Contending for the Faith

David Norczyk
6 min readJun 21, 2024

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Sometimes it is necessary to clearly communicate important information for the well-being of those we love. We warn our children about stranger danger and our elderly parents about cyber-scammers. In this, every Christian must be warned about false teachers promoting the doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1). We also need to warn church members about the intrusion of those who practice loose living.

In the early church, probably at or around Jerusalem, there was a very real danger posed by the libertines, who perverted the grace of God into a license for sinning. As the doctrines of grace were taught, certain people infiltrated the church with a set of behaviors that deviated from the Christian’s pursuit of holiness.

Jude, the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus, wrote a letter of exhortation for the beloved believers in Jesus, to contend for the faith once for all handed down to the saints (Jude 3). First, the saints are God’s holy ones. These are called out from the multitudes of sinners to be set apart unto God (Rom 1:7; Jude 1). Every Christian must examine himself to make his or her calling and election sure (2 Pet 1:10). In other words, he must be sure of his relationship to the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the catalyst of distinction between the born again and those void of the indwelling Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Cor 2:14). It is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit that transforms the sinner into becoming a saint (Rom 12:2; 1 Pet 1:2). This occurs when the elect, redeemed soul is transferred from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13), which is Christ’s Spirit-filled church in the world (Rom 14:17).

Jude intended to write regarding the common salvation of all who are in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30; Jude 3). Jesus, the eternal Son of God, was sent into the world to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). Jesus was enfleshed (Jn 1:14); and He lived like us as a man, yet without sin (Heb 4:15). As the unblemished Lamb of God (Jn 1:29), Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). He absorbed the wrath of God against sin on our behalf (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10); and He released us from our sins (Heb 9:22; Rev 1:5), by His precious blood of the new and everlasting covenant (Mt 26:28; 1 Pet 1:19).

God the Father planned our salvation by predestining His chosen people to adoption as sons (Acts 2:23; Eph 1:4–5). He gave His elect to God the Son in eternity past (Jn 17:2, 6, 24; 2 Tim 1:9; Heb 2:13b), having written their names in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 13:8; 17:8; 21:27). Jesus then saved us through His substitutionary atonement (Rom 5:8; 8:34; 1 Cor 15:3), taking our place of punishment and reconciling us to God (Rom 5:11; 2 Cor 5:18–20). He removed the enmity by His mediatorial redemption that meritoriously secured right standing with the Father (righteousness according to the terms of the eternal covenant); and Jesus gave us peace with God (Rom 5:1). He Himself is our peace (Eph 2:14; Col 1:20).

When God the Father and God the Son send God the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:26; 15:26), it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that introduces the Person and work of the third Person of our Triune Godhead to the recipient of Christ (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Jn 1:12–13; Acts 2:38). It is the work of the now indwelling Spirit to grant the gift of faith (Gal 3:22; Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2).

The Word of God is preached to all people, everywhere (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15). The elect, redeemed hear the truth, as it is in Jesus (Eph 4:21), and God’s grace causes them to believe unto justification (Rom 3:28; 5:1), that is the “not guilty” legal judgment, to the saving of one’s soul. This is followed by the salvation of one’s physical body at the resurrection to life on the last day at Christ’s second coming (Jn 5:28–29). Together, one’s glorified body and soul will then be conjoined and gathered to Christ (1 Thess 4:13–5:11).

This first faith is integral to our common salvation (Jude 3). Without this faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). With Christ now living in each beloved saint, life in the Spirit is especially marked by faith (Gal 2:20; 1 Cor 2:5). As we walk in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:16, 25; 1 Cor 1:24), we walk by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. We do not contend for this first kind of faith, however. Because the first faith is so intimately linked with the Holy Spirit, we know it is secure to the end (Jn 10:28; Phil 1:6; 1 Pet 1:4). We call this, “blessed assurance”. We are called by God and kept by God.

The second faith we wish to consider is “the faith” or “the Christian faith” to which Jude alludes in verse 3. It is actually a body of divinity, a body of doctrines that explain Christianity to us and to others. It, too, is shared in common by God’s chosen people in every place and throughout history. This set of doctrines is established by the special revelation of God in the Holy Bible (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21). God’s Word is true because God is true (Ps 119; Jn 17:17; Rom 3:4).

The centerpiece of God’s special revelation is Jesus Messiah, the True Israel of God (Is 49:1–6). We learn God by learning Christ (Jn 6:45), who is the mystery of God now revealed (Rom 16:25; Eph 3:4, 9; Col 4:3). The Spirit of Christ, who is the Spirit of truth, is our Teacher (Jn 14:6, 26), who causes us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). The Spirit illumines the eyes of our hearts (Eph 1:18), the eyes of faith, to see Jesus, whom we fix our eyes and our minds on as men made new (Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 5:17; Col 3:2; Heb 12:2).

We love Jesus, even though we have never seen Him with physical eyes (1 Pet 1:8). We want to be like Him because He always did what was pleasing to God the Father (Jn 8:29). Jesus was not licentious. He obeyed God; and He kept all the commandments of the Law of God to perfection (Jn 8:46). Indeed, Jesus fulfilled the Law unto righteousness Mt 5:17).

Jesus was identified as the Holy One of Israel and the Holy One of God (Is 43:3, 15; Mk 1:25; Lk 4:34; Jn 6:69). God is holy (Rev 4:8); Jesus is God (Jn 10:30); and yes, Jesus was the personification of perfect holiness. He was unstained by the world. He resisted the devil; and God declared that He was pleased with Jesus (Mt 3:17; 17:5). Our point is Jude’s argument to the true believers and against those who deny our Master and Lord (Jude 4). Christians speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), regarding God’s calling all men everywhere to repent from ungodliness (Acts 17:30). Let the judgment, performed by God’s Word, begin in the church, the household of God (1 Pet 4:17).

The grace of God unto salvation is the work of God to secure the people marked out for salvation from before the foundation of the world (Heb 4:3). Unrepentant libertines are reprobate unbelievers marked out for condemnation from long ago (Jude 4). These are vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (Rom 9:22). They are the wicked made for the day of evil (Prv 16:4). The Law of God exposes them for being already condemned (Jn 3:18). They continue in sin, until death; and then comes the judgment, a sentencing by the righteous Judge (Gen 18:25; Jn 5:22), Jesus Christ, who delivers them up for eternal punishment in the fiery hell of the lake of fire (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).

The Christian preacher must herald the whole counsel of God’s Word. The Sword of the Spirit declares both salvation and judgment (Eph 6:17). In the company of the faithful, the clever intruders, stealthy opposition, are openly confronted with their future. This is the most proactive means for chasing the goats away from the sheep and pronouncing judgment on the wolves in sheep’s clothing, who will depart for easier prey under a more liberal pastor/preacher.

Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor 15:33). The immoral people practice what they preach; and that is the false gospel of cheap grace that declares God loves everyone in their sins and will give greater grace the more sin abounds, so they say, “live and let live.”

The true Gospel of grace results in a heart and a life that pursues holiness as a doctrine and a lifestyle. Let us be sure to know the difference and make it clear to everyone, especially in Christ’s church. May we be found faithful to always contend for the faith in this way.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

June 21, 2024

Jude 1:3–4

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher