After a significant win yesterday for the home team, one of the things that different players pointed out was that they had a strong week of practice. The goal of the instruction that they received on the field was to improve their play on the field. Offense, defense, whatever position, they were instructed to play better for their position, and their play in the game showed that they received the instruction and put it into practice when it counted.
What is the purpose of our Christian instruction?
Is it not to become better Christians? And what does this mean? What should it look like on the field, in the game of life?
Some use the Word of God as a tool for profit and gain, others to knock others down a peg, or to promote their viewpoint. Christians are being viewed in all kinds of ways today, but the word to describe followers of Christ that I don’t hear enough is “loving.”
As Paul speaks to Timothy, his son in the faith, he writes this when dealing with false doctrine and misuse of the Word of God.
We are not talking about love in the loose way we use the term today, but a godly love, a Christ-like love, an all-encompassing kind of love. This is a 1 Cor. 13 kind of love.
“Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.”1 Tim. 1:5 CSB
The goal of teaching proper doctrine is love!
This kind of love comes from a transformed life that is seen in a pure heart, a clear conscience, and a sincere faith. Our hearts can be pure because the Holy Spirit dwells there, our consciences can be clear because our sins have been paid for and washed away by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. These things grow through biblical instruction and culminate in a sincere faith that trusts in Christ alone.
But love should be the end result.
Love for those around us. Love for those who are like us. And love for those who are different from us. We stand on our convictions, but this stance should always be done in love. Passionate, but loving… bold, but loving. In all things love, that those who teach false doctrine might have their eyes opened and see the folly of their ways, and come to faith in the Savior who died for them, too.
In a multiethnic church, there will be plenty of areas of disagreement. There will be places where we won’t see things the same way. But it is love that will help us come together, to learn together, to mature together, so that we can become more like Jesus.