“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jude 3
The Bible tells believers to share their faith, witness, try to persuade unbelievers to believe, and also act like an ambassador for Jesus Christ. But there is more to be said which is often overlooked. In the second to last book of the Bible, Jude 3 clearly challenges all believers to, “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” The author, whose name is Jude, was very concerned about false teachers who were meeting with Christians in order to teach them that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God. These so-called “leaders” were leading the people into sinful living. He wrote the believers to contend against the error.
Christians are to contend for their Christian faith. In other words, in addition to sharing their faith and living a life honorable to Jesus Christ, at times, they should affirm, assert, reason, declare, maintain, or plead. When Jesus Christ issued the Great Commission to go into all the world to make disciples, it also meant to Contend Without Contention. [See Matthew 28:18-20].
Christians are not to create contention. They are not to heatedly disagree, dispute, or pick a verbal fight. Believers are not expected, or instructed to create strife, but proclaim truth. Peter instructed believers who were suffering for the faith by saying, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” [1 Peter 3:15-17].
Paul instructed the Colossian Christians to be wise when witnessing. You don’t want to win an argument and lose a soul. Colossians 4:5,6 states, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Contend for your faith in Jesus Christ without creating contention. Paul told the Philippian Christians that, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then whether I come and see you, or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in anyway by those who oppose you.” [Philippians 1:27,28b]. You may suffer when you decide that the Good News is the most needy news that needs to be heard in your community, and around the world. Fulfilling the Great Commission may cost you something. Stand for truth. Jesus is the truth. [John 14:6]. Suffer for love. God is love. [1 John 4:8,16]. Build each other up in the faith. [1 Thessalonians 5:11]. Contending for your faith is not battling someone with words, but explaining and expressing to people who Jesus Christ is, what He did, and why He did it.
Contend for your faith by building bridges rather than burning them. Christians are not called to condemn people, but show Christ’s love. They are not to yell, or scream the Good News, but called to explain it like Paul, in Athens. [Read Acts 17]. All the apostles, except John, died by contending for their faith. They obviously built bridges, because the Gospel spread throughout the world. You are reading this article today because of Christians who believed they should, Contend Without Contention.
SOMETHING TO DO
THINK AHEAD - What could you say when a religious group that does not believe the Gospel knocks on the door of your home? Rather than quickly saying, “No thank you!” is there something you could do to CONTEND for your faith in Jesus Christ?
SOUL TIME PRAYER
Heavenly Father, I am asking that You would empower me to share the Good News that has changed my life. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to fulfill Your Great Commission. Teach me how to love others as You do, and to Contend Without Contention, when someone disagrees with me about Who You are, and what You have done for all who believe. AMEN.