"Beloved, although 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)
What is the first faith? It is not a doctrine or creed; nor is it a personal desire to persuade others to ‘my faith.’ The first faith is a desire, a heartfelt longing to know the faith of Jesus (or Yeshua if you like).
Regardless of what you and I believe today, how much of it looks like the faith Jesus gave the Apostles? Would first century believers, followers of the Way making up the Early Church, would they recognize our faith as authentic? With so many variations of faith (call it Christian belief or doctrine), in some way the faith you and I each hold has in some way been added to or subtracted from the faith first given by Jesus.
Therefore, will we continue to hold onto our personal faith based upon the doctrines and traditions of men? Or are we willing to begin a journey toward the first faith?
The first step is to allow the Holy Spirit to be our teacher. The Spirit of Truth is the only One that knows and will make known the first faith, the faith that is genuine and authentic, the faith of Jesus. Our LORD promised that the Spirit “will guide [us] into all the truth” (John 16:13). Through the power of the Spirit let us begin to question our faith; if it is genuine and true it will stand up to our examination. Let’s “test everything;” holding fast what is good (1 Thes. 5:21).
And so let us “contend for the faith,” but as we contend to know the first faith, let’s not become contentious. We may not agree about everything, but we can be agreeable. This is what identifies us as followers of Jesus that we love one another. And in turn, “As iron sharpens iron,” we can sharpen each other toward the first faith (Prov. 27:17).