“… is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned: from which things some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain talking; desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm” (1 Tim. 1:5-7).
Timothy had not been left at Ephesus without specific instructions and charges as to what Paul wished him to accomplish there. Ere he was left, Paul instructed that he was to charge certain ones not to teach a different doctrine, but the end — sum total of the charge — was love out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. Was this unfeigned faith, good conscience, and pure love something Timothy was to stir up only in himself, or was it likewise part of the charge he was to give “certain men” along with the command not to teach a different doctrine?
Without doubt Paul fervently desired for these qualities to be in Timothy. That he believed them to already in be present in Timothy there can be no doubt. Still, the context indicates that these qualities were things those “certain men” were to seek for, to possess. The statement, “from which things, some having swerved,” is modified by his appeal to have a pure love, etc. This was the “end of the charge” intended for those “certain teachers.” Add to that the words which followed (“swerved,” “turned aside”) and it is apparent that it was these “certain men” who were charged to practice pure love, hold a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. But, while directed to certain men in Ephesus, these qualities are necessary ingredients for all true disciples of Jesus.
“Love out of a pure heart.” Love out of a evil heart or love out of a pure heart will not be toward the same object. The evil, defiled heart will love the world; the pure and clean heart will love God and His word. When men taught a different doctrine they did so because they did not love the word they already had received. The psalmist wrote, “Oh how live I thy law. It is my meditation all the day” (Psa. 119:97). Love for God out of a pure heart will evidence we love His law. It will equally insure that we love each other with a “pure heart fervently” (1 Pet. 1:22).
“A good conscience.” One should never turn aside from a “good conscience.” Paul knew that maintaining a good conscience was very important for him. He had lived before God in all “good conscience;” had “a conscience void of offense;” and his “conscience bore witness” to the truthfulness of things he wrote (Acts 23:1; 24:16; Rom. 9:1). He knew the worth of a good conscience and he warned against searing or violating it (1 Tim. 4:2; Rom. 14:23; 1 Cor. 8:10f). While it is true that no man is justified simply because he has a good conscience; let none suppose any man can be saved in the absence of it.
“Unfeigned faith.” Love must be from a pure heart and faith must not be pretended. God knows whether our faith is simply pretense or not. An unfeigned faith is the kind which sees us through every temptation and trial which clouds our way. A feigned faith is no faith at all and amounts to “unbelief.” when one turns from an unfeigned faith, his “pretense” leads him into other errors. The “certain men” in Ephesus, having swerved from a pure love, good conscience, and unfeigned faith, had turned unto vain talking, and why not? If their faith was vanity, how could their teaching be otherwise? How can a feigned faith produce anything but vanity of speech?