Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. (1 Timothy 1:5-7)
Three Pillars Of Love
The heart, the conscience and faith are the fundamental elements of man’s character. Seated in these three parts of life are the building blocks of truth. Love is the motivation that drives the spirit of man but love must be governed by the right things. Unguarded love or misplaced love will allow a spirit of darkness to destroy the soul. The commandments of the Lord are the guides put in place to perfect the heart, conscience and faith of a man leading him to truth. This was true in the garden of Eden and remains true today.
A pure heart is one that receives openly the will of God. When a heart is free from the pollutions of man’s wisdom it is easier to accept the commandments of the Lord. So often men cannot understand nor desire to follow the truth because the heart is not pure. The idea of purity suggests a heart free from contamination. Whenever someone obeys the gospel of Jesus Christ it comes from a heart that is pure. Love comes from a pure heart. On the day of Pentecost three thousand hearts were pure in accepting the bold preaching of the apostles. Many thousand more did not obey because their hearts were tainted with prejudice, tradition, immorality and a stubborn spirit. It takes a pure heart for the love of Christ to enter.
The conscience is the seat of the mind establishing life principles. A moral character is formed in the conscience and love for God comes from determining what is right and wrong by His word. Ethics must come from some source and obedience to the will of the Lord derives its nature from the word of God. A good conscience is true to the convictions of truth willing to fulfill every moral obligation in accordance with what God wants not man. Love springs from hearts that bow before the great I AM and say, “Thy will be done not mine.”
Faith is not just faith but a sincere faith. It is not passive but active. Sincerity of faith shows the level of our trust deeply rooted in our love for God. This is a daily activity. The kind of faith that becomes sincere is experienced constantly in life by trusting in His word, following His will, living by His law and looking for the blessed hope of His coming. Sincerity is unfeigned. Faith does not become a prosthetic that is worn periodically but rather faith is who we are. Our identity is measured by our faithfulness. In speech we are faithful; in dress we show faithfulness; in action we exhibit a faithful spirit. Faith is the core of our life and is not hypocritical.
True love comes from heart that is pure, a conscience deriving its character from God and a faith that shines forth as the glory of God. This kind of love will keep one from straying from the truth. Without these three pillars of love apostasy comes. The wisdom of man exalts itself against God and faith is lost. Perfection in Christ is found in establishing life upon the three pillars of love: a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.
While we inherit our temperament, we must build our character. (William L. Sullivan, Worry! Fear! Loneliness! 1950)