The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith
(1 Timothy 1:5 – ESV)
(1 Timothy 1:5 – ESV)
Right teaching MUST be under-girded by right goals. The love Paul is speaking to Timothy of is a love that issues from the right source. We aren’t all the way there yet, but this is where we are to be going toward, and those other things, the myths and endless genealogies (1 Timothy 1:4) and the different doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3) lead us the wrong way, bad doctrine makes for bad practice. These things must be in the proper order; it is not that being good in practice means we necessarily have good doctrine (it can be a shadow for a while) but that right doctrine held rightly will lead to right practice.
We need to see clearly what Paul is saying to Timothy here. He starts in verse 3 by charging him to focus on good doctrine, and tells Timothy in verse 4 to stay away from those myths and such that aren’t a good stewardship of the faith. Then here in verse 5 he says that love is the target, but that it issues from certain things, and these things are the result of good doctrine.
The foundation is faith (vs.4) and the end result is love. Correct stewardship of the faith, correct doctrine (vs.3), will lead to correct and true love. Those qualities, a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, are the wellspring of the love Paul speaks of, and they issue from a correct understanding and faith in true doctrine. And what Paul had taught Timothy was correct doctrine, which is what we need, and we don’t need new things Paul didn’t teach.
The charge is good doctrine, that is the first thing, not that if we find our way to these qualities, or that if we come to these ends, that our doctrine is okay, but that we need our doctrine to line up rightly and these qualities will be okay. Paul tells Timothy why he needs to be concerned with correct doctrine, so that these other qualities will be right. True doctrine will result in a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith that will make for true love. If someone or something looks like true love, but it doesn’t come from true doctrine, if they don’t have true doctrine they don’t have true love, no matter how it looks or works.
The aim of the charge is love, but not any old type of love, but love that issues from these qualities and that love is made by doctrine. If someone seemingly has these qualities, but not true doctrine, it isn’t true love that issues forth. The charge is about right doctrine, and the aim of having right doctrine is having the right love, which issues from these qualities, which have been formed by the stewardship of faith, correct doctrine.
Again lets get the order right, so that we can have discernment, and so we don’t fall for a counterfeit. Good doctrine, the doctrine of the Apostles, the doctrines Paul taught in his epistles, it leads to a truthful state, one that has a pure heart, etc. and from this comes true love. Paul makes the connection between doctrine and godly love clear in this passage. We can see people do all sorts of good things, and they are good as far as helping humanity, but if these people organizations, religions etc. do not have the right doctrine then that love is only born out of common grace, not out of godly love, and not out of the stewardship of true, saving faith.
A Muslim or a Mormon can have a pure heart toward their god, a good conscience, and be sincere and love out of those things, but it still wouldn’t be a true, godly love because it isn’t done from true doctrine. Paul is saying to stick to true doctrine, as he has taught, and then you will be loving out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.