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Fight For The Faith


“Dear friends …I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”  No, that’s not me making this statement.  These are New Testament words found in Jude, verse 3.


The Greek word “epagonzomai” is translated as “contend” in this verse. (NIV)  This Greek word consists of “epa,” meaning upon or about, and “agon,” meaning to contest.  “Epagonzomai” as a verb thus means to contest, as in a debate, a sporting event, or any kind of conflict between people, whether friendly or unfriendly.   This is why the NIV and other translations translate this Greek word as “contend”.  Contend means to strive, vie, or struggle against something or someone.   


Jude tells all saints,  not just those who are intellectually inclined, to contend, or fight for the faith.  He told his readers to fight for the faith because even in those early days of faith in Jesus the core truths of the gospel were being undermined by false teachers from within their own ranks. 


Notice that Jesus actually entrusted us with the truth of the gospel, which is somewhat surprising to me knowing man’s track record concerning matters of trust. But that’s my carnal thinking.  I’m sure Jesus knows what He is doing.  


Things haven’t changed since Jude’s days. Now more than ever core Christian truths  are under attack, and its not always from those without.  As in Jude’s day, there are those within Christian circles attempting to undermine the central truths of Scripture, and I’m talking about the primary teaching, not secondary doctrines. 


First century Christians were being attacked on two fronts.  Roman soldiers were killing them, while false teachers were trying to kill their faith.  But what’s worse, losing your faith or loosing your life?  Loosing your faith determines your eternal destiny, so that’s worse.  Loosing your life only gets you into eternity.   


In today’s world the attack from within Christian circles is eroding core Christian values and truths.  The erosion begins by questioning the inspiration of Scripture and then its primary teachings.  Before the core teachings of the Bible can be discarded, the Bible itself has to be discredited in one’s thinking.  Once the Bible is discredited in one’s thinking, it makes no sense to believe  what it says, and that includes basic teachings such as the divinity of Jesus and even the existence of God.


This erosion is  not new.  There’s been a few re-occurring heresies throughout the centuries that keep re-appearing in new packages.  One reason for the modern day erosion goes back as far as what is known as the Enlightenment period of history when many people began to question all kinds of  belief systems.  This questioning led to skepticism.  This questioning and skepticism found its way into Christian circles when some scholars demythologized the Bible in the 1800’s.  This means that these scholars chose to no longer believe in the supernatural aspects of Scripture.  Such a teaching as the Deity of Jesus could no longer be  believed because it is part of the Bible’s supernatural content.  Well, once you remove the supernatural from the Bible, you’ve ripped out most of its pages.


This demythologizing caused people to believe that the Scripture wasn’t inspired by God, and could not be historically or scientifically accurate. Thus the Bible was only good for certain moral and religious teachings. This kind of thinking has been firmly entrenched in much of the liberal church but I believe this same thinking has slowly infiltrated Evangelical circles over the last 70 or so years, and even more so of late.


It’s also my contention that many Evangelicals have put their Bibles on their shelves instead of letting it take root in their hearts and lives. As one Christian of 15 years absurdly asked, “do you think it’s time for me to start reading my Bible”?  And for many who do read their Bibles it’s for inspirational purposes only, not to really know and understand what it’s saying. 


When the Bible is set aside from its proper place in Christian circles, it doesn’t take long before Jesus and faith are set aside as well. This, along with the humanistic liberalism I’ve mentioned is what the fight is all about.  The erosion of the importance of the Bible  in the church and in the individual will eventually destroy the believer’s trust in Jesus altogether.       


Paul says that in “later times some will abandon the faith, and follow deceiving spirits, and things taught by demons”. (1 Tim. 4:1 NIV)  I’m not sure how close we are to the end, but these words sure seem appropriate today.


We as Christians should resolve once again that the Bible is indeed God’s inspired message book to mankind, and that we’ll stand up and be counted for the its truths.  Beyond simply standing, we’ll contend for the faith in whatever way possible, understanding that our fight is primarily against demonic forces who are using people from within and without our ranks.  We should also remember that our weapons are spiritual in nature.   And lastly, we will certainly take the Bible off our shelves and let it effect our lives in the way it should. We can’t afford to be slack in this matter.     


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