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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE SOURCE OF CHARITY

1 Tim 1:5-8 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.

Within the teachings of fables and endless genealogies, the pathway that leads to eternal salvation, cannot be found. At Paul's encouraging, Timothy remained at Ephesus in order to quell the vanity of such teachings. Timothy was to teach, maintain, and uphold, the same hope of eternal salvation found in Jesus Christ, that was given to him by the commandment of God. That commandment given to Paul, he now gave to Timothy: teach no other doctrine than that given to him by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

This New Testament doctrine was not to be altered in any manner. Nothing was to be added to it, deleted from it, or altered in any way (See Rev. 22:18-19). To do so would compromise the truths of God, which it contains. The specific commandment Paul dictated to Timothy said, that God's word was not to be profaned by the introduction of fables and endless genealogies, by false teachers, regardless of whether they were of Jewish or pagan origin. The only thing that ever comes from altering the word of God is argumentative questions, which ultimately lead to debate, contention, conflict, and discord within the church of Christ. (See 1 Tim. 1:1-4)

Instead of strife and division, the body of Christ must fulfill this specific commandment, as well as keeping each and every commandment of God by charity (love) out of a pure heart. Debate, contention, and strife are not to exist in a congregation of God's children, where love for God, and for all others, is found. Consider these commandments of God given to all through His Son, Jesus Christ. When asked, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:36-40).

And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment (1 John 3:23). Within every faithful church of Christ, obedience to God's commandment of love will purge out sin, purify it, and allow it to serve the cause of Christ to its fullest extent. The commandments of God found in His holy word, is the law under which all obedient Christians must live, and by which they will be judged by God. Considering this truth, just how important is pure love? Paul writes that love is the fulfilling of the law (See Rom. 13:8-10). And fulfilling the law, is obediently following our Savior, Jesus Christ. This we know, because He told us that by this (the law of love) shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35). The same analogy tells us that, by following fables and ...genealogies, or any other doctrine of mankind, Christians will not be recognized as disciples of Christ.

The love demonstrated by faithful Christians must have, as its source, a pure heart, and ...a good conscience, and ...faith unfeigned. All are essential. Although verbal expressions of affection and deeds of kindness are outward demonstrations of love, they often carry with them a covetous motive. True love comes from a pure heart; it comes from within the innermost mind and soul of a person, and is given freely without any selfish desires. True love comes from a good conscience. The conscience of anyone, knowing the will of God, will condemn each Christians when impure love is demonstrated toward others. The apostle John wrote, Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God (1 John 3:21). Love, to God and to others, must be freely given without grudging or guilt, knowing you are eagerly and gladly doing His will. True love comes from faith unfeigned. Faith in God is an unquestioning faith that leads one to believe His holy word, and obey the commandments that it contains.

The demonstration of love, to be acceptable in the sight of God, must come from an unpretentious heart. Love toward God and our fellow man must be sincere. It must be given freely, without show, without hypocrisy, and without any other false pretence. The source of charity is a pure heart, ...a good conscience, and ...faith unfeigned. Love, given in any other way, is vain jangling - without meaning, empty, and spiritually unprofitable to the giver.