There are times in Church history when we discover the way
forward by rediscovering a truth that was present in our past. Jude wrote a
short letter describing the “salvation we all share”. He said this
shared faith was “once for all delivered to the saints”. What struck me
most in Jude’s letter was the phrase, “once for all delivered to the saints”.
This package of truth was a deposit made 2,000 years ago
when God birthed the Church and gave us everything up front – “once for all”.
God gave it all to us at our beginning and we have spent the last two
millennia attempting to unpack that original deposit in each new cultural
context. This is the nature of God’s inheritance to His people. We work from a
place of a possessing all we need.
Some think our understanding of truth is a progressive
journey – like a form of theological evolution. In this line of thinking
God seems to have left out some important details that we will discover through
a process of human intellectual development. While we all can see the same
truth from many different perspectives, it still remains unchanging truth. In a
journey that is compassed by a developing theology a danger exists. When we
attempt to redefine truth we begin to drift across dangerous reef-infested
theological waters where we begin to redefine issues like morality and more
importantly, the way of salvation.
Jude mentioned this in his letter. He told his
readers that some people were present within their churches saying God’s grace
allows them to live immoral lives. Jude even connected that dangerous license
to a denial of Christ. These are heavy words for Jude to share and words
that could have been written just this week describing some in the Church today.
We strike these hidden reefs of error when we are tempted
to believe we might be discovering something so new that it was not part of
the original deposit once delivered to the Church. The scriptures tell us
there is nothing new under the sun. We don’t progress toward a newer version of
truth. We simply discover or rediscover what we already possess. In each new
season of life we are invited to go back to that original deposit and
recalibrate our direction so we can move forward into safe waters and not
shipwreck our faith.