By Rev. J. Enos Windsor, DJD., Th.D.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
We Must Contend!
(This is a repost from Monday, 31 October. I accidentally deleted the article while deleting a draft article. Unfortunately, I did not print out the comments yet, so they were lost.)
Beloved . . . contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the' saints.
(Jude 3; A.R.V.)
Jude, the lowly apostle—a "slave of Jesus Christ," had a dilemma that frequently confronts every preacher of the Gospel. He wanted to write the Church about the common salvation.
Of course he did. So does every truly born-again, Spirit-filled ambassador of Christ today. That is our business—our stock in trade. But Jude was dissuaded by the Spirit. For the time being he was faced with a priority. He must write and exhort that each member of the early Church must be more than in the Faith. He must be a contender for the Faith.
Let us be clear in our thinking. Jude's position apprises us of two things: First, that there is only one Faith. It is the body of doctrine and belief "once for all delivered." There are no more systems of saving faith. Let us keep that in mind. There are no future "mightier" revelations. God has spoken, and His truth is the Bible —His veritable Word. If we want to know what God says about any theme, we must turn to the Scriptures.
The second thing that Jude makes clear is that this Faith had then, and would always have, its enemies. It would never be sufficient for Christians to just know this and do nothing about it. We must never be caught in a defensive position, but always be found on the offensive. We must contend earnestly, fervently—even vehemently—for the Faith.
In order that we might be able to recognize the enemies against whom we are to contend, Jude tells us a further two things:
First, that these enemies would arise from within the Church. They would be "certain men crept in unawares.” After they were in the flock, they would "turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.”
Brethren in Christ, this is a truth we need to have written with fresh emphasis upon our hearts and minds. Methinks we have forgotten that the Church cannot be hurt from outside, but always from the inside. Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ from the vantage point of "one of the flock." The "damnable heresies" about us today all claim the name "Christian"; all "use," or abuse, the Bible; all speak in glib terms of God, Christ, and righteousness. But discerning minds know, now as then, these "certain men." We know that while they use our terminology, they are not of us, and do not walk together with us.
The second thing Jude makes clear is how we shall recognize them. He says they deny "the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Peter, in speaking on this self- same theme, says they deny "the Lord that bought them." (II Peter 2:1.) Both of these statements mean the same thing. They set forth the two outstanding marks to be found in every heresy.
First, they deny the Lord. The personality of Jesus Christ is attacked. He is only a man. He was not born of a virgin. He was born with a sinful nature. He was never God. He was not God until He rose from the dead. He was a failure. He was an impostor, etc., etc. They are determined He will not be the historic and perfect Christ of Christianity.
Then they attack the very work He came to do—His atonement upon the Cross for man's redemption. This logically follows. If Jesus of Nazareth was not Christ, He could not redeem. Here begins all the vagaries of the heresies. With them, man is not a sinner, needs no redemption, is his own saviour. Therefore, the Bible is no longer God's book, and so a pure humanism takes the place of Divine revelation and redemption.
These two things—denial of Christ and His atoning work on the Cross—are to be found in every false teaching.
Against these things and their promulgators, you,and I must contend! We must contend honestly, authentically, fearlessly, efficiently, continuously, and victoriously.
God is still on the side of His truth. They that know their God will do exploits.
By Rev. J. Enos Windsor, DJD., Th.D.
The Discerner, October-December 1987, pg.13-14
Religion Analysis Service