Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
As we noted yesterday, God directed Jude to write about spiritual apostasy. In every generation, the majority of people reject the truth. The majority of people choose either to completely reject the true God, or they form some idea of their own version of who the true God is. That was true in the days of Noah. It was true in the days of Nimrod. Sadly it was also true in the nation of Israel. God gave them true prophets in every generation, and yet many times even the king rejected the true God and chose his own version of truth, which of course is not truth at all.
Jesus Christ addressed the lies of the false teachers on a regular basis during His 3 1/2 years of public ministry. The apostles spent some time addressing the false teachers of their time as well. In the book of the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus addressed seven local churches. Most of those churches had some things that they were failing Jesus Christ in. They needed to get back to the truth.
Certainly in my lifetime apostasy has been a big thing. I was raised in a Mennonite Brethren home and church. We were faithful in attending church as far as I can remember. However, as a young person I was greatly confused by what I was observing in the world and what I was being taught in church and what I was being taught at home. My observation was that religion is a fluid thing. It is an ever changing thing. No one seemed to have any solid answers to what was happening. The church I was raised in has changed so drastically that it cannot be recognized in any sense of a church that Jesus Christ is building. There is nothing there that even resembles truth.
In Jude verse 3, God directed Jude to begin with the word “beloved”. The word translated as “beloved” has the meaning of endearment. The Bible tells us that God so loved the world. That is true. However, the world does not appreciate God’s love and thus misses out on the blessings they could have. Those who are saved have received God’s love in their hearts and there is a special relationship that God’s children have with Him. The Bible tells us that God chastens His children but it also says that those who are lost are ‘bastards”. That word is used in a derogatory sense in the world, but it means an illegitimate child. Lost people are not part of God’s family and they do not receive the same care that saved people receive. God expects things of His children that lost people cannot do. Lost people are accountable to God, and will be judged for their rejection of Him. Saved people have the privilege of crying out “Abba Father” to God. That is a phrase that expresses a closeness with the Father.
Some in the world look on from the outside with envy and jealousy, but they choose not to enter into the family of God. A few people turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and they are then privileged to know God’s love in a deeper way.
Jude is directed to address those who are saved with the seriousness of the times. Jude gave all diligence to write of the common salvation.
The “common salvation” is in reference to the fact that salvation is the same for all people, both Jew and Gentile. It is also in reference to the basic principles of salvation. God reminds us often in His Word of the basic principles of salvation. Nowhere in the Bible can any person ever find a place where God teaches “works salvation”. The Bible is clear that man must believe in God to be saved. Obedience is clearly taught as the evidence of salvation.
Jude was directed by God to write this short epistle. God gave him some general thoughts that were common to the rest of Scripture. Now God is turning his attention to some further reminders of the importance of faithfulness to the truth.
The word “exhort” means to “call near”. The Greek word translated as exhort here is found 108 times in the New Testament. In Mark 1:40 it is translated as “beseeching”.
Mark 1:40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
The leper wanted Jesus to stop and make him clean. He wanted Jesus to come near to him and heal him.
In our text God is calling the saints to draw near to Him and listen to what He has to say. God wants His children to pay attention to what He has to say. Everything that God has to say is very important. None of it should be skipped over or taken lightly. God has no “jokes” in the Bible. It is all serious truths that need to be heard and received.
Jude was directed to write that the “beloved” should “earnestly contend for the faith”. To earnestly contend means to fight for. We do not need to fight to make God’s way of salvation last. We need to fight for the truth that God has already given us. That fight is not a physical fight with earthly weapons. That fight is the faithful preaching and teaching of God’s Word on every occasion that God gives us. We need to be sure we do not cave in to the New Evangelical or the Catholic or the United church or any other false religious group that has distorted the truth. Those who are saved are called to come out from among them and be ye separate (II Corinthians 6:17).
It is not possible to contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints, if you are walking a compromised life. If you are walking a compromised life, you will not even recognize what the faith is. In II Peter 2:7 God identified Lot as a “just man”. When we go back and look at Lot’s life, we see that he did not realize the danger he was personally in, nor did he understand the danger he was putting his wife and children in.
The saints need to be called near to be reminded of the importance of true salvation. They also need to be reminded of the blessing of true salvation. Those who are walking humbly and closely with the Lord will not forget this important truth, but we know from God’s Word that we are all capable of slipping into a careless attitude toward God’s Word.
Notice here as well that the faith being referred to was “once delivered unto the saints.” The faith that we must have is the same faith that Jude had. Some of us are interested in past history. Some of us wonder how exactly they lived in the past. We can go to museums or to certain “pioneer” events and we can learn some things. What is more important is the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. The good news is that the truths of that faith are not lost, nor have they been compromised. They are found in God’s Word. If we look around us, we can see serious and fatal compromise of that faith. That is why we must go back to the source. Every generation should go back to the Word of God. We need to pray for one another, that we might have that continued alertness to the facts. We need to pray that we would not settle for second best. We can have the truth and we need the truth.
It is important that we understand that salvation has always been the same in every generation. God has never changed His gift of salvation because it does not need changing. We can be blessed with His gift of salvation and we can be blessed with the privilege of giving others that same gift. We do not need to go searching and seeing if someone else has a better plan. All true saints are saved by God’s grace by putting their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s message in Acts 20:21 still is the central message for today:
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s challenge to those who are saved today is still to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Let us be sure to do that each and every day.