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Written by Bill Rudge @ https://billrudgeministries.wordpress.com
Original post @ https://billrudgeministries.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/what-does-it-mean-to-contend-for-the-faith/
What Does It Mean to Contend for the Faith?
BJ Rudge, Ph.D.
As Christians we are called to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The Greek word for contend refers to an intense effort or struggle like in a wrestling match. Thus, we as Christians are to be just like wrestlers in the sense that we are to display an intense effort in standing for the truth.
In light of this, over the next few weeks I will be doing a blog series that will help equip you to contend for the faith. The goal of this series is to provide you with practical biblical principles that will enable you to discern truth from error. While we do this, the following are some key points to remember.
First, our motivation in this process should be love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). We should never contend for the faith with an attitude of arrogance or with the mindset that our ultimate aim is to prove ourselves right. Instead, we should approach this ESSENTIAL task with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). Yes, we do need to clearly distinguish truth from error, but let us do this with Christ-like love:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
Second, we cannot judge the motives of a person’s heart. So often we try and act as judge and jury when it comes to evaluating the inner motives, attitudes and thoughts of others. However, while we can judge people’s doctrine (teaching) and their lifestyles, the heart of others can only be truly judged by God Himself. As Paul reminds the Corinthians,
“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
Third, let us strive to be known for what we believe rather than what we are against. Christians are often portrayed as being negative and critical of other people and their beliefs. We are often seen as formulating our beliefs as a reaction to what we don’t believe rather than what we do believe. While in any quest for truth there will be the need to expose error, let us not forget that the proclamation of truth will always have a greater impact than the detection of an error.
Contending for the faith will bring us face to face with false teaching, and the most effective way we can deal with that is by exposing it to the truth of the Gospel message. As Jesus reminded the Jews who believed in Him,
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32).
In part two, we will discuss the importance of biblical discernment.