Study 8 STANDING UP FOR THE TRUTH
DAYS OF HEAVEN UPON EARTH
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: The Letter of Jude)
When Jude began writing this letter he had in mind ”the salvation we share” - that is, the salvation shared by all who are saved; but in verse 3 we see that as he began to write, the Holy Spirit compelled him to appeal to his reader “to contend for the Faith which was once for all entrusted to the saints” - or as J. B. Phillips translates it, ‘Put up a real fight for the faith which was once for all committed to those who belong to Christ.’ Thus, we are reminded of the fact that it is our solemn duty, as believers, to stand up for the Truth.
Verse 1 tells us that as Christians we have been “called… loved by God the Father, and kept by Jesus Christ”; but verse 3 tells us that we are to contend for the Faith, or, as the word may be translated, we are to defend the Faith. This pre-supposes that the Faith is being attacked. This was the case in AD 66 when Jude wrote this letter (verse 4), but it is also true today. In those days wolves had come into the fold in sheep’s clothing (Acts 20:29). Today we need not be so concerned about the evil forces at work outside the church, politically and religiously; we should be more concerned about the evil forces at work inside the church, and because there are many false prophets who are doing the work of the Enemy (2 Corinthians 11:15), it is the clear duty of every believer to defend the Faith.
1. Notice, to begin with: WHAT IS IT WE ARE TO DEFEND?
The answer is: “The faith once for all entrusted to the saints”. 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 Word:
- It is DIVINE in its Origin. It was “entrusted to the saints” - 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 delivered to the saints through ‘holy men of God’ - and it is this Faith which is divine in its origin that we are to defend.
- It is UNIQUE in its Content. There is no other faith. This is the one and only perfect revelation of God, and Jude is careful to use the definite article here! It is “the Faith once entrusted…” , not a faith - compare Hebrews 1:1-3.
- It is COMPLETE in its Revelation. It is described as “the Faith once for all entrusted …” It is a complete and final revelation. It does not need any addition or any revision, for it is complete and 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 that progressive revelation begins in the Book of Genesis and ends in the Book of the Revelation.
- It is HOLY in its Nature. See verse 20. It was given by a holy God, by the agency of the Holy Spirit, through holy men and is called the Holy Scriptures, for the purpose of producing holy living, and leading men to the Holy City (Revelation 21:10).
Now in this Letter Jude mentions most of the fundamental articles of the Faith which we are to defend. Notice the following:-
- God is the Father of all who believe - verse 1.
- The glorious Person of our Lord Jesus Christ - verse 4.
- The doctrine of the grace of God - verse 4.
- The total depravity of man - verse 7
- The Personality of the Holy Spirit - verse 19.
- The existence of a personal Devil - verse 9.
- The fact of Judgment and Hell - verses 6,7,13.
- Justification by faith alone - verse 11.
- The personal return of Christ - verse 14.
- The eternal security of believers - verse 24.
- The sovereignty of God - verse 25.
- The historical accuracy and the prophetic value of the Old Testament and the New Testament scriptures - verses 5-19.
These are the great foundational truths to be defended at all costs.
2. Notice now: WHY ARE WE TO DEFEND THE FAITH?
The answer is: because the Faith is being attacked. Today all the great fundamental truths of the Christian Faith are being attacked and denied - not just by outsiders, but by men inside the church. Read through the above twelve points and see if they do not cover the very articles of our Faith that many today are denying. All the teaching in our schools and in the media about Evolution is a direct denial of the truth of God; and this denial has percolated into most of our denominational colleges, pulpits and much literature. Prophecy has been fulfilled - look up 2 Timothy 3:1-8; 4:1-4. We are to defend the Faith and stand up for the Truth! Why should we be silent when our precious Faith is being attacked, and robbed of its supernatural origin, power and glory?
3. Finally: HOW ARE WE TO DEFEND THE FAITH?
We should do it in three ways:-
- By Living it. There is no greater defence of the Faith and proof of its power than a Christ-like life. Though we must speak the Truth and stand up for the Truth, we must do it in love (Ephesians 4:15). Let us beware of becoming hard, critical, uncharitable and un-Christ-like. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
- By Proclaiming it. Preach the Gospel - the positive certainties of the Faith! This will kill error in the quickest way. By all means expose error, but do so mainly by positive instruction in the Truth. Do not become a heresy hunter!
- By Suffering for it. Rather than that the Faith should suffer, we must be willing to suffer, as thousands today are doing. Our forefathers died for the Faith. May God give us grace to follow in their train and at all costs to stand up for the Truth. Read Acts 7:54-60, and compare Acts 5:41-42.