Contend for the Faith
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
What is the definition of contend?
One of the meanings of contend is from the French “to strive with,” and it is a literal fighting, as in “to contend with fists.”. Most contemporary uses of the verb contend illustrate competitions of proof or defense, where a person will contend that something is true, or better, or wrong.
I have friends from many faiths and backgrounds. Most are Biblical in their belief, however, we do differ on a few doctrines. Some are out-and-out Pagans. I’m sure most of you are in, or have encountered the same situation.
The question is this…do we discuss these things in hopes of changing or converting these folks? Or do we idly sit by and keep quiet? Do we rock the boat…sometimes, tip the boat over and speak the Truth as Believers?
My view on this may differ from yours. Some folks love to argue and debate just for the sake of arguing, so they pick their “discussions” with people who have a different stance on a certain subject, just to argue the point.
I’ve heard debates regarding open Communion vs closed Communion. It has been argued that Jesus only had the Last Supper-(Communion) in the upper room with the twelve disciples….not all the Believers in the area; therefore, closed communion IS the proper way to view and practice that particular doctrine. Most churches however practice open Communion- as long as you are a Believer. So….Who’s right, and who’s wrong? Does it matter? Will either side end up in hell for believing what they believe?
Truth is…it doesn’t matter! Practicing open or closed Communion will not send one to the fires of hell! The same holds true with the different beliefs of Baptisim.
Some denominations, Catholic and Protestant alike, baptize babies; other denominations believe you must KNOW Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior before being baptized. They believe that Baptisim is a picture of you dying to your sins, being buried with Christ, and risen to walk a new life…the life you’ve found in His salvation. That’s the way I believe; but the truth is this…Baptisim does not save you-not as a baby…not as an adult. If you do not KNOW Jesus when you enter into the Baptismal waters, you go down a dry sinner, and come up a wet one! That’s it! Pure and simple! So, is it really worth arguing over?
The above verse says we are to contend for the Faith. The Faith we have in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins! In Joel 2:12-14 (MSG) it says this: “But there’s also this, it’s not too late–God’s personal Message!–Come back to me and really mean it! Come fasting and weeping, sorry for your sins! Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. Rend your heart not your garment!”
In Mark 6:12 the Bible says: “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.”
Brothers and Sisters in Christ…those that already KNOW Jesus as their Lord and Savior, should stop wasting precious time arguing with other Believers! They should be using that time wisely and witnessing to the Lost! They should be spending that time on their knees, asking God to show them how to reach someone!
John the Baptist, was the first to baptize people…he even baptized Jesus; but his message was not on baptisim…he said: “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” -Matthew 3:2
We as Believers need to start contending for the FAITH, not the debatable doctrines in the Bible that are open to interpretation!
Jesus closed the discussion and interpretation on the doctrine of Salvation when He said:
I AM the Way…I AM the Truth…I AM the Life…and no one can come to the Father except through ME. -John 14:6 There is no room for debate on this doctrine! This is the one we need to contend earnestly for!