“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” Jude 3-4.
Why did Jude write these words? He is telling us, his readers, that if we want to keep the salvation obtained in Christ we must stand ready to defend the faith which brings it. It must be protected against unscrupulous false teachers who are ungodly men that creep in unawares seeking to destroy the faith and rob the saints of their salvation v.4. Even though the gospel has been delivered and finalized, there will always be false teachers who seek to compromise, corrupt and destroy the faith Acts 20:29-30; 2.Tim.2:17-18; 2.Pet.2:1-3; 3:16-17. Believers are warned over and over again to make sure they adhere to the “pattern of sound words” 2.Tim.1:13; Tit.2: 1,7,8; Heb.13:7; 1.Cor.16:13. Some had already made shipwreck of the faith 1.Tim.1:19-20; 6:20-21.
Through the years I have both preached and heard many lessons developed from these simple verses. The message they teach, as well as the admonition and the warning presented to the readers is one that is never out of date. It is something to be heeded by every generation of Christians. Today, our faith is being severely challenged by an unbelieving, secular world, as well as by many in the religious realm. At this time, I can’t help but think of the question Jesus asked His disciples in Lk.18:8. “…When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
As I see it, we are living in a time when our faith is being tested more severely than at any time in my lifetime as a gospel preacher. No, here in America we haven’t had our faith tested like the early Christians had theirs tested, living in the wicked, godless world ruled by the Roman Empire. No, most of us have never had our faith tested by terrorists threatening to kill us if we don’t recant our faith. But, it has happened, and is still happening, in other parts of the world. As things develop, it may become a reality here much sooner than we realize. We will then see what Rev.2:10 really means. “Do not fear any of those things you are about to suffer. Indeed the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death. And I will give you the crown of life.” We usually think of this passage, “be faithful until you die.” In other words, stay faithful until you die of old age. But in the Greek it means, “Be faithful, even if you have to die physically for your faith.”
As America becomes more and more wicked and corrupt, and at the same time, being infiltrated by an enemy. Islam, that is willing to physically kill those who will not accept their ideology our faith is being tested. Peter tells us, “…If need be, by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1.Pet.1:7b-8. Will our faith stand the testing, even if by persecution? We are continually being confronted by a secular world that laughs at the idea of people expressing faith in God. We saw this mockery of faith just this past week, after the tragic killings in San Bernardino CA. No, it was not work place violence as some want you to believe. The killers were homegrown Muslim terrorists who managed to kill 14 and wound 21 others. In the aftermath of the tragedy, many were publically expressing their faith by offering prayers for the victims. But the “Daily News,” one of the larger newspapers in New York City, took the opportunity to mock those who offered prayers, by publishing their newspaper with the banner headline, “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.” One day God will fix it and the people responsible for such trash talk will live to regret it.
Brethren, we are at war!!! Our precious faith is continually being tested, almost daily by a world that does not fear God, to see if it is genuine, if it is the real thing. Yes, we are engaged in a great conflict. No, the battle is not to be a physical battle. It is a spiritual one, a continual, relentless struggle between the people of God and the world controlled by the devil and his angels 1.Jn.5:19. It is a battle for the eternal souls of men. As Paul says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” Eph.6:12.
Jesus never intended for His kingdom, His Cause for truth and righteousness, to be advanced by material weaponry Jn.18:10-11, 36. So, since the battle is a spiritual one, it will not be won by the use of physical armaments and weaponry. It will be won by those who through faith (firm persuasion, conviction and trust) follow Jesus Christ who will lead His people to victory. “What then shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Rom.8:31. “Yet, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” Rom.8:37. “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” 1.Cor.15:57. “Those who make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and those who are with Him are called, chosen and faithful” Rev.17:14. So, the means of our winning is through our faith, “For whoever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that overcomes the world – our faith” 1.Jn.5:4.