The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. I Timothy 1:5 NLT.
As I was reading through 1 Timothy, I came across this simple sentence. Paul, in writing to his beloved son, Timothy, clearly states his purpose. The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. I Timothy 1:5 NLT. “All believers” includes you and me! Some days this seems so far above and beyond my comprehension, must less my implementation! Except for Jesus and His work on the cross, none of us have any hope of walking this scripture out!
We find the clue on how we do this in his phrase: all believers would be filled with love, not just any love but love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. The only way we can be filled with this kind of love is to first receive it for ourselves. Ezekiel 36:26-27 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. We must ask and believe Him and His Word. Allowing the Holy Spirit to monitor our hearts is key to them remaining tender and responsive.
Then we come to a clear conscience. This is definitely something that we must maintain. We clear our conscience through forgiveness and repentance. Which includes humbling ourselves and admitting we sin and need forgiveness. So often, we want to blame shift or self-justify our actions, at least to ourselves! As we practice repentance and forgiveness our hearts and consciences are cleansed.
Genuine faith—faith that makes a difference in your day-to-day life. We start with the seed of faith we all have been given and then watch it grow as we depend on our Savior. The opposite of genuine faith, I would think, is fake faith. Talking the talk, without walking the walk, would be fake faith. The wonderful thing about genuine faith is we learn to lean on Him. We find himself faithful and trustworthy, so we lean on Him some more and grow more faith.
But why bother? Maybe many believers around you don’t seem to care about a pure heart, a clear conscience or genuine faith, so why should you? Paul wrote this first letter to Timothy to help him lead the church at Ephesus. It was important for him to encourage the believers in Ephesus (and us) to stop listening to false teachers. When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. Don’t let them waste your time in endless discussions of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. 1 Timothy 1:3-4 NLT. If we don’t maintain a pure heart, a clear conscience and grow a genuine faith, we could fall subject to false thinking and false teaching. He continues to encourage him in 1 Timothy:19-20Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God. This may sound harsh, but I believe it shows us the seriousness of the situation. Hardening our hearts, justifying sin to our conscience and faking our faith lead to bad ends.
Paul’s heart, as should be every believer, is to help people live a life of faith in God. We need each other to stand strong in our faith. Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. My dear friends, we must not see how little we can do to walk with Jesus, but to do, as Osgood Chambers says, “Our utmost for His Highest”. The days are drawing darker and darker. If we walk, filled with love that comes from a pure heart, clear conscience and genuine faith, we can’t help but be lights amid that darkness. It is challenging and a learning process, but with His grace, mercy and forgiveness, we can do it!
Father, we need your help. This is not something we can ever do on our own. Please help us walk with a tender and responsive heart toward you. Convict us when our hearts, conscience and faith are not pleasing to you, and teach us a better way. In Jesus’ Name, amen.