Contending for the faith Pt. 1
“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.”
In the last write up, I made it explicitly clear that there are other faiths like rastafarianism, Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, African traditional worship, Eckankar, Mormonism, Jehovah’s witnesses, Grail message, Baha’i faith just to mention a few, that is founded on different beliefs that people put their trust on. But the Christian faith is built ON CHRIST who is the author and finisher of our faith. The Christian faith which Apostle Jude referred to as “the faith” is that Christ was crucified, died, was buried, he rose from the dead on the third day, he ascended into the heavens and that he is now glorified and that ONLY through the redemptive works of Christ is SALVATION, DELIVERANCE FROM SATAN & SIN, JUSTIFICATION, FORGIVENESS OF SIN, CLEANSING FROM SIN, ACCESS TO GOD, THE NEW CREATION, THE NEW COVENANT etc. Having established the basis of our faith, it is here then that the writer Apostle Jude is telling us to contend earnestly for the faith that was delivered unto us.
The Greek translated contend as epagōnizomai which means to struggle for. Interestingly the word contend appeared only once in scriptures. The faith that was handed over to us is very precious and it must be defended at all cost. The Greek word translated “the faith” is pistis and it means persuasion that is credence; moral conviction (of the truthfulness of God especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; forgiveness, justification, deliverance, healing etc. Believers in Christ should contend for the faith which was once delivered unto us. The capacity to effectively contend for the faith is predicated on our accurate understanding of the faith. Christ is the faith and our faith is rested on CHRIST.
All across several generations, there has been subtle introduction of elements into the faith which completely contradicts the faith. In the days of Paul, there were teachings in the Galatian church that a man is justified by the works of the law but Paul vehemently resisted such teachings and stated emphatically that NO MAN is justified by the works of the law. It was still in the Galatian church that “another gospel” was introduced. Galatians 1:6
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”. The faith that we believe and the faith that we preach is the gospel of the grace of God. The exclusion of the grace of God in any gospel we preach invalidates that gospel.
Stay with me on this journey.
To be continued!
Rev. Ikponmwosa Timothy Iyoha
President, Insight & Foresight Ministries Int’l.