– Peter Marshall
Contend for the Faith
Have you heard the old saying, “If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything,” from Alexander Hamilton? It’s certainly true and is very close to what Peter Marshall wrote in his quote, but most importantly, it is biblical. Jude was very concerned about the false gospel and teachers that had snuck into the church like spies, and so it’s no wonder he wrote, “I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). If we don’t contend for the faith of the true gospel of repentance and faith (Mark 1:15), who will?
Just up the road from our church there is a church which had a gigantic Santa Clause with an electric guitar and the church invited the public to come and “Rock with Santa.” I couldn’t believe it? Really? Santa Clause? What about Christ!? What about the gospel of repentance and faith; the same gospel Jesus came preaching when He began His earthly ministry? Their parking lot was packed…ours was small, but we don’t let that get us down. We don’t have to pass out ear plugs to people coming into the church like the “Rockin’ Santa” church does, but we do preach the original gospel, and not a counterfeit (2nd Cor 11:4; Gal 1:8). We preach what Jesus preached, and that is “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), but this is what makes the grace so amazing.
Always Be Ready
The Apostle Peter must have defended the faith dozens of times, just like the Apostle Paul did. Even Stephen the Deacon did and paid for it with his life. When they were defending the faith, they usually began with the earliest part of Israel’s history, going all the way back to Abraham. They were ready to give a defense of the faith, but Peter tells us that it is not a onetime event. It is a process and an ongoing preparation for defending the faith. This is why Peter says we are “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1st Pet 3:15). We never graduate from this defending preparation. This means we should continue to study and grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2nd Pet 3:18).
What if no one ever spoke out against injustice? What if no one was going to defend the true gospel of repentance and faith (Mark 1:15)? May God use us to contend for the faith once and for all delivered; let us speak the truth about the wrath of God so that they will flee to the cross (John 3:36; Rom 2), and let us always be prepared to give an answer for the reason we believe in Jesus Christ.