' as Isaiah 57:16, 'I will not contend for ever' (prob. =argue with, accuse, condemn); Job 13:8, 'will ye contend for God?' (= argue with others for God, be an advocate for God), Amos 7:4 'the Lord God called to contend by fire' ( =argue, and so Micah 6:1 , 'contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice '). In all these passages the Hebrew is: riyb (reeb)In Jude 3, ye should earnestly c. for the faith', (epagonizomai) the meaning passes out of strife or argument into the wider sphere of earnest endeavour; as with the simple agonizomai., in Luke 13:24 , Strive to enter in at the strait gate,' and Colossians 4:12 'labouring fervently for you in prayers' (RV ' always striving for you '), and as Bacon, Essays, 'Let a man contend, to excel any Competitors of his in Honour.' [h]
The Greek word for 'contend' is the root of our word 'agony'. Therefore our verse could read, "I felt I had to write and urge you to earnestly agonise for the faith". This gives quite a different perspective as to what Jude meant. There are two thoughts here:
1) The thought of standing for the
truth, knowing scripture and teaching others the truth of the gospel. Opposing
false and erroneous doctrine through the teaching and expounding of sound
doctrine. Even if this stance should lead to death for it is better to die than
to deny the truth.
Verse 4 says that "certain men .. have secretly slipped in among you". Or "crept in unnoticed". Does this happen in today's church that impious men who lack respect, undutiful and ungodly in their actions are accepted. In answer to the question think how many times people gossip about their leaders slandering them, argue and cause dissent, or people who cause division or seek after their own ambitions to the detriment of others. Ask your self, "do I live up to the standard that Paul sets out in Romans?
" Romans 12:9 -18 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
The men that Jude talked about took the grace of God and the freedom that this brings and turned it into licence to enable themselves to indulge in sin of many kinds. They also denied the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ many groups do this today.
In his book "a Concise Guide to Today's Religions" Josh McDowell [i] says, "No matter what the particular beliefs of any cult may be, the one common denominator they all possess is a denial of the biblical teaching on the deity of Jesus Christ." These cults often have men who are strong leaders, and who have a powerful and arrogant belief in themselves. Jude says that such men were infiltrating the church for their own ends.
Introduction / Salutation verses
1 -2 / The Letter's purpose v.3-4 /
Historical warning v. 5-7