“Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 3
When I think about my own life I can see clearly the difference between the blessing of walking in the light of the Word thru the path of certainty as I live today in contrast to the devastating consequences of a life marked with mysticism, plagued with new so-called revelations from God and all sort of doctrinal errors stemming out of a despising for doctrine and the Word of the God that I claimed I knew in my former life. So to me ‘once and for all’ wasn’t a reality, I was always looking for something new.
But when life and circumstances went out of my control and I found myself admitted in a psychiatric facility it was the Word of God that pull me out of there and gave me real hope with Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
Maybe you have been in a similar or in the same situation, or maybe you know somebody that is still trapped in the uncertainty of not knowing that revelations have ceased, that the Word was given once and for all, that’s why I think is so important to talk about this ,so I’m going to show you my first point.
What does it mean ‘once and for all’?
Once and for all put an end in the timetable revelations, so it set the boundaries, it marks an end to the written revelations from God. If we are going to answer the questions; is the biblical cannon still opened? Is there new revelation coming from God? Does God still speak audible to us? We can find all these answers in Jude 3. Knowing what ‘once and for all’ means will mark to us the perimeter, the limits where we should focus in our spiritual walk when it comes to revelations. It will determine if we walk on uncertainty grounds or if we walk upon certainty grounds where we can say along with the psalmist “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
What was given once and for all?
The faith was given once and for all; by the time of Jude was the Old Testament and the teachings of the Lord and the Apostles, some centuries later this come to mean the whole council of God revealed thru the Word, having the canonical books in mind.
Jude had in mind the well-being of the beloved, and he knew that for the sound doctrine to prevail believers have to rely upon the Word, unlike the false teachers that will promote not only false teachings, but new sources of revelation and creating havoc and chaos because of their lack of biblical consistency. Jude knew that for the believers to be able to present themselves to the refining work of sanctification and being able to contend earnestly for the faith, they need to be rooted to the Word, to those set of doctrines already passed down to them thru the work of the Apostles.
How God has spoken once and for all?
God has spoken to men in 4 different ways thru history.
First: thru His decrees, those words that take the form of powerful decrees that causes events to happen or even cause things to come into being. We see this in the creation account of Genesis 1. But now, is still God speaking today thru His decrees? No, He is not, even we still benefit from the creation and the fact that He preserves the creation with His Word. Hebrews 1:3 “…and upholds all things by the Word of His power…”
Second: God spoke Words of personal address. We see this at the very beginning when He spoke to Adam and Eve, also when He gave Moses the tablets with the Ten Commands and in Jesus’ baptism when God the Father spoke from Heaven “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 Does still God speak in audible voice, well no, even some people still claim that He does, it is very hard for them to know that it was really God or even more difficult to them to prove that in fact that really happened.
Third: God has spoken through the lips of man; we see this clearly in the lives of the prophets and apostles. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:20 that the church is built ‘on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets’. Is God still speaking thru Apostles and Prophets? We know that this is not, because those offices are not longer in existence and the canon of the Scripture has been closed.
Fourth: We have God’s Words in written form, the Bible, the first time we see this is when God Himself wrote the two tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments and gave it to Moses, “And the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tablets.” Exodus 32:16
After this account we know that Moses wrote other books and then Joshua and the prophets till we get to the last revelation given to the Apostles and the apostolic church in the first century. Is still God given new revelation nowadays? No, if that be the case it should be added it to the Bible. And then again Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:20 that the church is been built upon the already given revelation of the Prophets and Apostles.
How knowing the ‘once and for all’ principles help us practically?
The faith was handed down to us, the saints, and we are to contend earnestly for it. And this mean to struggle, it carries the meaning of in a sporting event, where the athlete is singly-focused and determined to win the prize. It also carries the meaning of defend, as a soldier defending his post. It carries a positive connotation; the contender is fighting for something, not against something.
If we are to fight for our own sanctification, this struggle has to take place in the arena of the Word of God, and this is the intention of Jude when he puts a limit to those revelations by bounded them in the certainty of the already revealed Word.
If there is something that God wants us to know it is in the Bible, if someone approaches us with a different message or claiming to have a message from God we always have to refer to the Bible as our only and competent tool, because in it, we will find all the revelations that God has spoken to us once and for all.
To summit up, knowing that the Word was given to us once and for all will give us certainty, will help us to be focused on the Word, will allow us to grow and mature and be able to fight earnestly for the faith by living godly lives.