By Hamilton Smith
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” —Jude 3 NKJV
The faith of which Jude speaks is not the personal faith by which we believe, but that which is to be believed – the truth. When error prevails and opposition raises its head, it is not sufficient that we should expound the truth, we must contend for it. This implies conflict, but when Christ is assailed and the truth is at stake, we must not shrink from fighting the good fight of faith under any plea of Christian charity or love.
Moreover it is the faith for which we are to contend; that is, the whole circle of truth. We are not simply to contend for a particular truth. This indeed has been done, with the result that the truth as a whole has been lost and sects have been formed to maintain a particular truth such as holiness, the presence of the Spirit, the unity of the church, or the coming of the Lord.
Further let us note that the faith for which we are to contend is the faith “once for all delivered to the saints.” It admits of no addition, no modification and no development. There is no fresh communication of truth to the saints. It has been delivered to them once for all. We may have much to learn about the truth. God may grant fresh light upon the truth already revealed. We should grow in our apprehension of it knowing that the truth has been once for all delivered.
We are not called to contend with error. Many sincere souls have done so and formed crusades against different glaring evils. There are occasions, indeed, when contending for the truth necessitates the exposure of evil. But the great business of God’s people is with the truth, not the error. Jude does not say, “earnestly expose the error,” but “earnestly contend for the faith.”