Vigilance in faith in Christ

By: By Cathleen Cathcart - Contributing Columnist

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: 2 Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. — Jude 1:1-4

Jude was writing to motivate Christians to stay strong in the faith during a time of heresy and false teaching. He had also hoped to restore those who had been deceived. There were many who were teaching that Christians could do as they please without fear of God’s punishment, but this was contrary to the Christ-centered life the church was to be living. Immorality was growing rampantly, the unity of the church was deteriorating, and the witness of God’s Word was corrupt.

Today, there is still such a mentality that believes the only purpose for grace is to allow one to continue in sin. This is false teaching. The grace of Jesus Christ does in fact cover our sin when we confess and believe on Him, but it does so for the purpose of reconciling us to God. When we receive this grace (unmerited favor that offers salvation through Christ) we are no longer separated from God by our sin, and sin no longer has bondage over us. We are then able to live a sustained moral life by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean a perfect life, but certainly a changed life that produces fruit of a walk with Christ.

As Christians, we should want to live a life that is pleasing to God and bears witness of our gratitude for forgiveness. When one only desires forgiveness for the purpose of continuing in selfish desire, unethical behavior, and lack of self-discipline, then serving and glorifying God, our Creator, is not our reason for living and fellowshipping in this world.

There seems to be a shift in what society perceives a Christian to be. We cannot live in reaction to the world’s view — we must live in response to the Word of God. Let me ask, can you explain to others how your faith sustains you in this world? Our faith in Christ and eternal life is not something that should be easy to conceal. While there are those who feel it is offensive to use the name of Jesus’ Christ, let us acknowledge that it was Jesus who died for every person. For me to deny my faith and not pray in the name of Jesus, would be like choosing not to breathe because someone feels my breath is offensive. Now, there is a kind and graceful way to do all things, and we should never force things on others, but at the same time, we should not live in fear of those who are against God’s Word, actually, we are to still love them!

We can love, interact, and respect people of all walks of life and religions, and yes, sometimes we have to agree to disagree. The purpose of sharing this scripture is to remind the church to fulfill it’s purpose, which is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. The problem is, fewer and fewer people seem to know what the Bible truly says. Too often, we neglect to study and seek understanding of scripture, hence, we’ve become ineffective in spreading the message. Jude encouraged his readers to be vigilant in their faith and oppose heresy. This same encouragement is offered to you today. The purpose of sharing our faith is to offer joy and deliverance to those who are hurting and suffering so they may find peace and comfort in Jesus Christ.

I pray, “Let my life be a light to all those around me, and let me grow in knowledge of Your Word that I may share it with others who are in need. In Jesus’ name I ask, amen.”

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By Cathleen Cathcart

Contributing Columnist

Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.

Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.