1 Timothy 1:5
The goal of such instruction is love—the love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.
This verse shows us a set of three biblical convictions:
- Love is at the heart of God’s commands
- Purity of heart is more important than external acts of obedience
- Heartfelt sincerity is essential for pleasing God
1 Timothy 1:9
We recognize that the law is laid down not for people who are in the right, but for the lawless and disobedient…
As Christians, the law is not for us.
We do not follow a set of guidelines. We follow a person.
That person was unleashed upon the earth about two millennia ago by Jesus himself.
We do not require a list of rules to let us know what not to do. The Holy Spirit takes care of that for us.
Now we can keep ourselves in some check with the law, as the Spirit will not prompt us to do anything against it. Always remember that there are other spirits out there for your following. So you want to be sure you are following the Spirit of Jesus, who will be in line with apostolic teaching.
If you’ve accepted your rightful place before God because of Jesus Christ’s work and, therefore, experienced regeneration and inner transformation, then you do not follow the law because you have the Holy Spirit as your guide—a real, live person.
It is those without this divine conscience that need to be shown what not to do by the law.
It’s interesting that when Paul talks about weaker Christians, he is usually referring to those who are fastidious rule followers. Maybe they’ve not embraced the Spirit, or people are abusing the law and Scripture to persuade them that they better keep to the rules or else, or the evil one might be distracting them with law so that they do not experience the freedom and power of the Spirit.
Take notice of the overall tenor of the New Testament, post resurrection, and see if it advocates following the law, rules, or even Scripture itself; or does it advocate following the Spirit?
Are we to follow words on a page, or the voice of the living Person Jesus promised would guide us?
In Paul’s mind and in his theology, the other-directed love that characterizes authentic Christian existence is to be found in and through conversion and the indwelling Spirit, not in a superficial reading of the law as a moral code.
To be clear, I am in no way advocating antinomianism.