“To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Dear friends . . . I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people” (Jude 1:1-3).
Why did Jude have to urge his readers to “contend for the faith”? Because they were in danger of embracing a lie: It doesn’t matter how you live, because you’re forgiven. But that lie changes “the grace of our God into a license for immorality” (Jude 1:4).
That lie lurks in every heart. We would rather be cool than contend. We’d rather stand out than stand up for Jesus: we dress provocatively, talk suggestively, joke coarsely, drink excessively, swagger, and brag. And when guilt pricks, it’s tempting to wave around God’s grace like a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Jude says, contend for the faith! Take holiness seriously! That’s our calling as Christians. As long as we live on the earth, fellow saints, face down, push back, and out-maneuver temptation! Each day pull on your gloves and fight for the faith that God entrusted to us. Sometimes sin’s fist drops us. But in Word and sacrament, our triune God pulls us to our feet. He dresses our wounds with mercy, peace, and love. He reassures us that Jesus already dealt sin and Satan the knock-out punch. The outcome of this fight is sealed: Christ wins! And heaven is our prize. Contend!