A 2,000 Year Old Word Of Caution
There are times in Church history when we discover the way forward by rediscovering truth that was present in our past. Jude wrote a short letter describing a “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 we would experience. 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 recalibrate truth we begin to drift across dangerous reef-infested theological waters where we begin to redefine issues like morality and the way of salvation.
Jude mentioned this in his letter. He told his readers that some people were present within their churches saying that 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 that 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.