“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
Ty Duncan recently taught from Jude and this passage was brought out as the central thought of the book. It makes a fitting memory verse to begin this new year.
Consider that disciples of must contend for the faith because:
- Men have turned the grace of God into lewdness and deny God (1:4). Men have, since early times, perverted the grace of God. It should not surprise us when they do this today.
- The Lord after He had saved the people out of the land of Egypt destroyed those who did not believe (1:5). There is no solid support for the notion that when a person is saved he is permanently and forever sealed and can never sin so as to be lost! He must continue in the faith to inherit Heaven, our Promised Land. If this is not the application of the text, then what is saying?
- Even the angels who did not keep their proper domain are doomed (1:6). If angels cannot get away with sin, why should we think we can? “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23).
- Sodom and Gomorrah’s downfall serve as an example of what it means to suffer the vengeance of God (1:7).
- Men have rejected authority (1:8).
- Men speak evil of what they do not know (1:10). Ignorance is often at the source of much evil talk.
- There are spots in our love feasts (1:12). Our “love feasts” are not church-sponsored meals as some have fallaciously asserted. Paul never authorized such a practice (1 Cor. 11:22, 34). Our love feasts are not composed of any kind of literal feast any more than these wrongdoers are literally “spots,” “clouds,” “late autumn trees,” or “raging waves of the sea.” “Love feasts” is a figurative expression describing our worship time before God generally and possibly the Lord’s Supper specifically. The Greek word for “spot” was used in Homer’s Odyssey in the sense of a rock or reef in the sea which destroyed ships (see 3:298). Jude is speaking in the same way about men who come into the church and with raging waves spiritually and morally collide Christians into a rock (cf. 1 Tim. 1:19).
- The Lord is coming to execute judgment (1:14, 15). Judgment is sure.
Let’s become contenders of the faith so as to preserve the integrity of stance before God.
--Steven J. Wallace
3 John 2
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
John’s prayer for the beloved Gaius was that he would prosper in all things and be in health and that these would be in proportion to his soul’s health. It is not wrong to pray for good health and to seek to be prosperous. But what is wrong is placing little weight on the soul’s condition. While we know there are many whose physical health supersedes their souls’ health. We also know that there are others still whose spiritual health dwarfs their physical condition.
The question for each of us to ask is “What would my prosperity and health be like if such were in proportion to my soul?” What would my status in life be like? What would I feel like? Would I have heart problems because my heart is not right with God (Acts 8:21)? Would my bones rot due to envy (Prov. 14:30)? Would my appetite be morbid due to a lack of hunger for spiritual things (Matt. 5:6)? What would my hearing be like (2 Tim. 4:3, 4)? How well would my vision and memory be (2 Pet. 1:9)?
Would I want John to make this prayer for me?
--Steven J. Wallace
2 John 9
“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”
While the apostle John has a lot to say about love, he stresses the importance of being doctrinally correct. Real love must have its basis in the love and respect for God. To move beyond the doctrine of Christ is to move beyond the truth. One can never leave the truth and retain God any more than one can leave the teaching of the gospel as an act of love.
- “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love” (2 Jn. 3).
- “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 Jn. 2:5).
- “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jn. 5:3).
--Steven J. Wallace
1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 1 Jn. 1:5-2:2 or 1:1-2:2.
EXTENDED CONTEXT: 1 Jn. 1:1-3:10
“Fellowship” is a joint participation or sharing in something. Gospel fellowship is always spiritual and never carnal. We share with one another and with God when we walk where God is—the light. There is no darkness in Him and we cannot agree with Him if we are walking in darkness—sin. A walk conveys a manner of life and while it is possible for a Christian to sin, he must with godly sorrow confess it rather than concealing it. Three times we read, “If we say.”
- 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness we lie and do not practice the truth.”
- 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
- 1:10, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”
God demands a consistent likeness to Him and when we fall short, He requires that we confess our faults to Him and repent. Those who sin and refuse to recognize such deceive themselves as well as charge God with being a liar. That is a dangerous position to be in.
The key to walking in the light and keeping fellowship with God is not minimizing sin, but keeping a tender heart where His word abides as an honored guest (1 Jn. 1:10; 2:5, 14). If we want the atoning benefits of the blood of Christ, we must walk in the light.
--Steven J. Wallace
2 Peter 3:18
“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”
IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 2 Peter 3:14-18.
Sometimes the main point to make is fully said and emphasized at the very end. In this case, it is the commission to grow! What is not growing is dying. 2 Peter 3:18 expresses the end of many important truths the apostle had taught. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, because:
- There is a great day coming (2 Pet. 3:10-13).
- The Lord is not slack concerning His promise but is longsuffering (2 Pet. 3:1-9).
- There will be false teachers among you who can lead you astray (2 Pet. 2:1-22).
- The prophetic word is confirmed (2 Pet. 1:12-21).
- One is fruitless without such graces of virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Pet. 1:5-11).
- God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through Christ (2 Pet. 1:1-4).
Questions: Have I grown more this year than last or am I flat or perhaps digressing? What am I doing to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord? Am I easily distracted from attaining personal achievement in the word by things in the world? Is my measure of growth concurrent with my measure of diligence? Surely, we are never diligent in what we are disinterested.
Therefore, consider our highlighted passage in light of these segments from 2 Peter:
- “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge” (1:5).
- “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble” (1:10).
- “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (3:14).
--Steven J. Wallace