What does it mean to contend earnestly for the faith?

(Jude 3) 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.

Jude challenges us, concerning our common salvation, to contend earnestly for the faith. What do you think he means, to contend earnestly for the faith?

In order to keep our faith we have to contend with the resistance in the world that wants to mock or lie to us that our faith is weak, or non existence. Believing in Jesus Christ is completely contrary to the world’s beliefs the physical. It takes effort, discipline and daily obedience to hold onto our faith and what we are trusting God for. But its worth the fight to walk in Victory

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Paul taught that we are saved by grace. In Jude 4 he says that there were men who crept in and turned the grace of God into lewdness and denied the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. He exhorts us to contend earnestly which means we must fight the good fight of faith with sincere conviction. This means that when false doctrine creeps in believers must be so deeply and intimately rooted in our love for our Lord and in the truth of Hs word that nothing will stop our faith. No falsehoods, no naysayers, no persecutors will hinder our profession that Jesus is Lord and that his promises are true. Fighting the good fight of faith to the finish will lead us into a life of victory!

Contending earnestly for the faith includes fighting the good fight of faith for our individual walks, avoiding corruption, immorality,”rejecting authority, speaking evil of dignitaries,grumbling,complaining,walking according to our own lusts, and using flattery to gain advantage.” Jude 18-19 warns us that there would be mockers in the last time and sensual persons who would cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” Avoiding these wrong behaviors makes us a much better witness of our faith so that we can be better soul winners which is part of contending earnestly for the faith.
Jude points out in verse 20-21 that we have powerful tools that equip us to be able to contend earnestly for the faith. This includes praying in the Holy Spirit and keeping ourselves in the love of God.
When I do this it not only empowers me to keep my faith walk strong, avoid being in the flesh and other wrong behaviors, but it also enables me to walk in love with others. I was saved because people prayed for me and because people like Carmen and Al shared God”s love by their actions. I can contend earnestly for the faith by doing the same. I can pray for opportunities to share my faith and for the courage and boldness to obey those open doors.

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Hello Maggie,
I am blessed by your response and it helps when the surrounding scriptures of Jude are brought into context to understand it better. I have a question about your reply. You had mentioned that we have tools that help us contend earnestly for the faith, specifically praying in the Holy Spirit (building ourselves up in our most holy faith) and keeping ourselves in the love of God.

What do you think Jude means when he says to “keep ourselves in the love of God” and how does that help us in keeping the good fight of faith?

To contend earnestly is an interesting word to look at.

Usage: an (athletic) contest; hence, a struggle (in the soul).
Helps Word Studies: – properly, a contest ( struggle ), a grueling conflict (fight); (figuratively) positive struggle that goes with " fighting the good fight of faith" (1 Tim 6:12) – which literally states, " Struggle the good struggle of the (life of) faith."

And Paul uses the metaphor of an athletic contest in describing faith as well, saying “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 2:4)

I have always liked the analogy of keeping the faith as an endurance race. Partly because, in my youth, I raced competitively during school. And drawing from that experience, I want to share an anecdote my cross country coach would always say.

Right before an important race, when all the runners on the team would be feeling jittery, he would say, “The race was won months ago. Go out there and give it your best.” What he meant was that how consistent a team trains months before the actual race would be the deciding factor in who won.

Paul characterizes faith as a work (1 Thessalonians 1:3). James says if our faith isn’t working, then it’s dead. There are some basic things we should be doing daily to keep our faith in form (reading the Word, giving thanks to God, praying in the Spirit). Diligence to the work that faith requires from us will help in the race of faith. Because if we dust off our faith from the shelf when a trial comes, we may be caught by surprise when we find ourselves lacking.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11)


Jude1:21 exhorts us to “keep ourselves in the love of God”.
keep = tereo in the Greek Strong”s defines it as keep,reserve,guard,observe,preserve
Love = agape meaning love,ie. affection,benevolence Romans 5:8 says that
God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. John 15:9-10 says” As the Father loved Me,I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep
My commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” We demonstrate our love for Him by obeying his commandments of loving Him with all of our heart,mind,and strength and by loving others.John 14:21 reinforces this. It says that if we keep His commandments we love Jesus and that he who loves Jesus will be loved by my Father. Keeping ourselves in the love of God by obeying His word empowers us to contend earnestly for the faith. It gives us the courage to fight off temptation. The more we love God the less we want to disappoint Him. We become bolder in sharing our faith, His word becomes more alive to us. We get hungrier for the truth and will be less likely to fall for deception and the apostasy that Jude warns us of. Our love for others grows so that we care enough to extend mercy to them and do what it says in Jude 22 inn order to extend salvation to them.


It’s amazing how you both are tying love into contending for the faith. We know the word says that faith works through love (Gal 5:6), so contending for the faith, would by definition require us to love one another. That’s really good.