Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

The faith once delivered to the saints

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.

Jude felt that he needed to send this exhortation to the saints of his day.  Almost two thousand years have passed and the need for this exhortation has not diminished with time.  This is not some quaint statement from a time long ago that is not applicable to our day.  This verse came to my mind this afternoon and as I meditated on it, it seemed that each of the words that I have highlighted are vitally important for those of us who call ourselves believers.

earnestly contend — The faith is under attack from all sides today.  We dare not think that if we ignore the attacks they will not affect us.  We need to mount a sustained defense of  the gospel.  That means seriously searching the Scriptures, calling on the Holy Spirit to help us understand their message and how it applies to every need and situation.  A Christian who is half-hearted about Bible reading and prayer will not be of much use in this battle.  One who relies on pat answers and catch phrases that no one else understands will not be able to withstand the attacks of the enemy, much less advance the cause of Christ.

for the faith — Let us be clear that it is the faith that we are defending, not a lifestyle, not a human tradition.  It is a relationship with God, based on the truth of His Word, the saving power of the blood of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.  Many saints in times past have given their lives rather than deny this faith.  It is still happening in some areas of the world and we have no guarantee that it will not be our turn some day.

which was once — There is not a new version of the faith for the twenty-first century.  We are the same kind of people as those who first received the faith, men of like passions, our needs are no different than theirs and the answer to those needs has not changed.  The only faith is the old faith given so long ago.

delivered — The faith has been given to us.  It is not the invention or imagination of long ago men who thought they were wise.  It is the gift of God to those who know in their heart that they are not wise enough to solve the great problems of life.

unto the saints — The faith was not given to the saints because they were holy.  In other words, it is not a prerequisite that we become holy in order to merit the faith.  It is the faith that makes us holy, the prerequisite is to feel our need of God and His salvation.  This faith is given to us as a gift, something that we do not merit in any way.  Our thankfulness for this saving faith moves us to be obedient to the giver of the gift.  Our thankfulness and obedience then allows the Holy Spirit to transform our lives so that we no longer live in the unholy ways of this world.  The gift of God is not given to those who still love the ways of wickedness.  Nor is it given to those who think they are better than the common run of humanity.  It is the confession of our weakness and unworthiness that allows the Holy Spirit to lead us in the ways of holiness.

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