Why do Christians stop working hard at contending for the truth?
When a person isn’t making an effort at knowing the essentials of the Christian faith and isn’t concerned enough about those essentials to defend them when they are attacked, it’s true enough he’s being spiritually lazy.
But the fact of the matter is an unwillingness to make an effort at knowing the essentials of the Christian faith and an unwillingness to stand up and defend those essentials when they are attacked exhibits a much more serious problem than mere spiritual laziness.
Spiritual laziness is a symptom.
I don’t care how lazy a person is, if I said this building was on fire, he would be up and out of here in an instant; probably running faster than he ever thought you could.
If I said this building was on fire and we didn’t get up and run out of here, I don’t think it would be just because we were lazy.
Very few people have died from fires just because they were lazy. Most people die in a fire because they didn’t know about the danger until it was too late. Or at least they didn’t believe it.
Likewise, when Christians don’t contend for the faith; when they don’t work hard at getting to know the essentials of the faith and don’t make the effort to stand up for those essentials, it isn’t merely because they are being lazy; they are being lazy for a reason, they are being lazy because, I guess we can’t say they don’t know about the danger – but perhaps we might say because they’ve forgotten about it – or at least they are neglecting to consider it.
That seems to be Jude’s point in verse 5. “Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it…”
If compromise starts when Christians stop contending for the truth;
Christians stop contending for the truth when they start forgetting the danger of error.
After pleading with these believers to contend for the faith; now he tells them why – but he wants them to understand what he’s about to tell them is nothing new. It’s something they were fully aware and had been neglecting to consider.
The danger of error.
They weren’t contending for the truth because they weren’t taking theological error seriously enough and they weren’t taking theological error seriously enough because they had forgotten how seriously God takes it.
Which can easily happen to us, can’t it?
How many times have you been tempted to think is this whole knowing, studying, and standing up and fighting for truth thing really such a big deal?
I’m not talking about being opinionated all the time or contentious, fighting for your view of how the locusts in Revelation should be interpreted, I’m talking about knowing the basics of the Christian faith and refusing to waver on them.
We face an enormous pressure to stop standing up for not just on minor secondary issues, but core ones – like, is Jesus really the only way of salvation?
And the fact is, a lot of professing Christians are tempted to be like, you know what? Why be dogmatic?
To help those thinking like that, those tempted to compromise on the very basics of the Christian life Jude reminds us of three Old Testament stories all illustrating the danger of theological error…
Which we’ll look at next week.