“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1 Timothy 1:5)
As Paul begins his instruction to his disciple Timothy, his “own son in the faith” (v. 2), he warns him about false doctrine (v. 3) and petty, fruitless arguments (v. 4). He contrasts such false teaching with his own teaching, the goal or “end” of which is threefold:
First, Paul would like to see his ministry produce “charity [i.e., agape love] out of a pure heart.” This is God’s kind of love that He has bestowed upon us, undeserving as we are. Once He has purified our hearts and taken up residence there through the power of His Spirit, we can love with such a love.
Second, proper teaching should lead us to “a good conscience.” Our lives must be free of unconfessed sin and uncluttered by wrongs not made right with others. The false teachings and improper attitudes and actions Paul is condemning (vv. 3-4) frequently lead to strife and fabrications. The response to these must be strong, yet proper.
Third, “unfeigned faith,” a sincere faith without hypocrisy, should result. It must be our own faith and not that of others, not even family members (2 Timothy 1:5). We have a reasonable faith shored up by a great weight of evidence and logic, and proper teaching should strengthen and confirm it.
May God continue to gift the church with godly teachers like Timothy, “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13). JDM