Jude 1:3

It was to exhort the saints to steadfastness in contending for the truth which was then threatened by an insidious party of antinomians who had entered the Church. Love prompted the writing of the Epistle, as we may infer from the term "beloved" by which the author addresses his readers.

I. HIS CONCERN FOR THEIR WELFARE. "Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you."

1. It was a, ready, prompt, entire diligence, because there was danger in delay, and the constraint of love was upon him.

2. It is right that ministers should be diligent about the most important concerns, the interests of truth and the welfare of the flock.

3. Jude showed his concern for the saints by committing his thoughts to writing.

(1) Writing gave them permanence. Words pass away, but writing remains. "This shall be written for the generation to come."

(2) Writing secured a wider circle of hearers. Every age of the Church, as well as the first, has been benefited by this brief letter of Jude.

(3) It is a great sin to undervalue the written Word of God.


1. The nature of this salvation.

(1) It is the deliverance of man from the guilt and power of sin and the complete redemption of his soul and body in the day of judgment.

(2) It begins in the present life.

(3) God has given us his Word to show the way of salvation.

2. It is the common salvation of all sailors. "Our common salvation."

(1) Christ, the Saviour, is common to all the saints.

(2) There is but one common way to heaven. There is but "one faith."

(3) The blessings of salvation are common to all believers, Jew and Gentile.

(4) It is a salvation of which the early Christians had an experimental knowledge; it is "our common salvation."

III. THE NECESSITY FOR HIS WRITING. "I was constrained to write unto yon." This arose:

1. From the evil doctrines of the antinomians.

2. From their subtle arts.

3. From the too great readiness of the saints to be deceived.

4. The exposure of seducers is a necessary part of the ministry.

IV. THE NATURE OF THE EXHORTATION JUDE ADDRESSED TO THE SAINTS. "Exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints." Christians must suffer the word of exhortation, which is an excellent help to religious steadfastness.

1. The matter to be contended for.

(1) It is the doctrine of faith, or the truth which is to be received in order to our salvation. It is called "faith" because it is the instrument used by the Holy Spirit to work faith.

(2) It is the faith "delivered" by God, not discovered by man. The natural man can no more perceive than he can discover the things which are of God (1 Corinthians 2:24).

(3) It is the faith delivered "once for all." No other faith will ever be given. No new doctrines are to be added to the circle of faith, though the truth may be cast in new forms, and shaped according to the intellectual and spiritual exigencies of each age. Therefore

(a) it is a great sin to despise the faith delivered to us;

(b) we ought to be thankful for it;

(c) we ought to receive and obey it in the love of it;

(d) we ought to guard it against heretical perversions.

(4) It is a sacred deposit placed in the hands of trustees - delivered to the saints. Not to holy prophets and apostles merely, but to all saints, even in ages destitute of prophets and apostles.

(a) It is a solemn trust, involving great responsibilities.

(b) The saints are to keep the faith for their own salvation and comfort.

(c) They are to keep it for generations to come.

(d) How much is the world indebted to the saints!

(e) The trustees of the faith ought to have holy hands and holy hearts.

2. The duty of the saints to contend for the faith. This duty implies

(1) the importance of this faith, for it is the best things that Satan is most anxious to destroy;

(2) the presence of adversaries seeking to corrupt or destroy it;

(3) the need of Divine strength for contending for it with effect;

(4) the various ways in which the saints are to contend for it -

(a) by refuting and convincing gainsayers,

(b) by praying for its success,

(c) by confessing it boldly before men,

(d) by mutual exhortation,

(e) by holy example,

(f) by suffering for the truth. - T.C.

1. Piety is no enemy to courtesy.

2. The work and labour of a minister should proceed from love to his people.

3. People should study to be fit for the love of their pastor.

4. The love of a minister must not be slack and remiss, but vehement and ardent.

5. Loving a minister's person has a great influence upon loving his doctrine.

6. The aim of minister in being beloved of his people should be to benefit their souls.

7. The love of a minister to his people should procure love again from his people.

(W. Jenkyn, M. A.)

I gave all diligence
1. Greatest diligence is always to be used about the best things, about matters of greatest concernment. It is madness to make as great a fire for the roasting of an egg as for the roasting of an ox; to follow the world with as much fervency as we do holiness: and about trifles to be employed with vast endeavours. It is impossible to be too diligent for heaven, and difficult not to be over-diligent for the earth.

2. All that ministers, even the best of them, can do, is but to be diligent, to take pains and endeavour (1 Corinthians 3:6). One thing to preach, another to persuade.

3. Diligence in duty is the commendation of ministers. The light of knowledge without the heat of love, speaks him not excellent. He is not made for sight, but for service.

4. People who partake of the minister's diligence, must take heed of negligence.

(W. Jenkyn, M. A.)

To write unto you
Writing is a great help to promote the common salvation. By this means we speak to the absent and to posterity; and by this means are the oracles of God preserved in public records, which otherwise were in danger of being corrupted, if left to the uncertainty of verbal tradition. Apostolical doctrine being committed to writing, remaineth as a constant rule of faith and manners. Finally, by writing, the streams of salvation are conveyed into every family, that in the defect of public preaching good supply may be had in this kind (Judges 5:14). Again, in controversials there is great use of writing, controversies not being so easily determined by the judgment of the ear as the eye. In the clamour of disputations and violent discourse, usually there is such a dust raised, that we cannot so soon discern the truth as upon a calm debate, and mature consideration of what is delivered in writing.

(T. Manton.)

Of the common salvation
I. INVITE ATTENTION TO THE THEME. "The common salvation."

1. Salvation is adapted to all. It meets the case of man, as it provides —

(1)An atonement for sin.

(2)A justifying righteousness.

(3)The Holy spirit, to renew and sanctify.

2. The salvation of the gospel is sufficient for all. As well exhaust the Godhead as exhaust it. If you were bid betake yourself to that mighty ocean, would you say there was not water enough for me to bathe in?

3. The salvation of the gospel offers itself freely to all.

II. EXHORT THE URGENCY OF PERSONAL APPROPRIATION OF THE COMMON SALVATION. It suggests mournful considerations. Is what lies within the reach of all, what comes as a boon to be forfeited. Ah, what a dismal consummation from such preliminaries! It is no dubious problem, that, in order to any benefit, the salvation must be appropriated; otherwise it is worse than of no avail. For that dishonoured salvation must throw a dismal complexion on your eternity. It must add intensity to all its retributions.

(Adam Forman.)


1. The full admission of man's entire depravity and ruin.

2. The necessity of an entire and sole dependence on the finished work of Christ.

3. The necessity of the influences of the Holy Spirit, for the regeneration and sanctification of the soul.


1. Look back to the counsels of eternal love.

2. Observe the scenes of the Redeemer's advent.

3. Look to the scenes of purity and bliss above.


1. Pardon and peace.

2. Adoption and dignity.

3. Comfort and preservation.

4. Present pleasure and joyful anticipation.


(W. Spencer.)

(with Titus 1:4): — Jude was probably one of Christ's brothers, and a man of position and influence in the Church. He is writing to the whole early Christian community, numbering men widely separated from each other by nationality, race, culture, and general outlook on life; and he beautifully and humbly unites himself with them all as recipients of a "common salvation." Paul is writing to Titus, the veteran leader to a raw recruit; and yet Paul beautifully and humbly associates himself with his pupil, as exercising a "common faith." But you will notice that they take up the same thought at two different stages, as it were. The one declares that there is but one remedy for all the world's woes; the other declares that there is but one way by which that remedy can be applied. All who possess "the common salvation" are so blessed because they exercise "the common faith."

I. THE UNDERLYING CONCEPTION OF A UNIVERSAL DEEPEST NEED. "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." The tap root of all human miseries lies in the solemn fact of human transgression. That is a universal fact. Wide differences part us, but there is one thing that we have all in common: a conscience and a will that lifts itself against disliked good. Beneath all surface differences of garb there lies the same fact, the common sickness of sin. Now, do not let us lose ourselves in generalities. Whatever you may want, be sure of this: that your deepest needs will not be met until the fact of your individual sinfulness and the consequences of that fact are somehow or other dealt with, staunched, and swept away.

II. THE COMMON REMEDY. "The common salvation." There is one remedy for the sickness. There is one safety against the danger. There is only one, because it is the remedy for all men, and it is the remedy for all men because it is the remedy for each. Jesus Christ deals, as no one else has ever pretended to deal, with this outstanding fact of my transgression and yours. He, by His death, as I believe, has saved the world from the danger because He has set right the world's relations to God. On the Cross, Jesus Christ the son of God bore the weight of the world's sin, yours and mine and every man's. Further, Jesus Christ imparts a life that cures the sickness of sin. Christ deals with men in the depths of their being. He will give you, if you will, a new life and new tastes, directions, inclinations, impulses, perceptions, hopes, and capacities, and the evil will pass away, and you will be whole. Jesus Christ heals society by healing the individual. There is no other way of doing it. If the units are corrupt the community cannot be pure.

III. THE COMMON MEANS OF POSSESSING THE COMMON HEALING. My second text tells us what that is — "The common faith." If it is true that salvation is a gift from God, then it is quite plain that the only thing that we require is an outstretched hand. It is no arbitrary appointment. The only possible way of possessing "the common salvation" is by the exercise of "the common faith."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)






1. To accept this salvation.

2. To publish it.

3. To defend it.

(James Hoyle.)



1. In His complex character as God-man.

2. In all His offices as Mediator, Prophet, Priest, and King.

(F. Frew.)

I. The gospel, which is characterised by its spiritual or experimental effect, is here called "THE SALVATION." It is the instrumental medium through which this comprehensive blessing is conveyed to the soul. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

II. The gospel is not only called "the salvation," but "THE COMMON SALVATION." This may be intended to intimate —

1. That the salvation which the gospel reveals flows to believers from one common source — Christ.

2. That it is the same salvation that is enjoyed by all the children of God.

3. That the salvation of the gospel is common to every age, and class, and clime.

4. That all true believers have a common interest in this salvation — that they are all alike bound to maintain its doctrines, to vindicate its principles, and to promote its practical designs.

III. The gospel is also here described as "THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS."



1. Because men are by nature hostile to the truth, and therefore disposed to pervert it.

2. Because the glory of God is peculiarly connected with the preservation of His truth.

3. Because the uncorrupted truth is essential to the salvation of man.

4. Because we are bound in this matter to follow the example of our Lord and His apostles.

(W. McGilvray, D. D.)

1. God is most free of His best blessings. He affords salvation in common to all His people.

2. Christ and heaven are full and satisfactory; they are enough for all.

3. None should be willing to be saved alone. Heaven was made for a common good.

4. They who teach others the way to salvation, should be in a state of salvation themselves. He who has sailed into foreign coasts, discourses more thoroughly and satisfactorily than he who has only map knowledge.

5. The commonness of salvation to all believers should be a great inducement to every one to labour particularly for salvation, and that they may not miss of it themselves.

6. There is but one way to heaven. There are many nations, more men, only one faith.

7. The partakers of this "common salvation," who here agree in one way to heaven, and who expect to be hereafter in one heaven, should be of one heart.

(W. Jenkyn, M. A.)

And note that he calleth it common salvation, not proper to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Peter, etc., but common to all. First, he calleth it common salvation. First, to admonish all men to lay hold of it. So saith Paul to Timothy, "Lay hold of eternal life." And also to admonish ministers to neglect no sheep of God, not the very least. Secondly, he calleth it common salvation because it is not prepared for some few, as the Ark was for the deluge. Salvation is of the Jews, but the doctrine of the gospel is offered unto all. Thirdly, he calleth it common salvation because we are all saved by one common means, that is, by Christ. In this sense, as salvation is called common, so the Church is called common or catholic in three respects. First, it is not tied to any time, as the time of the law, but it endureth for ever. Secondly, it is not tied to any place, but to the whole world. Thirdly, it is not tied to any persons, as to the seed of Abraham, but to all that believe. In these respects salvation is called catholic, or common, and so is the Church.

(S. Otes.)

I. BECAUSE IT PROVIDES THAT WHICH MANKIND EVERYWHERE REQUIRE. It may be rightfully said, I think, that mankind are addicted to religion; by which I mean that the propensity to engage in worship, and to seek for help and succour from powers which are external to our selves — that that propensity is characteristic to man as man. Man is religious because he cannot help it; he is religious from necessity; he wants that which naturally he does not possess, and without which he believes it cannot be well with him, either now or hereafter. Why else will you find men going upon pilgrimages, offering sacrifices, and enduring the heaviest self-denial? Well, look here, in the glorious gospel of the blessed God you have just the common benefaction which humanity require. This, and not something else; not this or something else, but this exclusively, and this alone.

II. BECAUSE YOU CAN COMMUNICATE IT TO MANKIND EVERYWHERE. I have spoken of various forms of religious service, and various modes of religious action; now of many of them it may be said that they arose out of the necessities of some given district, and that they relate exclusively to the peculiarities of that district. But you cannot tell me of any region of earth where Christianity cannot be instituted; the man does not live to whom it may not be preached, and by whom it may not be forthwith enjoyed. The nation cannot be found under heaven to which it may not be sent. The government does not exist under which it will not survive. Peculiarities, geographical, local or national, cannot be found whereby it would be set at nought.

III. BECAUSE IT IS ADAPTED TO MANKIND EVERYWHERE. It is not only required by them in the general, but it is adapted to them severally, wherever they may be found. There are great peculiarities — personal peculiarities amongst the human family.

1. What peculiarities there are, for example, in respect to constitutional temperament! One man is cheerful, so much so that some would say of him, that he is volatile and gay. Another man, on the contrary, is taciturn. It would be said of him that he is gloomy or morose. Others partake of each of these peculiarities in a manner which, perhaps, may be said to constitute the temperament we most admire. The gospel when brought to bear on these peculiarities, ministers impulse where it is required — it ministers equanimity where that is required, and strength where strength is required. It preserves cheerfulness from degenerating into levity, and seriousness from degenerating into gloom.

2. Again, what peculiarities there exist with respect to age! The young man needs to be reminded that the world is a great delusion, and to be kept under constant, powerful, yet cheerful check, lest he put darkness for light, and light for darkness. The man of business needs to be reminded that this is not his rest. The man of threescore years and ten needs to be succoured, comforted, and cheered by the consolations of the gospel. It takes the young man and the maiden, and administers counsel and instruction to them. It takes the man of business, and is like a monitor at his very elbow on the exchange, bidding him not to forget the things which are unseen and eternal. It goes to the old man's chamber, and makes all his bed in his sickness.

3. Yet again, there are peculiarities with respect to intellectual power. There are some men who are profoundly intellectual, and there are other men who are not profoundly intellectual. There is a very great variety of gradation between those two extremes; but mark! The proverbs, the parables, the doctrines, the invitations in this Book were made as much for the sage as they were for the rustic; and, engaged as men of the most opposite intellectual power may be upon the examination of it, I would defy anybody to tell whether the philosopher or the peasant were most at home.

4. Then there is another peculiarity with regard to the degree of each person's criminality. It is adapted to the profligate, the blasphemer, the dishonourable — to adopt the language of the Apostle Paul, it is adapted to the disobedient, the lawless, the ungodly.

IV. BECAUSE IT MAY BE PROFFERED TO ALL MANKIND, EVERYWHERE. So explicit are its declarations, so unrestricted are its invitations. "Believe thou on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!" The light of heaven is unrestricted, and the light of the gospel is equally so.

(W. Brock.)

Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered
The revelation of God in Christ — whose contents are the object of Christian faith and are therefore described as the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints — does not consist merely in additional knowledge concerning God. Christ is the Saviour as well as the teacher of men. A large part, perhaps the larger part, of the revelation of God which has come to the race through Christ consists in the actual redemption of men from sin and eternal death. Those who receive the Christian gospel are not only brought under the power of great and pathetic and animating truths concerning God — they enter into the actual possession of a redemption which God has achieved for the race. To them the faith was once for all delivered. That is, the revelation of God in Christ, the Christian gospel, which is the object of the faith of all Christians, and which is here described as "the faith," is committed to the trust of all who have been actually redeemed and restored to God by Christ. They are responsible for its purity and integrity. There are other provisions for perpetuating it, and for renewing it, when it has been corrupted or wholly lost. The written story of the earthly life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the authoritative teaching of the apostles. But even those sacred books were written by elect saints in discharge of the same trust which has been inherited by ourselves. They stand apart. They have an exceptional authority. But they illustrate the fidelity which is required of the saints of all succeeding generations; and in our age, as in all past ages, the effective defence of the faith lies, under God, with living men and women who through Christ have received the remission of sins, and the supernatural life, and the grace and light of the Holy Ghost. To the saints was the faith delivered once for all. The saints of every age are responsible for defending it in times of peril and asserting its power. For they, and they alone, have an independent, personal, and immediate knowledge of the Divine objects of faith. Some kinship with a poet's genius is necessary for a true understanding of his verse; and spiritual kinship with the writers of the Old Testament and the New is necessary to catch their real thought. Who can tell what is meant by being "in Christ" except the man who is conscious that he himself is "in Christ "? Who can have any clear perception of the great truth — the paradox of the Christian gospel — that we are justified, not by our own righteousness, but in Christ, except the man who, out of the fulness of his own happy experience, can join in the exulting triumph of saints and say, "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," etc. The theologian, therefore, must first of all be a saint. It is not enough that he has mastered the theories of conflicting theologies concerning the Christian atonement, the forgiveness of sins, justification, the new life which is given to the race in Christ, judgment to come. He must know for himself the greatness of the Christian redemption. He must be vividly conscious that in the power of a new life he has passed into a new world, if he is to be able to give any true account of that Divine regenerative act in which the new life is given. His science is the science of God. He must have a large and varied knowledge of God — not merely of the speculations of other men about God. His faith in Christ as the Eternal Word who has become flesh must rest, not on proof texts, but on a direct vision of Christ's glory, and his faith in the Holy Spirit on his own consciousness that that august and gracious Presence dwells in him as in a temple. For his thought to move with any certainty in the great mysteries which surround the being of the Eternal, he must be able to say with other saintly souls, "Through Christ we have access in one Spirit unto the Father." To all Christian men the great objects of faith are revealed by the Spirit of God. No man can really say that Jesus is the Lord but in the Holy Spirit. The theologian who is called of God to be the teacher of the Church must receive in larger measure than his brethren "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation" in the knowledge of God. It is not given indeed to man to know in this direct way all the wonders of the Divine kingdom; and the theologian, like the discoverers in other sciences, must sometimes rely on the observations and experience of other men. The great things he should know for himself. Where his own vision is defective, and his own experience at fault, he will try to learn what other men have seen and what other men have experienced. He will distinguish between their speculations and the facts which they have verified and which have been verified by ordinary Christian men in different ages and under different conditions. He will remember that to the meek God teaches His way. He has to give an intellectual account of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. He will therefore attribute supreme value to that central substance of Christian truth which has been the life and strength of Christian men in all generations. The spirit of intellectual adventure will not be uncontrolled. He will not imagine that after nineteen centuries of Christian history the saints have yet to learn what are "the first principles of Christ." Believing that the light of God has come to himself he will also believe that it came to devout men of past generations. We claim for the intellect the largest freedom. It can render no worthy service to the Church or to truth if it be fettered. We claim for it in religion a freedom as large as is conceded to it in science. In science it cannot change the facts; its function is to ascertain and to interpret them. In faith it cannot change the facts; its function is to ascertain and to interpret them. In both departments the facts are supreme. Wherever facts are known the speculative intellect is under limitations and restraints; it is absolutely free only where it is absolutely ignorant. The methods of the intellect in the investigation of religious truth differ from its methods in the investigation of scientific truth, as the methods of the historian differ from the methods of the chemist. But the claim for intellectual freedom in theology needs no other qualification than that which is imposed upon it in every other province of intellectual activity — facts, through whatever channel the certain knowledge of them may come, and by whatever methods they are discovered or verified — facts are its only limitation. It is our duty to keep an open mind to the discoveries of theologians and scholars; but this does not mean that we should consent to regard all the articles of the Christian faith as open questions. On the great subjects our mind is made up. The facts we know, and under God we have to transmit the knowledge of them to coming generations. We are willing, if necessary, to revise definitions, but can accept no definition which obscures the Divine glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, Creator, Brother, Lord, Redeemer of the human race. We are prepared to discuss theories of the Atonement, but can accept no theory which would dislodge our hearts from their sure confidence in Christ, in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins according to the riches of God's grace. We confess that the mystery of the eternal life of God transcends our science; that the terms of the creeds must be inexact; that they point towards august truths, but do not reach them; and yet, with reverence and awe we worship Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — one God, blessed for evermore; and in the knowledge of God we have eternal life. The substance of the faith delivered once for all to the saints of the first age has been verified in the experience of the saints of every succeeding generation, and has, in these last days, been verified in our own. Theologians have not to create new heavens and a new earth, but to give a more exact account of that spiritual universe whose mysteries and glories have environed the saints from the beginning.

(R. W. Dale, D. D.)

I. THE GREAT CAUSE for the maintenance of which the apostle exhorts Christians to contend.

1. For the purity of the faith.

2. For the influence of the faith.

3. For the propagation of the faith.

II. THE GROUNDS which justified the apostle in making this duty so imperative.

1. The importance of the faith in itself.

2. The proneness of men to deteriorate or pervert the faith.

3. The violent opposition of avowed enemies, and the seduction of secret foes.

4. The Divine origin of the revelation.

III. THE SPIRIT AND TEMPER in which, as Christians, we should discharge the duty.

1. Our methods must be spiritual, not carnal.

2. Our efforts should be enlightened and scriptural.

3. We should contend for the faith with great earnestness.

4. We should combine with firmness a charitable spirit.

5. While active in the propagation of the gospel among our fellow men, there should be a consistent exemplification of religion in our own lives.

6. We should give ourselves to prayer, accompanying all our exertions with ardent supplications for the outpourings of the Holy Spirit.

(C. Barry.)


1. Christians are not called upon to contend for —

(1)Mere forms and ceremonies.

(2)Mere speculative opinions, though those opinions may refer to some points of Christian doctrine.

2. We are to contend for —(1) The great facts of the gospel. The incarnation, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, etc., of Christ.(2) The essential doctrines of the faith. The fall of man. Divinity and atonement of Christ. Influence of Holy Spirit. Salvation by faith.(3) The experimental power and influence of the faith. Practical holiness.

II. THE NATURE OF THIS DUTY. "Earnestly contend."

1. Not with bigoted zeal.

2. Not with secular, carnal weapons.

3. In a Christian spirit.

4. Judiciously.

5. Practically. By example, as well as precept or rebuke.


1. It is enjoined by Divine authority.

2. By contending for the faith you will yourself become more established in it.

(Josiah Hill.)


1. The word faith here must be understood as meaning the objects of faith — all the great doctrines of the gospel which we must cordially believe, and all its holy precepts which we must diligently practise.

2. This faith was once delivered to the saints. It was communicated first to the evangelists and apostles by the teaching of Jesus Christ and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and was by them spread abroad in the world.


1. We must strenuously contend for this faith, as a prize of inestimable value.

2. We must also contend for this faith with great diligence. It should be our daily study and prayer that this faith may be firmly rooted in our own hearts, and in the hearts of all who are placed under our care or under our influence.

3. We must contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, with much anxiety. We must be "sober and vigilant," as knowing that we are exposed to many enemies, who would rob us of our faith.

4. We must further contend for this faith with constant perseverance. Surely you would not wish merely to fight some battles well in contending for your Christian faith, and then give up all for lost.Conclusion:

1. If any additional motives are necessary to persuade you thus to "contend for the faith once delivered to the saints," consider —(1) How much your present peace and eternal welfare depend upon this contest.(2) Consider how strongly you are urged by a principle of gratitude to hand down to others the pure faith of the gospel which you have received from your fathers.(3) There is another motive which should strongly urge you in this arduous contest: This is the love of Christ and of your brethren.

(John Bull, M. A.)

I. We are called to contend EARNESTLY. But to contend earnestly does not mean that we are to contend bitterly, fiercely, unkindly. It merely means, that we view the question as we ought to view it; that we are serious where we should be serious; firm where we should be firm; and that, as we know the value of truth, we should be as decided in maintaining it as we have been diligent in seeking it.

II. THE OBJECT FOR WHICH WE ABE DIRECTED TO CONTEND. We are to contend earnestly; but it is "for the faith once delivered to the saints." In other words, we are to contend, not for any notions of our own, not for any private views, personal feelings, imaginary distinctions, but for that which God has revealed. It is not easy to say how much the character of contention is affected by that, which is regarded as its object. If the object is personal, the contention becomes personal. Self-love, in that case, mixes itself with the feelings of the moment; and pride and vanity, and a hundred other evil tempers, are enlisted in the cause, and add bitterness and warmth to the dispute. On the other hand, he who wishes to defend nothing but "the faith once delivered to the saints," can contend, and earnestly too, without allowing his earnestness to exceed its proper limits, or become violent and intemperate. The cause in which he is engaged sanctifies the spirit with which it is advocated. The consciousness that he has truth on his side makes him calm. The assurance of God's word gives certainty and steadiness to his reasoning.

(H. Raikes, M. A.)

What are our primary, positive reasons — such as spring from the broad facts which meet us on the forefront of history and human nature — for believing in the permanence of our Christian creed?

1. First, surely we may gather reassurance from the past history of Christianity. Human nature is one and the same beneath all distinctions of race and class. Christianity has already in the past shown a marvellous power so to get down to the permanent roots of human life and to pass in substance unchanged through the greatest possible crisis and most radical epochs of change in human history.

2. Should we not find reassurance in the fact that the panics with which the faith of our own generation has been assailed are storms which the ship of Christian faith is already showing signs that she can weather? For example, it cannot be denied that the horror with which, not wisely perhaps, but certainly not unnaturally, new conceptions of evolution in nature were at first regarded by theologians and Christian teachers is passing away, and they at least are declaring on all sides and in all good faith that they do not find their frankest acceptance at all inconsistent with a Christian belief.

3. Again, if we are tempted to take an over-ideal view of development as the law of the world, and to fear that Christianity by the very fact that it claims finality proves its falsity, is there anything more reassuring than to consider carefully the broad fact that Christian morality has as a matter of history vindicated its claim in this respect. A morality — an ideal of human life, individual and social — promulgated in Syria 1800 years ago, proclaimed in its completeness by a few mostly uneducated men of Jewish birth and training, within the limit of a few years — this ideal has remained through the ages, and almost nobody seriously claims to find it deficient. At any rate those who do, appeal very little to our consciences and better reason. But, then, what a vast admission is here! It means that morality has, under circumstances when such a fact was not at all to be expected, vindicated its finality; each successive generation has but to go back and drink its fill afresh from that inexhaustible source of a moral ideal which is Catholic.

4. And if we are convinced of this, if we are convinced that in this moral and spiritual sphere of human life an ideal promulgated 1800 years ago in an Eastern country has shown every sign of being universal and final, if we are convinced that the law of evolution has here something which in actual experience limits its application, then it seems no great step to ask a person to admit that this finality shall be attributed not to the life merely in ideal and effect, but to what St. Paul calls the "mould" of Christian teaching which fashions the life. For just as surely as in the lapse of years we identify the Mahommedan character with the Mahommedan creed, and in the creed recognise the condition of the character, just so surely we must recognise the whole organism of the historic Christian system as the condition of the Christian morality. Is there any consideration in the world which can call itself scientific which would justify us in supposing that a life consciously and confessedly moulded by a body of truths can go on existing without those truths? Is it not contradicting all principles of science to imagine that a changed environment of truth will not produce a changed product? The prayerful temper must excite our admiration, but is it not inconceivable that the prayerful temper can be developed except on the basis of a belief in a personal God to whom we can have personal and open access? The temper of penitence we know to be one of the most absolute essentials of spiritual progress. But the temper of penitence is the simple product of a belief at once in the personal holiness and personal love of God, a belief which can become conviction only in the revelation of Christ.

(Canon Gore.)

Here note three things:

1. That faith is a gift.

2. That it is once given.

3. That it is given unto the saints.

I. And first, THAT FAITH IS A GIFT, it is evident by the apostle's own words where he calleth Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith, as the Athenians were called the inventors and perfecters of all good learning. But the Church hath all her learning, religion, and faith from God; He gave it at the first, and He confirmed it at the last. This doctrine serveth to humble us; to let us see that it is not in our power, that faith is not hereditary: God beginneth it, and increaseth it, and finisheth it.

II. But to proceed to the next point: THIS FAITH WAS ONCE GIVEN, once for all, once for ever; which commendeth unto us the constancy of God, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of change; He speaketh, and it is done. There is such mutability in men, that they change like the moon, they alter like the cameleon; but God alters not, but giveth His gifts to His Church once for ever. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Note this word "once" so often repeated — once God gave the law, once He gave the gospel.

III. Thirdly, THIS FAITH IS GIVEN TO THE SAINTS. By saints he meaneth the children of God. First, in respect of separation, for they are elected and gathered out of this world. Secondly, in respect of vocation, they were saints by calling. Thirdly, in respect of regeneration. And lastly, in respect of justification or imputation, because the holiness and sanctity of Christ is imputed unto them. In that this faith is given unto the saints we learn that holy things are not to be given to dogs. The songs of nightingales are not for the ears of asses.

(S. Otes.)

Among the testimonies which the sons of genius, in their deep disappointment and bitter want, have given to the solitary superiority of the Christian faith, I know none more impressive than that of Sir Humphrey Davy. His brilliant genius, his practical inventiveness, his great talents, his discovery of four metals, his fortunate surroundings and his pre-eminent distinction conspire to make the entry in his later diary very mournful — namely, the two words "very miserable," and to give profound emphasis to his estimate of the Christian faith. He says, "I envy no quality of mind or intellect in others — not genius, power, wit, or fancy; but if I could choose what would be most delightful, and I believe most useful to me, I should prefer a firm religious belief to every other blessing; for it makes life a discipline of goodness, creates new hopes when all earthly hopes vanish, and throws over the decay, the destruction of existence, the most gorgeous of all lights; calling in the most delightful visions where the sensualist and the sceptic view only gloom, decay, and annihilation."


1. The treasure. What is it? "The faith," that is the phrase. It is a record of certain specific facts about the Lord Jesus Christ — if you please, a creed. To be sure there are creeds and creeds. Men have built around the great citadel of revelation certain out-works of theology which may be mere rubbish and worse than rubbish; and it is well for the citadel itself that the enemies of Christianity should destroy these.

2. The casket, what is it? It is that which contains the treasure.

3. The custodian is the church, the everlasting succession of Christ's true, living, human witnesses, who first received this truth from God. The truth was delivered, not invented by man, not reasoned out by man's intellect; delivered, handed by God to man; delivered once for all.

II. It remains to state and unfold THE DUTY OF CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH once for all delivered to the saints.

1. It is sure to be contended against. Christ is the "Prince of Peace," but He is also a "man of war." He "came not to bring peace on earth but a sword." Christ's own track to His throne lay through thorns and blood. The truth is sure to be contended against. Heretics were Divinely predicted; therefore they are credentials of the faith.

2. It is worth contending for. It destroyed the old polytheistic civilisation. It changed the face of the world. It brought in a new and better era for the race of man. It emancipated the mind. Look back eighteen hundred years to what the world was. Gibbon writes of "a sinking world." I use his phrase. There was no promise of a noble future for the race. The home, as we conceive it, was not. The marriage tie had no sacredness. Man as man had no rights, and the individual was sunk in the state. Power, power was the one idea of ancient Rome. A modern French painter has caught the idea and represented it with wonderful fidelity. I mean Gerome; whose canvas shows us the Coliseum with its eighty thousand spectators hungering for the sighs of cruelty. The gladiatorial combat has proceeded, until the wretched victim has fallen at the feet of his more brawny or fortunate conqueror. He is weak, let him die. So said the vestal virgins, and so said ancient Rome. It was not far from that very time that plain, homely man wrote a letter to some people in Rome and said, "I am ready so much as in me lies to preach the gospel to you which are at Rome also; for it is power." Here is power against power. It is the power of God against the power of man. It is "the power of God unto salvation" as against man's power of destruction.

3. It is worth our while to contend for it. God's great way of making His truth mighty is by putting that truth into living men. His way of getting for His truth currency in the world is by putting it into the mouths and lives of men with hot hearts, making their hot hearts hotter by means of it, and so thrusting it before the unbelieving multitude. It is wonderful how any truth once lodged in a human soul will enlarge and ennoble that soul. Many a scientific thought without any moral aspect has lifted up a man into nobler thinking, and more earnest working, and a higher grade of living. Thoughts essentially moral and religious have still higher developing power.

(C. D. Foss, D. D.)

The Study.
I. CHRISTIANITY HAS A CREED. There is a body of dogmatic teaching which can be called "the faith," the thing to be believed. Indifference to religious truth is sheer folly, to say the least. Do we allow that it makes no difference what a man thinks on the subject of geology provided he is devoted to his favourite science? Do we say that a man's opinion on a point of law is of no consequence so long as he is sincere in advocating it? Far from it. The question we ask in all these cases is, whether the opinions are correct. We know that truth may be one thing, and what a man thinks to be truth a very different thing. Why, then, should men adopt the opinion that on the subject of religion it is a small matter what a man thinks?

II. THIS BODY OF TRUTH IS REVEALED. It was "delivered" — divinely, as we know from other statements of God's Word. It is not a matter of intuition. Intuitions cannot be pleaded in behalf of the common practices of morality even, far less for a complete system of religious faith. It is not a matter of philosophical speculation. It is final, and it is authoritative. It is of great moment to find out exactly what the truth is which has been revealed, for once found we may have a faith which is sure and which binds.

III. IT IS A COMPLETE BODY OF TRUTH. It was delivered "once," not once upon a time, but once for all. Nineteenth century sinners are like the sinners of all the preceding centuries, and nineteenth century salvation is the same salvation which Paul preached.

IV. IT WAS "DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS." And so has it come down the line of evangelical succession ever since. The Church and the family have been God's appointed agencies for perpetuating and spreading far and wide His truth. Do we despise knowledge which comes to us through the channel of tradition? Is the boy's belief in the earth's figure less real because, instead of a scientific proof of it, he has been told only that it is round like an orange and not flat like a plate? Then why should we undervalue the religious beliefs which multitudes hold because they were taught to hold them, and it has never occurred to them to call them in question or even to verify them. We may trust the Church to act as trustee of the Bible without allowing it to make the Bible, or without accepting doctrines which it teaches outside of the Bible, just as we may trust a servant to go to the druggist to bring some medicine, when we would not allow him to put up the prescription. If, then, the Church is in possession of a definite body of truth — if, moreover, this truth is contained in the Bible — it would seem to follow that any objection to a formulated expression of it is very weak. For the Bible is practically of no use to us unless we are able to impose a meaning on what it says. We have entered into an inheritance of truth because of a pious parentage and a faithful ministry, and we are under solemn obligation to transmit that truth to the coming generation.

(The Study.)

I. WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE FAITH which was once delivered to the saints?

1. The faith is Divine in its origin.

2. The faith is adapted to man's moral needs. Three truths force themselves upon our notice when we study man in his moral relations.

(1)The sense of guilt and moral weakness.

(2)The liability to temptation and trouble.

(3)The certainty of death and a future state.These exist in all men everywhere. The faith responds to the sense of guilt and moral weakness.

3. The faith is complete in its contents — "once delivered," i.e., complete. To it nothing can be added. Astronomy may discover worlds of light in the heavens, but it does not add to the universe. Every star was there before astronomers lifted their telescopes skyward. Astronomy may enlarge our knowledge of the heavens and thrill us with new views of heavenly beauty, but it cannot create a new star. Music cannot add a new tone to the scale. The octave is the final measure of possible tones. So with the faith. Theology cannot add to it. The Bible will gain in interpretation, but no new principles can be added to its contents.


1. Saints are the depositaries of the faith.

2. Saints are the disseminators of the faith.


1. We must hold to it experimentally and consistently. Not to the theory, but to the practice; not to doctrine merely, but to salvation as a blessed reality.

2. We must hold it with courage and resolution.

3. We must contend for it with simplicity and sincerity.

(W.Hansom, D. D.)

I. WHAT WE MUST CONTEND FOR. For every truth of God, according to its moment and weight. The dust of gold is precious, and it is dangerous to be careless in the lesser truths (Matthew 5:19). There is nothing superfluous in the canon. Better heaven and earth should be blended together in confusion, saith Luther, than one dust of God's truth should perish. If the Lord call us out to the defence of them, whatever cometh of it we must be faithful. A man may make shipwreck of a good conscience in small matters. Hearken to Satan, and this will be a little one, and that shall be a little one, till we have littled away all the principles of faith. All this is not spoken to justify undue rigours, such as are without any temper of Christian moderation, or those frivolous controversies about trifles, such as have no foundation in the Word. Nor to justify the breaking of Church fellowship and communion, and making rents in the body of Christ, because of difference of opinion in smaller matters, when we agree in the more weighty things. We are to "walk together as far as we are agreed" (Philippians 3:16); and externals wherein we differ, lying far from the heart of religion, are nothing to faith and the new creature wherein we agree (Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15). The most weight should be pitched upon the fundamentals and essentials of religion, and when there is an agreement there private differences in smaller matters should not make us break off from one another.

II. WHO MUST STRIVE, AND IN WHAT MANNER? I answer, All in their place, and in that way that is proper to them.

1. Private Christians must have a share in this holy contention; their duty is partly —(1) To search out the truth that they may not fight blindfold, or by an unhappy mistake lavish out their zeal upon fancies which they affect, or ordinances and doctrines of men.(2) To own the profession of the truth, whatever it cost them.(3) To honour the truth by their conversations. There are heretical manners as well as heretical doctrines; and there are many that are otherwise of an orthodox belief, yet make others sectaries and disciples of their vices. Therefore Christians are called to "hold forth the word of life "in their conversations (Philippians 2:16), and to "make the doctrine of God the Saviour comely" (Titus 2:10), by glorifying God in that course of life to which they are disposed.(4) To comprise all in a few words, whatever maketh for the truth, either with God or men, all that must the people do.

2. There is something that the magistrate may do: "He is the minister of God for good" (Romans 13:4). I cannot see how they can be true to civil interest unless they be careful for the suppression of error. Besides that error is masterly and loveth to give law, therefore, ere it be too late, they should look to the civil peace, for if men be quiet God will not when His honour and truth and worship is neglected.

3. Ministers are to contend for the truth, for by their office and station in the Church they are captains of the people in this war against Satan and his adherents (Titus 1:9). Ministers must contend, partly by preaching, warning the people of the wolves that are abroad (Acts 20:29); partly by disputing (Acts 15:2; Acts 18:28), that by the knocking of flints light may fly out.

(T. Manton.)


1. That, in opposition to infidels, we exhibit the evidence of the authenticity of the Scriptures.

2. The next step, in defending the faith delivered to the saints, is to maintain the ground that the Bible is not only an authentic record, but that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God"; that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." There can be no firmer ground on which to rest our religious belief and our hopes of salvation.

3. We are to contend for those principles of interpretation which will lay open to our view the true meaning of the Scriptures, and not bring to them a meaning derived from our own preconceived opinions.

4. We are to contend for the very system of truth which was delivered to the saints; to maintain it in its simplicity and purity, unadulterated with additions from the speculations of men.

5. Contending for the primitive Christian faith implies a defence, not merely of what is expressly stated in the Scriptures, but also of what may be clearly inferred from the truths revealed.


1. A. defence of Scriptural doctrines do not necessarily imply that we prove them to be true by a course of argument independent of revelation. The evidence on which they rest is this, that God, who cannot err, and will not deceive, has caused them to be revealed to us as true. But we have to deal with those who do not admit the authority of the Bible. Is it not necessary on their account to resort to a course of reasoning, to establish religious principles? If you can prove all the truths of Scripture by a course of reasoning independent of Divine testimony, what need is there of inspiration?

2. Contending for the faith delivered to the saints does not necessarily imply that we contend for any particular form of words, different from those of Scripture, in which we or others have thought proper to express this faith.

3. Defending the truths of revelation does not imply, of course, a defence of the philosophical theories or hypotheses which have been proposed to explain the grounds, and reasons, and causes of what is revealed.

4. Contending for the faith delivered to the saints does not imply that we undertake to free it from all the difficulties which may be connected with the truths revealed.

5. Defending the primitive faith does not necessarily imply that we earnestly contend for every point which may be connected even with fundamental doctrines.

6. Contending for the Christian faith does not imply a defence of all the additions which have been made to this faith, with a view to supplying supposed deficiences in the Scriptures.

(Jeremiah Day, D. D.)

Adam, Balaam, Cain, Core, Enoch, James, Judas, Jude, Korah, Michael
Egypt, Ephesus, Gomorrah, Sodom
Agonize, Although, Appealing, Begin, Beloved, Cheer, Common, Constrained, Contend, Dear, Defense, Delivered, Diligence, Eager, Earnestly, Effort, Entrusted, Exhort, Exhorting, Faith, Felt, Fighting, Friends, Full, Giving, God's, Handed, Heart, Letter, Loved, Making, Myself, Necessary, Necessity, Needful, Obliged, Ones, Requesting, Saints, Salvation, Share, Strongly, Subject, Thoughts, Urge, Using, Vigorous
1. He exhorts them to be constant in the profession of the faith.
4. false teachers crept in to seduce them, for whose evil doctrine a horrible punishment is prepared;
20. whereas the godly may persevere, grow in grace, and keep the faith.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Jude 1:3

     1651   numbers, 1-2
     5293   defence, human
     5840   eagerness
     5971   uniqueness
     6214   participation, in Christ
     6510   salvation
     7024   church, nature of
     7025   church, unity
     7032   unity, God's people
     7120   Christians
     7770   priests, NT tasks
     7923   fellowship, in gospel
     8028   faith, body of beliefs
     8208   commitment, to God
     8236   doctrine, purpose
     8354   trustworthiness
     8415   encouragement, examples

Jude 1:3-4

     8237   doctrine, false
     8484   spiritual warfare, enemies
     8846   ungodliness

Jude 1:3-23

     6169   godlessness

The Holy Spirit and the one Church
Our text suggests to us three things: first, an inquiry--Have we the Spirit? secondly, a caution--if we have not the spirit we are sensual; thirdly, a suspicion--there are many persons that separate themselves. Our suspicion concerning them is, that notwithstanding their extra-superfine profession, they are sensual, not having the Spirit; for our text says, "These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit." I. First, then, our text suggests AN INQUIRY--Have we the Spirit? This
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Persevering Grace. Jude 1:24,25.
Persevering grace. Jude 1:24,25. To God the only wise, Our Savior and our King, Let all the saints below the skies Their humble praises bring. 'Tis his almighty love, His counsel, and' his care, Preserves us safe from sin and death, And every hurtful snare. He will present our souls, Unblemished and complete, Before the glory of his face, With joys divinely great. Then all the chosen seed Shall meet around the throne, Shall bless the conduct of his grace, And make his wonders known. To our Redeemer,
Isaac Watts—The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts

The Manifestation of the Church with Christ.
The last time the world saw the Lord Jesus He was alone--all alone in death. But when He returns to this earth He will not be alone. His saints will accompany Him. He is the "Firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29), and when He appears again they will be with Him. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again, bringing His sheaves with Him" (Ps. 126:6). Yes, that blessed One who humbled Himself to become the Sower shall return with "His sheaves"--"Behold,
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

The Twofold Bearing of this Fact.
We come now to a point concerning which it behooves believers, particularly young believers and beginners in the study of prophecy, to be quite clear upon. Like the other two great Facts which we have reviewed--the First Advent of our Lord to this earth and His going away, and the presence now of the Holy Spirit upon this earth--this third great fact of the Redeemer's Return also has a double bearing, a bearing upon the Church and a bearing upon the world. The Second Coming of Christ will occur in
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

The Redeemer's Return is Necessitated by the Present Exaltation of Satan.
One of the greatest mysteries in all God's creation is the Devil. For any reliable information concerning him we are shut up to the Holy Scriptures. It is in God's Word alone that we can learn anything about his origin, his personality, his fall, his sphere of operations, and his approaching doom. One thing which is there taught us about the great Adversary of God and man, and which observation and experience fully confirms, is, that he is a being possessing mighty power. It would appear, from a
Arthur W. Pink—The Redeemer's Return

Salvation is the song that was to be sung by the redeemed in that day. "Behold now is the day." Our salvation has come. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men." Salvation means deliverance. A prophecy concerning the Christ--our salvation--says: "He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound." Isa. 61:1. Christ our Savior came to deliver us from the prison-house of sin. In the
Charles Ebert Orr—The Gospel Day

Saved by Grace;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Character of Its Teachings Evidences the Divine Authorship of the Bible
Take its teachings about God Himself. What does the Bible teach us about God? It declares that He is Eternal: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou are God" (Ps. 90:2). It reveals the fact that He is Infinite: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee" (I Kings 8:27). Vast as we know the universe to be, it has its bounds; but we must go beyond
Arthur W. Pink—The Divine Inspiration of the Bible

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