The little book of Jude is a short but powerful statement against those who dilute and warp the gospel of grace and salvation through Christ. Written nearly 2,000 years ago to address the teachings of ungodly men who had “crept in unnoticed” (Jude 1:4), it seemingly could have been written last week. The problems in Jude’s day are still very real in ours, and we would be wise to heed his warnings.
Jude had apparently intended to write a straightforward exposition of the doctrines “concerning our common salvation” (v. 3)—that is, the great salvation held in common by all believers who have been “called, sanctified…and preserved” (v. 1). But he was compelled instead, evidently by the Holy Spirit, to call for a vigorous defense of the faith in light of the arrival of apostate teachers. Jude “found it necessary” (v. 3), a strong word in the Greek that conveys the idea of urgent distress in view of a pending calamity. False teachers preaching and living out a counterfeit gospel were misleading those who needed to hear the true gospel, and it was imperative for Christians to quench such doctrinal error in all its forms.
Jude’s urging to “contend earnestly” (v. 3) doesn’t mean to be argumentative or contentious. Rather, the single Greek word epagonizomai, used only this once in the New Testament, literally means to “agonize over” or to “struggle with intense determination.” Like a warrior entrusted with a crucial task, our defending and contending for the faith is serious, urgent business. The adversaries are many, and like “ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15), they will tear and rend the coming generations if we don’t defend the faith wherever it is under attack.
“The faith” (v. 3) we are to defend incorporates “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), the entire body of Christian truth recorded in His Word. This includes a rigorous defense of the doctrine of special and recent creation, which serves as the foundation for all doctrines in the metanarrative of Scripture. And because it’s so vitally important, it should come as no surprise this doctrine remains under the most intensive and persistent attack within our culture today.
Having been “once for all delivered to the saints” (v. 3), God has entrusted the faith to us for guarding and safekeeping. This responsibility doesn’t fall only to specially trained theologians, apologists, and scientists, but to all “the saints” who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ. We must keep it intact and undefiled, teaching and preaching all of it to the greatest extent possible to every generation until Christ returns.
The Institute for Creation Research has stood in defense of the faith, and for the truth of special creation in particular, for nearly 50 years. And by God’s grace and provision, our ministry will soon enter a new phase when the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History opens this fall. We invite you to “contend earnestly” with us through your prayers and gifts of support to reach many more with the evidence that God’s Word is true and Jesus is coming again!
* Mr. Morris is Director of Operations at the Institute for Creation Research.