Jude’s Epistle to the called ones, beloved in the father, and kept in Christ is fast passed. Paul and other New Testament writers in their greetings, usually spend a moment thanking God for the receivers of the letter. But instead, Jude goes straightaway into the reason for writing to them.
At first, Jude seems to apologize for changing direction. “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. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 3-4). It appears that Jude’s original desire was to write about their common salvation, or the glory of the Gospel that they both share, but something caused that to change. Certain ones have crept in to the church’s fellowship that perverted God’s grace, which demanded that Jude’s focus change somewhat. Jude loved the brethren he was writing to, and advised them what needed to be done. They needed to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered! They needed to fight for the faith! This word “contend” is a very strong word. It refers to the actions of an athlete, conveying a strong sense of fighting for something, in this case “the faith.” Most of the time that we see this word faith (Greek pistis) in the Bible, it refers to the act of believing, as in faith in Christ. But here, as in a few other places, it refers to the content of what we believe in. Another example is Galatians 1:23 “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” “The faith” describes the content of Christians believe. These certain ones, these ungodly people are perverting that faith, even denying our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
Our goal, as we continue our exposition of Jude in verses 3-4, is to apply what we learn to our lives, because these very things are happening today throughout the church. Jude’s advice was to the beloved church of his day, but it’s also to the beloved of every age. Like them, we are also to contend for “the faith.” It’s not only defensive, but offensive in nature. The more we know what the faith entails, the better we will contend for it.