When I was a kid, I didn't like to get into fights. That's not to say I never got into fights, because I did from time to time. But I tried to avoid it. As a Christian, I don't necessarily like to fight, either. Most Christians would agree that fighting is not what we are primarily called to do.
At the same time, there was a side of our Savior that overturned tables and drove people out of the temple with a whip, that called the religious folks of his day a brood of vipers. And it's this Jesus that Jude brought to the forefront in his book, which I see as a sort of call to arms. Today I want to look at four components to this call:
1. The army. "Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you" (Jude 1:1-2). The army includes Jude, the author; Jesus Christ, the commander; and you and me, the troops. The real question in the Christian life is not will you be a soldier, but will you be a good, faithful, and loyal soldier, even when skirmishes come your way
2. The hostility. "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" (v. 3). Essentially, Jude was saying put up a good fight for the faith, the body of Christian truth as given in the New Testament. But that doesn't give us permission to be contentious. In fact, 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (NIV).
3. The artillery. Verse 3 tells us what it is: "The faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." Do you know that God has given us the most powerful weapon in the world? It's called truth—the Word of God. Not only do we fight for the faith; we fight with the faith. We combat error with truth. This is exactly what Jesus did when Satan came against Him in the wilderness to tempt Him (see Matthew 4:1-11) and when the religious leaders contended with Him (see Matthew 22:29).
4. The enemy. Who are we fighting against? Apostates—those who have rejected the faith. "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 lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 4). These are folks who want to use the name of Jesus, but they don't want to live under His authority (see Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46).
Every generation faces the challenges of apostasy and attacks on the truth. None of this should surprise us, because we find it in Scripture. The question is, are you ready to step into the ring? God is calling us to this battle, and He will see us through it, for the final victory has already been won. I pray He would give us courage during this time in which we live to stand up and fight for the faith.