We were warned. We were told this would happen. Jesus said in Matthew 24:11, “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.” In Paul’s exhortation to Timothy, he says, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3). Where there are those who desire to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are also false teachers who want to distort it and destroy it. This is nothing new. The problem we face today with false teachers is a problem Christians had to deal with in biblical times too. Therefore, we can look upon the wisdom of God’s Word to see how we are to respond in such a situation. Jude helps us with this. A servant of Jesus Christ, Jude writes to the authentic followers of Christ (v. 1). You can see his affection for them and the commonality of their faith in Christ (vv. 2-3a). Yet, in a world ravaged by sin, this common salvation does not mean no opposition or deception. Rather, Jude realizes he must write to them to “contend for the faith” because it is under attack. They must protect and fight for the gospel that has been delivered to all Christians (v. 3b). The contend for the gospel because there are those who want to distort it. Verse 4 lays it out plainly, “For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” These false teachers were deceptive and entered the church. They were prophesied about and were those who others were warned about. Moreover, these false prophets perverted the grace of God and twisted the gospel of grace. As a result, the message they preached was not a message that saved at all. It was a message that led straight to hell. That is why Jude tells his Christian brothers and sisters to contend for the faith. That is why we must take seriously the call to contend for the faith. We do not live in peacetime. We are bombarded with false messages and distorted “gospels”. We must be discerning on what God says and we must guard the gospel and proclaim it.
- How does knowing there are false teachers among us today relate to our commitment to the Word of God? How can you practice spiritual discernment this week so as to not be deceived?