The End of the Matter
“…but the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith not pretended, from which having missed the mark, some turned aside to empty talking”
1 Timothy 1:5-6
God’s end is revealed in His beginning, just as the harvest is the manifold expression of the seed sown. The same love that motivated Christ’s incarnation is the same love abiding in those who have loved and received Him. When men and women lose sight of the “end of the commandment”, the words, the works, and the life are empty and vain.
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love (agape), I am nothing”
1 Corinthians 13:2
The Gifts of God without love: empty and hollow. Deep understanding into mysteries of God: useless. Knowledge without love is meaningless and without value. It is the agape of God which infuses all things with the weight and wonder of Himself; for there can be no growth or development of Love apart from a pure heart. There can be no true impartation of life where the conscience is conflicted by wrong and ulterior motives and unrepented sins. There can be no true and lasting work of God when faith is presented in pretense. The work of God can only be within the lives of those who live in authenticity. These three graces must be the foundation of our growth into the love of God:
Purity of Heart
A Good and Clean Conscience
A Gospel which does not include the ministration of truth and admonition will inevitably produce lives devoid of the fire, intensity, and the power of the Love of God. The reason God is declared a “consuming fire” is that HE IS LOVE. We cannot hold the love of God within our hearts and be void of passion, works, and an energized faith. Love is what breathes life into faith and faith by its very nature must produce His works in and through our lives.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working (energized) through love”
The legalism of our day rests in declarations of the tenets of faith. It fails to grasp that the END or PURPOSE of God in Christ is to takes us beyond the fact of being justified by faith, into the power of God manifested through lives who have been sanctified. Sanctification brings us into a life of abandonment and surrender unto God as a “living sacrifice”. When such legalism becomes the foundation there will be no pursuit of a “pure heart” or a “clean conscience”. A true and unfeigned faith flows from those who seek only His approval. The horror of this “gospel” of legal declarations is that His people see no need for an ongoing, deep and powerful work of God within their hearts. There is a rest and a complacency in an unfinished work of God. The two and a half tribes of Israel found rest in a land outside the purposed and promised land of God; many today are settling for something far less than the full purpose and intention of God.
When there is a deviation from God’s end, in the estimation of God Himself, the expressions of ministry become vain and empty chatter.
“…from which having missed the mark,
some turned aside to empty talking”
Paul the Apostle, who declared the truth of justification by faith, summed up his life as one who was pressing, pursuing, and desiring the apprehension of the mark of God.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…”
Paul was not resting upon the knowledge of being justified by faith. He was in full pursuit of “apprehending” (laying hold) the mark and purpose for which God had laid hold of him!
A dead faith rests in the acknowledgment of teaching, while a living faith pursues the apprehension and reality of God Himself.