“But the goal of the commandment is love out of a pure heart,
and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” I Timothy 1:5
How do we obtain the love mentioned in I Timothy 1:5? First, we have to understand the context of this scripture: Paul is writing to Timothy (v. 2) and it is clear that the concerns here were doctrinal (v. 3, 4). The command given here is that they don’t preach or teach another doctrine. A similar command is given in Galatians 1:6-9. Paul continues this command that they should not think or dwell on “myths and endless genealogies.” In part, this may have originated from Jewish tradition like we see in Titus 1:13-14. The goal of this command mentioned in v. 3, 4 is love. Here the word “goal” means “end, termination, outcome, the object or condition sought.” So the condition sought or the object of this command is love. How do we get to this goal? I Timothy 1:5 says it originates from a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith. If love comes from those three things, then we need to know how to achieve them.
There is a popular television show that finds poorly dressed women and teaches them how to dress for success. They always start the program by picking through the individual’s wardrobe and pointing out what not to wear (hence the name of the show, What Not to Wear). Sometimes we, too, can learn best how to gain qualities we desire by understanding “what not to do.” Verses 6, 7 go on to say “For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.” To obtain a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith we need to ensure we do not depart from God’s Word. Our heart can only be pure through obedience to the truth and our conscience will be clear if we live according to our convictions (Acts 24:16). A sincere faith must also be grounded in the word of God for we know that “faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of God” (Romans 10:17). So we can conclude that by adhering to the doctrine given to us in the New Testament we will achieve a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith which will ultimately result in love.
However, I am again reminded of What Not to Wear. At the end of the show the individual has been given the tools she needs to dress for success but when she leaves the show, she isn’t guaranteed to continue her fashionable new look. It is a life change requiring a commitment to the guidelines set. We too have guidelines to follow if we want to abide in Christ. I challenge you to spend some time each day reading and studying so that we can ensure we are grounded in God’s word.
By Kristen Turner
Kristen Turner resides in Marion, Louisiana with her husband Chase Turner and 16 month old daughter Ellie. Chase is a minister and evangelist for Spanish Missions and they work with the Haile Church of Christ.