Earnestly Contending For The Faith – 1

The Christian life is like a race that is run or likened to a fight that is fought. The expected end is victory for the diligent and obedient. A true athlete or sports person does not engage in distractions or activities that are counter-productive to his or her physical fitness. There is constant need to shun drinks and foods that are harmful. Performance-enhancing drugs should also be avoided in order to run fairly, in clean competition with fellow athletes. Sports persons who violate their bodies and violate fairness would be either unfit or be disqualified! The same is true in the Christian race. Our bodies are the temples of the Living God. Therefore we should keep our bodies pure and healthy. Violators would be punished. The punishment comes first through weakness, sickness, diseases and sudden death. Later on, more punishment comes from God. It is everlasting condemnation in hell, where their worn does not die and the fire is not quenched! The term worm refers to the human entity and make up. Jesus Christ preached a lot to warn people about hell, especially where our actions tend to mislead others (Mark 9:42-48). Jesus knows the dangers of a physical place called Hell. Hell was made to punish Satan and the fallen angels who joined in his rebellion against God. Keep your bodies pure and fit. Sexual impurities such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality and such like make human beings to violate the plan of God. Because of these God destroyed the ancient great cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-26). Obedience to the word of God helps us to live happily and end our lives on a good and high note of morality, peace, joy, and eternal life. Keep your minds pure also, because secret sins of the mind are also punishable! Thanks be to God for his great grace. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish , but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through him, Jesus, the world might be saved (John 3:16-17). Paul in his letter to the Ephesians stated: For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Having been saved, we are to show proofs of the transformation in our lives by God. We are saved to produce good works. Paul said: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). As Christians, believers in Christ, and members of the body of Christ, called the Church, we have been forgiven. Our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We are Ambassadors of Jesus Christ. We who have been reconciled with God through the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross as a sacrifice to make peace and bring us back to God. We became adopted as sons and daughters of the Living God. We have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and promoted into the kingdom of light. Hallelujah! We are to share this good news with the whole world as Ambassadors of Jesus Christ. We carry about the Good News of Reconciliation as we represent the Kingdom of God! In his letter to the Christians in Galatia, Paul stated: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). The works of the flesh such as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like no longer rule our lives! The fruits of the Holy Spirit have taken control. Thanks be to God.
This generation of the Twenty-first Century is more corrupt, more loose, more guardless, more profane, more rebellious, more disrespectful to elders and parents, more sophisticated and therefore more challenging to live in than previous generations! As Christians, we must not be swallowed by the stormy waves of Challenging Counterfeits of the 21st Century! The individual, corporate, institutional and governmental acts, bills, laws and decrees which challenge the Christian Faith must be resisted positively. These call for Divine, civil, decent, but firm actions and stands.
Jude in his General Epistle rightly reminds us of those in the past who disregarded God and thus had severe consequences. He warned us not to imitate their bad examples so that we also may not fall into the same state. Jude referred to human beings as well as angels who fell into sin through rebellion against ALMIGHTY GOD. All of these suffered damnation. For our safety therefore Jude counsels us to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to those who received like faith in Christ as we have. God’s power has made available unto us all that we need to live successfully in this world. God has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. It would be a case of high risk and fool-hardiness on our part to forget where and what we were rescued from or neglect divine guidance as revealed in the scriptures already given for our benefit and safe, thorough passage through the present life. The Apostle Peter in his general epistle stated under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost that God’s divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue. We are enabled to partake of the loving, holy and powerful nature of God and do away with the deceitful life of sin and darkness(2 Peter 1:3-4). It then becomes our responsibility to stay true, clean, loving and obedient as we journey through life. We have examples to encourage and spur us along to run a clean race without being disqualified. There are good examples from the early church, from later years and from this present generation. It is like building a house. A solid foundation is first laid based on faith in Christ on the merits of his blood shed on the cross, his death,burial and resurrection from the dead on the third day and his being alive forever to save completely, all who have so put their trust in him. Durable substances are then built upon the solid foundation. Growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ through his words, prayer, fellowship, fruitfulness of faith-sharing, diligence and steadfastness. It is our duty and responsibility to make our calling and election sure. We must not be like a stagnant water which loses its freshness every day. Faith plus Virtue plus Knowledge plus Temperance plus Patience plus Godliness plus Brotherly kindness plus Charity need to increase in us daily. We shall be profitable vessels of honour to God, bringing glory to him and immense blessings to many people. In these days of many challenging counterfeits we need to stand firmly, boldly, clearly and lovingly. No room for compromising the faith which was initially delivered to the early saints from whom we got the baton to run the Christian race. Jude in his General Epistle stated:

—But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Keep yourselves in the love of God , looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life -Jude 20-21.

As we stand firmly in the faith, we are able to rely on the Lord, Who is able to uphold us to the very end of our earthly race and journey. Each person ought to build up himself or herself. Then we shall be better placed to be of help to our brothers and sisters in the faith. Praying in the Holy Ghost is the same as praying in tongues as enabled by the Holy Ghost. Our weaknesses or infirmities are overcome; and we are thus empowered to pray in tune with the will of God. The essential daily experience is most refreshing, revealing, encouraging, inspiring and empowering. In the words of one of the first choruses learnt when we first believed, over 40 years ago, this series is paused until the next post:
Be steadfast, unmovable, By faith stand your ground. Let the world not entice you, nor let errors confound. For the Lord is your portion, His word is your guide. Be steadfast, unyielding, and turn not aside 1 Corinthians 15:58 KJV.[To be continued]. Abundant Grace be with you.

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