“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).
I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share. . . .
In the brief letter that bears his name Jude encourages the church to deal with false teachers. But he makes it clear, he is not the type of person who goes around looking for a religious argument. In fact, you get the feeling that he would rather not write or teach about confronting false teachers.
Jude straight up says he was eager, very eager to write a letter about “the salvation we share.” But instead, he felt compelled to write about standing up for the gospel. So he writes a letter he would rather not write.
And this verse has me thinking. . .what am I very eager to talk about?
Am I the kind of Christian that is so excited about sharing salvation with my brothers and sisters that whenever I get a chance, that’s what I am talking about?
When I am involved in conversation with people, am I overflowing with the amazing story of salvation by grace through faith?
Like Jude, does sharing salvation top my list of what I am eager to talk about?
Well I must confess there have been times when I have been very eager to talk about and confront false teachers. Confrontation and winning religious arguments was what got me most excited. During that time in my life I would talk about sharing salvation reluctantly, and only if there was nothing left to argue.
But through the years God has transformed my heart from one filled with a love for arguments and disputes to one that is overflowing with the joy that comes from a God who allows us to share salvation. I want to talk about salvation. I want to tell people God has made our salvation possible through sending His Son Jesus to die for us and His Holy Spirit to live within us.
I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith. . . .
Yes, there are still times when false teaching must be addressed, and address it I do from time to time. But like Jude, that is not what I am very eager to do. I am no longer walking around with a hair-trigger ready to take some one’s head off in religious disputation. Instead I am eager to bless and share words of salvation and joy. When the confrontation comes, it is when, like Jude, I feel compelled.
And when I contend, I make every effort to do it with humility, gentleness, and respect. After all, it seems to me the greatest way to stand up for the gospel is to be like God as God is revealed through Jesus. I have to ask myself — am I really contending for God — loving Father, sacrificing Son, and Holy Spirit — in a manner that is consistent with God’s nature? Or am I somehow satisfying my own fleshly desires as I contend? Is it really God, the faith, the gospel I am defending? Or am defending my own way of thinking about things or doing things? Am I defending the faith or traditions?
. . .once for all entrusted to the saints.God gives the gospel to people as a sacred trust. The message is not mine, it is God’s. God has entrusted it to me and to all Christians. Do I treasure the message? Do I value the faith? Do I care for the gospel with the same care that a financial officer would watch over a trust? Am I faithful to God’s trust? And as I meditate on this passage, I come to know God as one who entrusts us with His gospel. What kind of God does this? What kind of God entrusts mere humans with a message from God?
Thank you for trusting me, for trusting us.
May we be faithful with Your message.
Forgive us when we distort the faith.
Forgive us when we accept cheap substitutes for the faith.
Give us the strength and courage to stand up for You.
Forgive me when I am more excited about an argument than I am about how You have intervened not only in the course of history, but in the course of my life.
Fill me with an eagerness to talk about You.
Fill me with an eagerness to talk about salvation.
Fill me with a generous heart that I might share salvation.
Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, that I may bear fruit that brings honor to You.
Help me to grow in understanding what it means to be eager to talk about salvation.
In Jesus’ name, AMEN