“But the goal of our instruction is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Paul now expands the idea of love. “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Here we see the beginning of confidence in preaching and teaching. We can be confident that God produces love in the hearts of men, women, young people, and children. He works love in hearts, which Scripture defines, describes, and exemplifies. God does so by producing and creating good consciences, pure hearts, and sincere faith.
What is a pure heart? It is a heart that God cleanses. He removes the ugly stain of sin. The heart is the center and core of the inner person, including the thinking, the feeling, and the volition. When God operates on the heart, He changes thinking. When God performs spiritual heart surgery, He bridles emotions. When God’s heart operations also alter the will. He changes our sinful inclinations. He gives us a godly attitude or disposition. In this way, He produces love. The goal of our instruction is love emanating from a pure heart. God uses instruction as a means to renew hearts and bring about love.
Also, God uses biblical instruction to foster love by producing and creating good consciences. The conscience is knowledge standing alongside the activities in which we engage. Listen to the word “con-science.” Science refers to knowledge. You have also heard of chili con-carne, chili with meat. Conscience refers to knowledge standing along with and beside our conduct.
When you do something, your conscience reacts. If you do something wrong or immoral, your conscience feels terrible; you feel guilty. When you do something good, your conscience responds accordingly. The word good simply means, Godlike. Your conscience ought to be Godlike. That is, it ought to say, “yes,” when God says, “yes,” and “no,” when God says, “no.” Through faith in Jesus Christ, God cleanses your conscience. Through biblical instruction, God trains your conscience so that it works properly. It says “yes” when God says “yes.” “The goal of our instruction is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience.”
Paul adds sincere or un-hypocritical faith. This faith says, “I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I trust Him as the One Who died on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty due to me for my sins. I am free from the guilt of sin because of the work of Jesus Christ. This faith is un-hypocritical because of the life standing behind it. With a good conscience and a heart directed towards God, there is loving obedience to God’s commandments. “The goal of our instruction is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Finally, biblical instruction elicits love out of or from a renewed heart, conscience, and will. In Ezekiel 36:27-27, God promises, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Paul’s ministry recorded in Acts 16:14 exemplifies this process. “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”
Peter also explains the same process. When God opens our hearts, He causes us to be born again. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again” (1 Peter 1:3). And what is the means God uses in this spiritual heart surgery? “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God … And this is the word which was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:23). God uses biblical instruction to change hearts and produce love. Trust Him to do so. “The goal of our instruction is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”