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Contending For The Faith

Hold Fast

Jude 3
I fully intended, dear friends, to write to you about our common salvation, but I feel compelled to make my letter to you an earnest appeal to put up a real fight for the faith which has been once and for all committed to those who belong to Christ.
Phillips

The Greek here ("hold fast") means to have or to hold in the hand, in the sense of wearing something. "To hold fast" is to grasp and wrap oneself in the doctrines of truth. Since Paul is talking of teaching here, the idea is one of possessing in your mind the doctrine you have heard. This is the same doctrine "which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). "To hold fast" is, then, to cling to the teaching. By understanding correct doctrine, we can avoid the false doctrine so dreaded by the New Testament writers.

What are examples of doctrinal errors?

First, remember that to Paul, and all of the other writers of the New Testament, indeed, of all of Scripture, any doctrine contrary to the teachings of truth issued by God is a false teaching, thus, a doctrinal error. At the root of all New Testament error is the issue of the Person of Jesus Christ. But, beyond this, several lists may be made of the doctrinal errors. One such list would read:

Legalism (Gal 2:4-5)

The need for circumcision for salvation (Acts 15:1-2)

Arguments concerning myths, genealogies, blood lines (1 Tim 1:3-7)

Docetism (1 John 4:1-3)

Issues on the timing of the resurrection (2 Tim 2:17-18)

Arguments that there is no resurrection of the dead (1 Cor 15:12-19)

Arguments that those who die will miss the Resurrection (1 Thess 4:13-18)

Worship of angels (Col 2:18)

The occult (Rev 2:24)

Liberality in one&s freedom in Christ (1 Cor. 5:1-2; 6:12-20)

Paul sees himself as commissioned by Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel, the Good News of Christ. Paul refers to this as the Gospel of God (Rom 1:1). In another portion of Romans, Paul calls it Christ&s Gospel, specifically calling it the "Gospel of His Son" (Rom 1:9) and the "Gospel of Christ" (Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12). It is the "Gospel of salvation" (Eph 1:13) and "of peace" (Eph 6:15). Several times Matthew refers to the Good News as the "Gospel of the Kingdom" (Matt 4:23; 9:35). Luke calls it this, plus the "Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). The 4th verse of the first chapter of Romans invokes the Spirit of holiness (the Holy Spirit) in this delivery of the Gospel. All-in-all, the Gospel message is the Gospel of the Trinity.

Notice this verse and the next run much in parallel -

Hold fast goes along with guarding. The NIV translates this as being that which Timothy heard from Paul. It is this Gospel of God that Paul has taught to Timothy. It is this Gospel of God that Timothy is to hold fast and guard. The Greek word for guard brings forth the same picture as the English. Timothy is to keep the Gospel from being snatched away. He is to protect it, preserving it safe and unimpaired, that is, free from doctrinal errors. The disciple is to care for the Gospel, to keep it from being despoiled. In other words, as is listed above, anything that distorts the Gospel message is a false teaching.

Second Timothy is written to a young disciple in the midst of false teachers. Second Timothy was written to warn Paul&s spiritual son about the problems of false teachers, those who preach against the Gospel of God. It is interesting to note, this sounds like the same problem Jude faced. In fact, a review of the New Testament shows that almost all of the books from Acts through Revelation deal with false teachers or false doctrine. We must always keep in mind that all deception is from Satan (1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:13).

 

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