Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” I Timothy 1:5-11.
The word “commandment” used in verse 5 is the noun version of the word “charge” used in verse 3 when Paul charged Timothy to confront the false teachers in Ephesus. The motivation for confronting error with sound teaching is pure love produced by a sincere faith. Sound teaching, as opposed to false teaching, will affect the heart and conscience and produce the capacity for a sincere, saving faith. The false teaching here may have been the mixing of law and grace.
Paul points out that the law is good, as it reveals to people that they are sinners and cannot live up to God’s righteous standards and therefore need a savior. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20). The profane, murders, fornicators, sodomites, liars, and every other unrepentant sinner needs to be confronted with their sins to produce a godly sorrow that produces repentance and leads to salvation. (II Corinthians 7:10). The moral standard of the gospel is the same as that of the law. However, the gospel, through faith in Christ, has the power to save that the law does not and to produce a desire and capability to live a holy life.
Today there is a false “love gospel” that has crept into the teaching of some prominent Bible teachers and in a number of churches that avoids preaching against or even opposing many sins and accepts persons living in open, unrepentant sin as members in the Church. They value unity and feelings over God’s Word. This is a false love. To confront someone with their sin and utter inability to meet its standards is the only way to salvation and is borne out of a pure love for them. The goal of preaching the truth of the Word of God is to call men to true salvation and resulting holiness of life which produces the same pure love in them (I Peter 1:22).
The law is not for the righteous, as Christ’s blood has covered their sins and their salvation gives them the desire to live a holy life, but the law is made for the lawless who need to be confronted with their sin, in love, to bring them to eternal life in Christ and a pure heart.