“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. “ (Reference: 1 Timothy 1:5 )
What does it mean to have a “pure heart”? What does it mean to have a “good conscience”? And how can one be sure one’s faith is “sincere”? How can we judge these things?
Unfortunately in Paul’s first letter to Timothy he does not explain this but goes on to talk about laws, and who needs them and who doesn’t. And our historic Anabaptist believer who is quoted for this date and text does not seem to give much direction on this either. He, Pilgram Marpeck, says, “All law, in both the Old and New Testaments, consists in love from a pure heart. For all the vices about which the prophets, Moses, Christ, and the apostles speak are offenses against the command to love. There is only one sin from which all the fruit of wickedness begins, namely, disobedience to God’s Word.”
It is interesting that Marpeck seems to equate “offenses against the command to love” and “disobedience to God’s Word.” Now please note that “word” in “God’s Word” is capitalized, so it would behoove us to pay attention to how Marpeck is using and defining this. So, might failure to show love be disobeying God’s most strongest command? I would imagine that if someone obeyed God’s commands, their faith would be sincere. And a sincere faith would give one a good conscience. And a good conscience would be an attribute of a pure heart. And if all these conditions were met, then one is sure to have show love, act out love, and have love in their being. Thus obeying God’s Word and command!
It is one of those paradoxes, beloved, that does not have to make sense – because love, God’s love, often does not make sense. May you beloved follow not human logic, but God’s love so that you might be pure, good, and sincere. Selah!