Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
The Faith Delivered unto the Saints (Part 2)
". . . the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 1:3
May God bless you all!
Jude, perhaps frustrated that so many believers of the Way now being called Christians by the world, would be enticed and deceived to fall back into both the ways of the world and old failed religious practices, has penned a short, and to the point, letter. It seems a far too easy thing to forget our roots in Christ and be enticed either back into the world or into seemingly more glamorous religious schemes and belief systems. Why, then, do we so quickly turn to either old failed religious practices or to the world's way of doing things? Look what Jude says next:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
- Jude 1:3-5
I am struck by three particular phrases that Jude uses:
The phrase "common salvation" in the Greek is
. It means what it implies,
common: ". . . that is, (literally) shared by all or several . . ." (Strong's G2839); and salvation: ". . . rescue or safety (physically or morally): - deliver, health, salvation, save, saving" (Strong's G4991). The common Greek at the time was called
as opposed to various classical Greek forms. It was the business language of the Greek and Roman Empires, and basically everyone knew how to speak it. The common man spoke
So why did Jude select the phrase "common salvation"? Could it mean that we all share the same salvation; that is, saved by God's grace through the blood of Christ by believing and confessing? The common salvation does not require some hidden formula, elaborate ceremony, or secret handshake. Why is Christianity so divided today if we all have a "common salvation"? It kind of gives you pause, doesn't it?
The phrase "earnestly contend" in Greek is one word
. It means to
struggle for (Strong's G1864) something, to super compete for the prize (derived from: Zodhiates, 1992, #1864, p. 610). When we earnestly contend for something, we aren't just running a marathon to see if we can finish it, or see where we place, or find out if we did as good as last time, but we have but one goal, and that is to win! I suspect very few Christians "earnestly contend" for the faith, but instead they are happy to be saved, don't want to ruffle anyone's feathers, let's not get too fanatical about this Christian thing, etc. Most believers coast. Some contend. Few earnestly contend. Where do you fit on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the person who is all out for Christ?
The Greek word for saints is
, and means "sacred, (physically
blameless . . .
) . . ." (Strong's G40). We are sinners who by
God's grace have been set apart from the rest of the world, and He then imputed upon us His holiness and made us sacred, blameless, and consecrated to Himself. That is definitely a WOW moment! Those who believe in Christ as their personal Savior are in a special class or group of people. Not smarter, better, richer, worthier, or greater than others - but set apart as a consecrated people for Himself. Ever have a child select a toy that looks like all the others - but he/she has to have that one (usually on the top shelf)!
We are called to be saints: (1 Corinthians 1:2) "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus,
, with all that in
every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:" What does that mean? Here are seven things that a saint is called to. This is not an exhaustive list, but it is one to get us started:
1. Saints are called to rejoice in Christ
2 Chronicles 6:41: Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.
Psalm 30:4: Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Psalm 145:10: All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.
Psalm 149:5: Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
2. We are called to fear Christ
Psalm 37:28: For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psalm 97:10: Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
Proverbs 2:8: He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
Psalm 34:9: O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for
no want to them that fear
Psalm 89:7: God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all
3. We are called to His protection (preserves His saints)
4. We are called to receive/help each other
1 Corinthians 16:1: Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
Hebrews 6:10: For God
not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love,
which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Ephesians 6:18: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
5. We are called to judge now and in the future
1 Corinthians 6:1-2: Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
1 Corinthians 14:29: Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
6. We are called to a rich inheritance
Ephesians 1:18: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Colossians 1:12: Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Revelations 11:18: And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
7. We are called to maturity in Christ
Ephesians 4:12: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
1 Thessalonians 3:13: To the end he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
You who believe in Christ as your personal Savior need to remember that you are now a saint, called to a common-shared salvation, and as you continue to mature in Christ, you need to set your sights on the goal of earnestly contending for the faith. More next time.
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation.
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.
The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament.
Zhodiates, Dr. S. (Ed.). (1992).
Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.