Ever been in a situation where you’d like to be doing one thing, but had to do something else? Perhaps it was an emergency, or a task that was unpleasant, or just something that required attention. Other things were much more pleasant and you wanted to do them, but you had to drop everything you planned to do because the situation at hand required attention and action.
That was apparently the situation that Jude, the brother of Jesus, faced in the little letter that bears his name in the Bible. Here’s what he said:
“Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ!” (Jude 3–4 New Living Translation)
Jude would have liked to talk about all the wonderful, positive, things that God’s grace provided to fellow Christians… “one blessing on top of another” or “grace upon grace”! (John 1:16) But there were false teachers that were distorting what God’s saving grace provided! They were perverting what experiencing and receiving the “grace of God” meant. They were saying it meant that people, once receiving salvation from sin, could go on practicing immorality because God’s grace would cover it! What a diabolical and dangerous teaching! Jude argues it actually led to the denial of “our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ!” Contend for “the faith (the truth) once for all delivered to God’s holy people” he pleads! Apostle Paul dealt with this same issue earlier in Romans. He asked the rhetorical question, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” And then answered the question in no uncertain terms: “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it!”
Unfortunately this issue has not gone away! As we face this new year, this diabolical doctrine is still alive! It argues that godly living and self-control are antiquated doctrines tied to the “law” and “legalism.” “Go ahead,” these false teachers say, “and live like you desire – God’s grace will cover it!”
Listen, as much as godly leaders might like to always address the bounty and blessings of salvation, it is necessary to sound a word of caution… right out of the Bible! “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God!” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11 ESV)
There it is… The truth about the “grace of God!” We were delivered from sin… forgiven, set free, and empowered by God’s grace, not to go back into sin, but to live a God-pleasing, holy life!” We must “contend” for that truth! And to that I say, “Praise the Lord! I’m looking forward to a new year, following Jesus with all my heart – living a life that honors the grace He imparts!