Study 10 DEFENDING THE FAITH IN DARK DAYS
TWELVE OF MY FAVOURITE BIBLICAL THEMES
by Francis Dixon
Study verses: The Letter of Jude
When Jude began this letter his purpose was to write of ”the salvation we share” (verse 3) – that is, the salvation enjoyed by all the saved; but as he began to write the Holy Spirit compelled him to appeal to his readers earnestly to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”; or, as one translation has it: “Put up a real fight for the faith which has been once for all committed to those who belong to Christ”. So we are at once reminded that it is our solemn duty as believers to defend the faith in these days of apostasy and decline in which we live. Notice that verse 1 tells us that as Christians we have been ”called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ”; but verse 3 tells us that we are not only to rejoice in and enjoy the blessings of the gospel, not only to spread and propagate the good news so that others may be saved, but we are to contend for it, or defend it. This presupposes that the faith is being attacked. This certainly was the case in AD 66 when Jude wrote this letter, as verse 4 makes clear, but it is also true today. In those days “wolves” had come into the fold in sheep’s clothing, and the same is true today (Acts 20:29). Today, although we need to be concerned about the evil forces which are at work outside the Church, we should be particularly concerned about those which are at work inside the Church; and because there are many false prophets who are doing the work of the Enemy, it is the clear duty of every believer to defend the faith - look up 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
1. What are we to defend?
”The faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints”; that is, we are to defend the whole body of revealed truth which is contained in the whole of the inspired canon of scripture, the Word of God. We are told four things about this precious deposit of truth:
- 1. It is divine in its origin. It was ”entrusted to the saints” - but by whom? By man? No - look up 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21. God is the author of the faith which He has ”entrusted to the saints” through holy men of God - and it is this faith that we are to defend.
- 2. It is unique in its content. There is no other faith - this is the one perfect revelation of God; notice that Jude is careful to use the definite article here. It is “the faith …entrusted… ”; it is not a faith - compare Hebrews 1:1-3.
- 3. It is complete in its revelation. It is a complete and final revelation which will never need addition or revision because it will never change. With the closing of the canon of scripture God completed the revelation of His truth. There is a doctrine of the Progressive Revelation of truth - but the progressive revelation begins in the book of Genesis and ends in the last book of the Bible.
- 4. It is holy in its nature (verse 20). It was given by a holy God, through the Holy Spirit, through holy men, and called the Holy Scriptures, to produce holy living and leading men to the Holy City - look up Revelation 21:10.
Jude mentions most of the fundamental articles of The Faith we are to defend:
- 1. God is the Father of all who believe (verse 1)
- 2. The glorious Person of our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 4)
- 3. The doctrine of the grace of God (verse 4)
- 4. The total depravity of man (verse 7)
- 5. The personality of the Holy Spirit (verse 19)
- 6. The existence of a personal Devil (verse 9)
- 7. The fact of judgment and Hell (verses 6,7,13)
- 8. The justification of the sinner by faith alone (verse 11)
- 9. The personal return of Christ (verse 14)
- 10.The eternal security of believers (verse 24)
- 11.The sovereignty and keeping power of God (verse 25)
- 12.The historical accuracy and the prophetic value of the Old and New Testament scriptures (verses 5-19).
2. Why are we to defend the Faith?
Because the Faith is being attacked. Today all the great fundamental truths of the Christian Faith (outlined above) are being attacked and denied, not only by outsiders but by men inside the Church. Read through the above twelve points and see if they do not include the very truths which many today are denying. Much of the religious teaching in our schools and in the media is a direct denial of the truth of God as revealed in His Word; and this denial has percolated into most of our denominational colleges, into many of our pulpits and into much so-called Christian literature. Prophecy has been fulfilled! - look up 2 Timothy 3:1-8; 4:1-4. We are to defend the Faith. We are to stand up for the truth. Why should we be silent when our precious faith is being attacked and when some who are supposed to be our spiritual leaders are trying to rob our faith of its supernatural origin, power and glory? - look up Psalm 11:3.
3. How are we to defend the Faith?
We are to defend it “earnestly” (verse 3 KJV); there must be action. Look up 2 Timothy 2:5; James 1:20; and we must do it in three ways:
- 1. By living it. There is no greater defence of the faith than a life that proves the reality and beauty of Christ-likeness. Though we must speak the truth and stand up for it, we must do this in love (Ephesians 4:15). We must beware of becoming hard and uncharitable in defending the faith (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
- 2. By proclaiming it. Preach the gospel, the positive certainties of the faith! This will kill error in the quickest possible way. Error must be exposed, but mainly by positive instruction in the truth. Do not become a heresy hunter!
- 3. By suffering for it. We must be willing to suffer, as millions today are doing, rather than allowing the faith to suffer. Our forefathers died for the gospel’s sake - look up Mark 8:35 and compare Acts 5:41-42; Acts 7:54-60.