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What the Bible says about Contend Earnestly
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Galatians 1:8

Paul says here that if he or any of the other apostles—or even what would appear to be an angel—were to preach a different gospel to the Galatians than what they had first understood, that teacher was to be accursed. Being "accursed" could run the gamut from God's judgment and wrath falling upon him to being an instruction to part company from that person and not allow him to teach any longer.

The underlying thought here is the same as Jude 3: to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." It is evident that there is a specific gospel which Christ brought, and any variance from that is a falsehood. In the Old Testament, God required the utmost purity in the way He was worshipped. Now, under the New Testament, the purity has to be even greater—Christ came to magnify the law and reveal the spirit and intent, thus doing away with loopholes and technicalities. Just as there were rigid requirements under the Old Covenant, the gospel of the New Covenant is precise and does not allow for variance. There is only one "way" to eternal life—our relationship with God made possible by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (John 14:6). The notion of "many paths, all leading us to the same place" is utterly erroneous. If the gospel is changed, or any of the associated doctrines are changed, the resulting body of understanding will produce a different faith than that which is necessary for salvation. Purity of the gospel and doctrine is extremely important.

David C. Grabbe

Philippians 1:27

Paul wrote this to the Philippian church, considered to be one of his better, most beloved congregations, before the major apostasy of the late first century hit full stride. However, he was already beginning to warn them that they needed to be united in one spirit and one mind and strive, show some effort, work hard, to keep the unity of the faith.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude

Hebrews 10:22

Let us draw near - God always encourages us to draw close to Him in prayer. Here Paul instructs us to do so with unwavering confidence, fullness of faith, without any doubt, because the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has cleared our conscience and paved the way into God's presence.

Today, some no longer feel the need to pray and study daily. They make the excuse that they do not have enough time. There is not enough time NOT to pray and study! The Day is approaching! Paul writes in Romans 13:11-14:

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly. . . . But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

If we fail to use these very vital tools of prayer and study—which will help us "walk properly" and "put on the Lord Jesus Christ"—we will find ourselves separated from God. That is the last thing we want as the Great Tribulation approaches!

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Contend Earnestly

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope - This is Paul's reason for writing the epistle. They were enduring great pressure to relax their standards. Some were beginning to return to their former beliefs and to the world. Apostasy had begun to set in.

Today in the confusion of the times, we can allow our foundations to be chipped away by listening to the myriad of differing opinions and beliefs. So many voices babble incessantly, each one trying to get our attention, that they can nearly drive us mad with confusion! Confusion not only affects what we believe but also our zeal for God's way of life. It is imperative we "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

Jesus gives us this warning in His messages to the Thyatira, Sardis, and Philadelphia churches:

But hold fast what you have till I come. . . . Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. . . . Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown" (Revelation 2:25; 3:3, 11).

It is of paramount importance to keep a firm grip on the true teachings of God's Word.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Contend Earnestly

Jude 1:1

One commentary opines that Jude is the most neglected book in all the New Testament, and it is not difficult to consider this to be true. It is primarily known for verse 3, "earnestly contend for the faith," and for verses 24 and 25, a noble and uplifting praise of God. The book is only twenty-five verses long, and it is tucked between the oft-quoted Johannine epistles and the well-worn, dog-eared pages of Revelation. In addition, Jude does not provide much in the way of doctrine or Christian living. Besides this, it is almost a carbon copy of II Peter 2.

Most of Jude is a scathing denunciation of false teachers—the smoke almost rises from its pages. The denunciation is sandwiched between two short, three-verse sections in which he exhorts them to faith and love. One of the factors that nearly kept it out of the canon was that Jude quotes two passages from apocryphal books, "The Assumption of Moses" and "The Book of Enoch," both of which were written between the writing of Malachi and beginning of the New Testament. Though they were apocryphal, Jude has no problem quoting passages from them.

Though it seems as if this book has several prohibitive factors, these are merely human perceptions. God has no problem with it, as He included it within the Bible for a reason. He saw something in it that would be of great value to His people down through the ages, and perhaps, due to His omniscience, He inspired Jude to write it specifically for the end-time church when the events that the apostle mentions would be most applicable. Certainly, it applied to those in the first century, since he wrote it to counter specific problems of the time. It really is a timeless book because the circumstances of Jude's day crop up from time to time within the church.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude

Jude 1:3

Following his opening, he begins his letter by saying, "I really wanted to write something theological to you, something about our salvation, but this matter came up, and I feel that it is more necessary to write to you about this more pressing problem."

In the strongest possible terms, he tells them to fight, to strive, to struggle for the truth as it had been given to them by the apostles, who in turn had been taught by Christ Himself. The word translated "contend earnestly," epagonizomai, is very interesting and picturesque. We have a word in English that derives from its root: "agony." Epagonizomai means literally "to agonize about," thus "to contest" or "to contend." It describes the efforts of an athlete to win his particular competition in the midst of the games, whether it was running, javelin throwing, discus, or whatever the particular sport. An athlete who is truly devoted and focused on winning gives his every ounce of strength to come out on top. Jude uses epagonizomai to demonstrate how we should be exerting ourselves in keeping the truth pure and practicing it. It suggests a person straining for all he is worth to ensure the faith's purity in both its principles and practices. This struggle is hard and painful at times—sometimes even deadly—but the truth is that important to God and to our brethren, the church.

Jude also affirms in this verse that the truth we need for salvation has already been given once for all. This is a very important distinction because it lays the foundation for what he writes later. The truth was given—and that is that! There is no continuing revelation, no evolution of truth. It was closed by the passing of the apostles, specifically the Twelve.

We could paraphrase this with, "Beware of those who say they have 'new' truth." Refinements of or gleaning deeper meanings from an "old truth" are fine, but claims of new truth should raise red flags. They should sound sirens and flash lights in our mind. The truth, the faith, has been delivered once for all. We should cling for all we are worth to the Scriptures and should not listen to those who claim to have special revelation. The Bible should always be the basis of our belief in anything spiritual. If a teaching does not square with the Bible, we should reject it; anything contrary to the faith once delivered should be thrown out as soon as possible.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude


 




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