Read 1 Timothy 1 at Bible Gateway.
This chapter forms an interesting chaistic structure:
1 Tim 1:2-20
1a) 1 Tim 1:2-6, To Timothy:
— 1.1) 1 Tim 1:2-3, To Timothy, a true son in the faith: charge some that they teach no other doctrine;
— 1.2) 1 Tim 1:4, Fables + endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification;
— 1.3) 1 Tim 1:5-6, Purpose of Law: pure love + good conscience + sincere faith, some having strayed;
1b) 1 Tim 1:7-9, The excellence of the Law toward the unrepentant;
1c) 1 Tim 1:9-10, Meant for the lawless, unrighteous, those things contrary to sound doctrine;
1d) 1 Tim 1:11, According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust;
central axis) 1 Tim 1:12, I thank Christ Jesus;
2d) 1 Tim 1:12, He enabled me, counted me faithful, put me into the ministry;
2c) 1 Tim 1:13, Although formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man;
2b) 1 Tim 1:13-17, The excellence of the King and His mercy toward the repentant;
2a) 1 Tim 1:18-20, To Timothy:
— 2.1) 1 Tim 1:18, This charge I commit to you, my son Timothy;
— 2.2) 1 Tim 1:18, Prophecies concerning you, which cause you to wage the good warfare;
— 2.3) 1 Tim 1:19-20, Having faith + good conscience, which some rejected + shipwrecked their faith.
The B pair lept out at me today. Notice that the Law is the flip side of Mercy, and both express the love of God? The Law is love for the unrepentant, because the greatest gift someone can give someone else who is unrepentant in their sin, is the knowledge that their sin is evil and will cause their ultimate destruction. And Mercy is love for the repentant, because the instant someone’s knees hit the ground, saying, I repent of my sin, God in His great love extends mercy which covers the multitude of their sins toward them.
Paul, in essence, beginning in 1 Tim 1:5, is saying that the purpose of the Law is love from a pure heart – let’s stop right there. He is merely reiterating what he has said in many other places … in agreement with Jesus and Moses … that the Law is God’s Law of Love, and the two commands, Love God, and Love your neighbor, sum up all the Law and the Prophets.
So let’s say someone reads a law from Moses, from Torah, that they initially disagree with — on the premise that such a thing could not express love! Let’s take the many details of what does and does not consist of [s-x]ual morality as found in Lev 18 as an example. Jesus Himself said that not one jot or tittle is to be excised from Torah until all things have been fulfilled (Mat 5:17-21). God’s definitions of righteousness and sin as expressed in Torah, the foundation of all Scripture, have not changed and will not change.
God expressed His Torah to provide mankind with protection from all things that harm. Many of the commandments concerning [s-x]ual morality found in Lev 18 restricts unbridled lust and therefore protects those who are vulnerable from becoming victims. That is an expression of love. God expressed His Torah to provide mankind with correction so they they would recognize a path that was not God’s path, so that they could correct their course and come back to God’s path. And God expressed His Torah to provide mankind with direction: ok, now I know what is not God’s path, so what is God’s path? Which way do I walk now? God has not left us in the dark.
Protection, correction, and direction come from the love in our Perfect Parent’s heart toward His children. In order to accept that the Law of God teaches the Love of God, we have to believe that God is smarter than we are, that He loves us, that He is love, and that what the New Testament says of the Law, is true:
Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Rom 7:12
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 Tim 3:16
So we may read something that we don’t initially agree with, but we recognize the truth of God’s Word, that this commandment (whatever it is) must be holy, just, and good, that this commandment must express the nature of God which is love, and this commandment was given in order to promote love from a pure heart, and comes from God’s love for us from His pure heart.
So we say, God, You are greater than I, Your word is more excellent than my finite human understanding, Your holiness is above searching out, and Your love is the purest love in the universe, from which every other thing which is love must flow or not be love. I humble myself before You and before Your word, may my obedience to You and Your word be acceptable in Your sight, My rock and My redeemer. ♥