The book of Jude has never been more relevant than it is today.
The church in Jude's day was in big trouble because unconverted Christian "imposters" had slipped into the church in great numbers, bringing in new and contaminated concepts about Christianity, that no longer fit the original teachings of Christ. (Much like what is happening to the Church of God today.) Keep that in mind as you read the following paragraph, written by the Apostle Jude over 2000 years ago.
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.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, (lawlessness) and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. KJV
What is the faith once delivered to the saints that we are supposed to "contend" for? What does contend mean anyway? I was shocked to find out that there are 7 different Greek words that are translated "contend." But, the one that Jude used was "epagonizomai" and it is only used one time in the whole Bible
. Here is a online description of this word.
"Jude's use of the word "diligence" makes this more than just an exhortation. It adds an intensity to his writing, as "do this now, don't wait." The reason was that false teachers perverting the faith had entered the church, and this needed immediate attention. The Greek word means "to struggle for" the faith, to intensify a healthy anxiety for keeping others from going into error."
DOES MODERN CHRISTIANITY TEACH WHAT THE EARLY CHURCH TAUGHT? HAVE THEY KEPT THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS??? That is an important question.
Thankfully, we have records of the early church, as well as the Bible to look at. We can check this out for ourselves.
The Wikipedia encyclopedia says,
"The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is the most widely accepted creed in Christianity. Since its original formulation it continues to be used in the
Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, Lutheran and
most other Protestant churches."
But, is this "Nicene" creed that all religion is based on today the faith that was once delivered to the saints???
If we look at the writings of the early fathers of the Christian church, we see that they were Anti-Nicene. The Anti-Nicene "fathers of the Church", such as Clement were commandment keepers. But they were fighting a losing battle.
By 325 a.d., the Nicene Council had changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. The changes in church doctrine that led to this was already starting in Paul's time. Where did Paul fall in this controversy?
We find that Clement, the same early "church father" already fore-mentioned, is mentioned in the book of Philippians by Paul as one of his faithful group of helpers. Paul says,
"And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.
This man called Clement of Rome [a.d. 30-100.] mentioned with praises by Paul, also wrote an epistle to the Corinthians, just as Paul had done. Mainly because the Corinthian church was in big trouble. They were under attack by what became the Nicenes. Diotrophes, their minister had even forbid the Apostle John to come there. But there were still some converted people left in that church and their was a fight for them. They were being taught false doctrines by their leader Diotrophes.
Clement also writes the Corinthians and asks them to continue in the Ten Commandments. Remember, as you read this, that it is copied from the early writings of the "Church fathers."
"And who did not rejoice over your perfect and well-grounded knowledge? For ye did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the commandments of God, being obedient to those who had the rule over you..."
Paul recognized Clement as one who would be in the book of life. So, how can it be that Clement praises the Corinthian church for commandment keeping. And then Paul a minister in the same church, teaches that the law is done away with? Did Paul and Clement his valued laborer disagree?
By teaching that the law was done away with, Paul would have been siding with Diotrophes and the whole Nicene approach. People may try to falsely say that Paul taught that the law was done away with. But that point is not true. The whole early church, including Paul, was contending hard for the faith once delivered to the saints.
Some might say, "Well, we don't know that this Clement of Rome is the same one that Paul dealt with." But if we read from "Sacred Texts," it says that the ancients say it was the same man. And, some of the writings of Clement makes distinct reference to Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians.
Clement in his own epistle to the Corinthians, praised them for keeping the Ten Commandments. If Paul says that Clement is one of his best helpers. Surely they did not disagree about church doctrine???
No, there was no disagreement. The misunderstanding about Paul's writings comes simply because Paul tried to clarify the concept of grace for the church, but his words were twisted and not fully quoted in context, then and now. Peter makes reference to this.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:14-16 NIV
ON THE SUBJECT OF GRACE, if you remember what Jude 1:3,4 says in the first scripture given in this article, Jude states that grace is the issue that godless men are using to promote lawlessness.
Now, look more closely at what Paul truly says about grace, without the comments of those who twist his words. Pay attention to the word "never" below, and see what Paul applies it to.
Paul say, "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under (the penalty of the) law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Never! Don't you know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But, thank God, although you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of doctrine to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became the slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:14-18).
Are you a slave of righteousness? We all should be if we want to keep the true faith.
In the context of what Paul wrote about grace, read one last time what Jude said about grace, in the context that the whole church was under Nicene attack.
For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
Based on this, it really doesn't matter what the godless men in the Nicene Council decided nearly 400 years after Christ. Nor, does it matter to true Christians, that all of "Christianity" bases their teachings on the Nicene Council, which changed the grace of God into a license to sin. And changed the Sabbath to Sunday.
All that matters is that there is no disagreement between Jude, Paul and Clement on what it means "to keep the faith."