Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Contending for the faith; What should that mean to modern day reformers?

Jude 1:3  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.

What was the specific occasion that the epistle of Jude was written too? When you read the context is was most likely to overcome Epicurean Gnostics. What essentially did the Epicurean Gnostics believe? To put it simply, they believed that the flesh was not permanent and that what one did in the flesh did not really matter. They believed in a direct divide between flesh and spirit and thus only were concerned with what the spirit believed. It was this particular heresy that Jude, and the author of second Peter addressed.  

In fact, these are the ones that Peter likely made the following statement about… (2Pe 3:15-16)  And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,  (16)  as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. Unfortunately, current evangelicals along with Messianic Jews have simply relegated these scriptures to those they accuse of antinomianism. This is overly simple and patently false.

There is no connection between those who believe that the penalty of the Law has been abolished to promote deep, abiding love for God, and these Epicurean Gnostics that taught that there was no reason to control the flesh. Paul taught that the grace and mercy of God would lead to a real love for God that would in turn lead to genuine repentance and transformation. He never excused the flesh and neither does anyone who teaches, and believes that the penalty of the Law has been abolished.

The fact is that the antinomian accusers, and the Messianic Jews distort Matthew 5:17-21. They deny that jots and tittles have in fact been removed from the Law, and that all has been fulfilled. (see this blog post)… So then, what application can the statement contending for the faith have in today’s Christianity?

The answer is that we should contend for the gospel in its pristine purity. What is the gospel in its pristine purity you ask? It is the fact that God has reconciled humanity… God was in Christ reconciling the world… not imputing sin and rather, imputes righteousness for believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. We should vigorously contend against all who view and read the scripture in a legal, constitutional way. Jesus taught a solely redemptive hermeneutic and redefined the word of God to mean the gospel, or Jesus the living gospel. We should vigorously contend and demand that… *the faith* once delivered to the saints is the above defined gospel of God’s grace… that it is grace and grace alone that will produce true love for God and that ultimately, the love for God will produce transformative obedience.

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