“The Goal of Our Instruction” (1 Timothy 1.5)

by Greg Circle

Paul wrote to Timothy, “remain on in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines...” (1 Timothy 1.3). While people today might not call this loving, Paul goes on to say that “the goal of our instruction is love….” Can we resolve the conflict in these two ideas? Is the Bible just a product of a backwards bronze age cult, or is it a forward thinking tool of God to progress humanity to enlightenment? Let’s look at where this love is to come from.

First, the love that is the goal of our instruction is to come from “a pure heart.” We love one another as brothers and sisters (1 John 4.7). We are to treat even our enemies as neighbors (Romans 12.20). “Let love be without hypocrisy” (Romans 12.9).

Second, our love is to come from a good conscience. It manifests itself because we serve the God who is love, the God who became like the pinnacle of His creatures to save them. We need to always be ready to make a sound defense for the hope that is in us. We need to be ready to say: this is who God is, this is what He has done for us, this is how you can accept this gracious gift. Moreover, we are to be like Him with the result that those who slander us are put to shame (1 Peter 3.14-16).

Third, or love is to come from a sincere faith. It is a faith that must be taught (2 Timothy 1.5). This is how God has determined to spread His good news (1 Corinthians 1.21). He chose to communicate to us through words so that it could easily be passed down (Romans 1.17). It is not merely from one person to another, but we are all taught by God through the words He inspired (John 6.45; 2 Timothy 3.16-17).

Sadly, in today’s world, many have got these things backwards, especially those who claim to be “forward thinking” and “progressive.” Their “love” is not from a pure heart. They will tell you that you cannot force your views on them, but they will not stop until you are forced to bow to their golden statue. Their “love” is not from a good conscience. They feel they have wronged some other creatures and must, themselves, repay a debt that can never be fully repaid. They will force you to help them repay that debt. Their “love” is not from a sincere faith. Instead of something greater than themselves, their own feelings become the standard to live by. They believe in themselves not the God who created them. Moreover your feelings mean nothing to them.

The Bible is the book most responsible for helping us to get to the ideas of freedom that we enjoy. It helped us to progress from spiritual childhood (where we can only think in terms of ourselves) to spiritual adulthood. It is the information age cult we have today that has its thinking backwards.

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