What does it mean to Contend for the Faith? (Jude 1:3)

What does it mean to contend for the faith? In Jude 1:3 it says “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”

To contend means the following: to argue or state (something) in a strong and definite way; to struggle and remain steadfast in opposition; to compete in order to win

Jude writes that his initial purpose for writing his letter was to focus on the topic of their “common salvation” but however certain circumstances caused him to change his mind and instead write about the issue of contending for the faith.
To contend for the faith means to defend sound Christian doctrine. Contending for the faith means that we are to defend the truth that is found in God’s word against all kinds of false teachings.
Therefore in his letter, Jude was making an appeal to his Christian readers to defend the Christian faith and doctrine because of false teaching that was creeping into the church.

In Jude 1:4 he gives his reasons for his appeal by saying: “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Sound Christian doctrine and the true Gospel message was under attack from false teachers who were spreading a dangerous heresy that the grace of God allows people to sin and live immoral lives. These false teachers were perverting or distorting the true intention of God’s grace by deceiving people into thinking that God’s grace and mercy gives people a license to sin. In other words, these false teachers we preaching the false doctrine of antinomianism.


Why Should We Contend for the Faith?

1. False beliefs lead to a rebellious and sinful lifestyle
Our lifestyle, our behavior and our choices are based on the philosophies we believe in our heart. As humans we usually make life decisions based on our convictions, whether those convictions are right or wrong.
A false belief system ultimately creates enmity against God. Many times, the ideals and culture of this world are in opposition with Biblical Christianity.

James 4:4 says: You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

For example, secular belief systems from new age religion, evolution, atheism to moral issues related to LGBT activism, woke culture, atheism, occultism, humanism etc are all examples worldly belief systems which contradict Biblical Christianity and cause rebellion against the living God.

Therefore contending for the faith means that Christians need to defend the Gospel and Biblical Christianity against the world and its multitude of ungodly ideologies.


2. Contending for the Faith is an Act of love and mercy
If we love someone, we will tell them the truth – even if the truth might offend them. The real purpose of truth is to set us free from the lies that placed us in bondage. The truth is meant to open our eyes so that we are not led astray.
When people follow false teachings and false teachers, it is like the blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14).

Contending for the faith is an act of love for God and for people. If we love God we will proclaim His truth despite the opposition we face. If we love people we will lead them to the truth with the desire to see them set free from one day going to the fires of hell.

Jude 22-23 says: And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

So contending for the faith will actually save the lives of those who have been deceived.


3. Contending for the Faith is part of Spiritual Warfare
There is a culture war happening in the world. It is a battle between ideologies and philosophies.
However, deeper than the culture war, there is also a spiritual war which is a battle mainly between two spiritual kingdoms. This spiritual war is between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan.
It is a battle not only involving cultural ideologies, but it also involves the Bible versus all manner of anti-God doctrines and satanic belief systems.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says: For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Therefore contending for the faith requires that we have the correct knowledge and understanding of Scripture. We must be equipped with the knowledge of God’s word. We must be able to correctly interpret and use the Bible in order to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).



It is a Christian reality that there will always be opposition to the Christian faith. It is therefore important to defend the faith with the aim to help and save those who oppose both God and His word.

Besides secular doctrines, there are many false gospels spreading within Christianity such as antinomianism, prosperity gospel heresy, Word of Faith theology, universalism and salvation by works.

However we should not be afraid to defend our faith. Nor should we be afraid to speak God’s truth for fear that we might offend others. Instead we must fearlessly speak the truth in love and pray that God’s word will not return void to those whom we proclaim His word.


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