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. 1 Timothy 1:5
How wonderful to have love be the purpose of instructions! Most instructions seem to have been written for the sole purpose of confusing us. We come across instructions to put together many things we buy. We have instructions guaranteed to make us smart or slim or rich. But, they can’t deliver love.
If you are a believer you can be filled with love, love for God, love for each other, and the love of God. You would, of course, have to follow the Bible’s instructions. Then you must have a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. Let’s examine each of these.
In 1 Timothy 1:3, Paul reminds Timothy “when I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.” Evidently in Ephesus there were teachers within the church that were trying to add their own ideas to church doctrine. Then, Paul says to Timothy, don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion 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 1:4
After Paul had asked him to stop these false teachers, he adds: But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. 1 Timothy 1:6
What do these instructions have to do with being filled with love? What is the greatest love a person can show? John 15:13 says “there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” What Paul wanted the church to hear was the gospel message that Christ died for you, not the myths and genealogies these false teachers were presenting. Do you study the Bible and the life of Jesus and the Apostles, or do you get into meaningless and endless discussions about non-Bibical topics? If you get into these discussions, Paul says you are missing the point which is that Jesus loves you, and He died to save you and give you eternal life and freedom.
Today, these discussions might start with “I think that” and end with something like “when we get to heaven we will see Jesus first” Then, someone else might say, “No, we will see our loved ones first.” Before you know it, you are in a meaningless discussion and missing the point.
A good idea is not to agree or disagree with others’ opinions on religious teachings that are outside the Bible. Remember that being a Christian is more than a religion; it is a relationship. Does it matter that you have a pure heart, a clear conscience and genuine faith? Absolutely, and those things are worthwhile to discuss from a Biblical perspective. If someone wants to argue about who you will see first in heaven, don’t agree or disagree just say something like, “Well that’s interesting. Guess we will find out one day.”
Jesus taught in Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And in Psalms 51:10 we find this request: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” What does it mean to have a pure heart? One thing it means is that you do not have any unforgiven sins. Hence, it is a gift from God. Your part is to repent and ask forgiveness. Jesus’ part is to forgive and make your heart right. 1 John 1:9 teaches, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Then, you will have a pure heart. This may sound like it is very easy. Repenting means turning away from our sins. Sometimes that is not easy, and I don’t mean to make light of it at all.
Do you have a clear conscience? Sometimes that little voice that is the conscience isn’t very loud. The less you listen to him over the years, he gets more and more quiet. But, if you listen you will hear him. You will feel it through guilt. Later, in the same chapter Paul cautions Timothy: cling 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. I Timothy 1:19 Read my post about a shipwrecked faith here. When you hear that little voice or feel guilty, examine yourself and look for sin in your life. Satan is persistent trying every day to lead us away from God. You have to be just as persistent.
The final requirement is having genuine faith. This reminds me of the Left Behind series. In case you haven’t heard of it, it s a series of books by Timothy LaHaye about the times after the Rapture happens. One particularly investing character is Bruce Barnes who is the visitation pastor of the church of one of the main character’s wife. Who should have believed more than the visitation pastor? He thought he believed, but after the Rapture when his entire family was taken and he was left behind, he had to admit that his faith had not been genuine. He was just going along and playing a part. The Barnes character said “I could basically live in sin and pretend to be devout. I had a great family and a nice work environment. And as miserable as I was privately most of the time, I really believed I would go to heaven when I died. I hardly ever read my Bible except when preparing a talk or lesson. I didn’t have the ‘mind of Christ.’ Christian, I knew vaguely, means ‘Christ one’ or ‘one like Christ.’ That sure wasn’t me, and I found out in the worst way possible.” Being a Christian is not just a label that you choose. It really does mean being Christ-like. And, you can’t be like Christ if you know nothing about Him. Many of my Bible Verse studies end with encouraging my readers to read and study the Bible. It isn’t just a way to wrap up a post. It is absolutely necessary for living a better life now and in the future in heaven.
I pray you will take this into consideration and that you will read the Bible everyday. Examine yourself and repent from sin and ask for forgiveness. Be genuine in all you do. I pray you will be filled with love.