Once For All Delivered
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).
This last phrase means the faith, the teaching we are called to believe, has been delivered and it is once for all people and all time delivered. This was affirmed by Judas before the first century came to a close. Peter said “all things pertaining to life and godliness” had already been given (II Peter 1:3). There was no waiting for later church tradition to complete the needed knowledge. It was complete already! Paul affirmed to the brethren at Colossi that they were already “complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:10). Later human traditions would not complete them. They already had all the needed resources. The faith was once for all time delivered to the saints in the first century. Later centuries and traditions would not add to the completion. Paul said that the scriptures made the man of God “completely furnished” (II Timothy 3:16-17) unto every good work. Later traditions would not complete the incomplete man of God. All was provided and completely furnished the man of God in the first century.
This all means that what completely furnished the man of God in the first century would also completely furnish the man of God in the 21st century. It was “once for all” people and once for all time delivered to the saints.
All 27 books of the New Testament were in play in the first century and were revealed and confirmed for the benefit of all people for all time. Jesus had promised His apostles that they would be guided “into all truth”(John 16:13). They would not die and leave that promise unfulfilled. It was promised to them and they saw that mission complete before they all died and that century ended. They saw it “once for all delivered”. They knew the brethren for all time to come had the complete testimony of Jesus providing the knowledge of Christ Jesus and “all things” pertaining to life and godliness (II Peter 1:2-4). What they had in the first-century scriptures was enough for all people for all time.
The apostles had declared “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), which means there were no missing parts that would later give a larger and improved version of God’s revelation. Paul got it by revelation of the Spirit and wrote it down for all to read and learn all that Paul knew, which was the whole counsel (Ephesians 3:3-5).
They had all they needed without the Quran that came five centuries later. They did not have the Book of Mormon, nor the creeds and traditions so vital to later churches like the Orthodox church or the Roman Catholic church. They did not need the Westminster Confession of Faith. They had all they needed in the scriptures. They only had the responsibility to “contend earnestly for the faith” that was once for all delivered. We don’t contend earnestly for the faith by compromising it and adding to it or trading it off for the doctrines and traditions of men. Believe enough is provided in the Scriptures and then dedicate your heart and life to contending earnestly for it.
Terry Wane Benton