“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
JUDE MAKES TWO POINTS ABOUT THE GOSPEL, EACH OF WHICH OUGHT TO IMPRESS US. First, he calls it “the faith.” And second, he says that it was “once for all delivered to the saints.” The faith is not an ever-evolving system of belief, supplemented in each generation by continuing revelation from God. Instead, it is a body of teaching completely and definitively revealed to the apostles in their generation, just as Christ said it would be (John 14:26; 16:12,13). Having been delivered, it stands complete — once for all.
Although he wanted to write about the salvation he and his brethren were blessed to enjoy, Jude says he found it necessary to urge them to “contend for the faith.” They were being assailed by teachers promoting a false gospel, and the content of this teaching needed to be contradicted in no uncertain terms.
“Contending” can be an ungodly activity, but it is not necessarily so. Paul urged Timothy to avoid the ugly side of controversy: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24,25). Nevertheless, the faith must be contended for. Paul himself “had no small dissension and debate” (Acts 15:1,2) with the false teachers who came to Antioch.
Here is a bold affirmation, but one I believe needs to be made: the gospel is not only true, but it can be rationally and objectively known to be true. It is not something that should be swallowed naively; in fact, it requires careful evaluation. But if the message of Christ is true, it is by far the most important truth in the world — and it is worthy of being defended. Just as surely as the gospel is preached, there will be those who corrupt it. When they speak up, those who know the Scriptures must speak up also.
Seek the truth
Listen to the truth
Teach the truth
Love the truth
Abide by the truth
And defend the truth
To the death.