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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Contend Earnestly

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Jude contains only 25 verses but is replete with spiritual riches. In the very first verse there are three words that call us to attention and beautifully define us – “the called, beloved … and kept (NASB).” We have been called out of the darkness into his marvelous light (I Peter 2:9). We are also the beloved, which one translation renders as “wrapped in the love of God the Father” (NEB). And we are kept by God himself in spirit and soul and body (I Thess. 5:23). What deep and precious promises to every believer: to be called, beloved and kept.

And if that weren’t enough, in verse two he loads us up again with another trio, this time a blessing: “May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.” A proliferation of mercy, peace and love…how do we even take that in? Only as the chosen, beloved, kept ones can we take this blessing in, receive it and make it fully ours.

And as soon as Jude lays this foundation, in verse three he appeals to the believers to “contend earnestly for the faith.” At that time in the early church some ungodly people had infiltrated, full of their own indulgences and shame, reviling the things of the Lord, defiling, mocking and causing divisions. They had turned grace into license. Jude’s answer? Keep standing in your faith and “contend earnestly,” by these means (vs. 20-24):

--build yourselves up in faith;

--pray in the Holy Spirit;

--maintain yourself in the love of God;

--await his mercy and show mercy to those who are caught stumbling, knowing that One can keep you as well from stumbling and enable you to stand.

So this little book calls us today to continue walking in the way of faith, standing in truth. As Jacques Philipe exhorts us: “The Holy Spirit is addressing all Christians with a ringing call to holiness and inspiring them with a desire to live out the Gospel in all its depths” (The Way of Trust and Love). We are collaborators with the Spirit as we continue to build ourselves up in faith and love, and as we pray and walk in His ways. I end as Jude ended in verse 25, writing to the called, beloved, kept ones: “To the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen.”

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