“Now the end of the Commandment is charity out of a pure heart and of a good conscience and of faith unfeigned.”

I Timothy 1:5

Unless we know where we are and where we’re headed, how will we know when we arrive?

Someone once said, “Until we’ve been slain by the Law, we can’t know Grace.”  That’s really what Paul was talking about in Rom. 7:9 when he said, “For I was alive without (apart) from the Law once; but, when the Commandment came, sin revived and I died.”

We all know Paul was a Pharisee who prided himself upon his bloodline connection to Abraham, his zeal for the Law and proud, self-righteous keeping of the Law (Phil. 3:4-6).  He honestly believed that he kept every one of the 613 laws that sprang from the original Ten Commandments; yet, in light of Jesus’ teachings on the sins of the heart that result in a defiled conscience, he knew we’re all “guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19).

Even if we’re religious. . .always trying to do right. . .helping others in need. . .giving to the poor. . .visiting the sick, etc., we’re still “guilty as charged” before a Perfect, Holy and Just God.  And, no amount of plea-bargaining or appeasing can erase sin’s stain from our conscience.

Only Jesus’ Blood can do that (Heb. 9:14).

Truly, it’s our desperation over our hopelessly lost condition that drives us to Christ and the Cross.  As the old Gospel song, “Just As I Am,” says “Just as I am without one plea, But that Thy Blood was shed for me.”  Therefore, the only way we can be “freed from the curse of the Law is by coming in faith to Him (Jesus) Who became our curse” (Gal. 3:10, 13).

How wonderful it is when God’s Grace enters the heart, driving out the darkness of sin and filling it, instead, with Christ’s Life, Light and Love.  And, from that moment of new birth (Jn. 3:3)—which the Bible called “justification”—we are continually being transformed by the Holy Spirit into the Image of Christ through the process of “sanctification.”

That’s why today’s Manna says “The end—yea, the ‘goal’ (Grk. ‘telos’)—of the Commandment is charity (Grk. ‘agape’—‘God’s Love) out of a pure (Grk. ‘katharos’—‘clean, clear, undefiled, etc.’) heart and of a good conscience and of faith unfeigned (Grk. ‘anupokritos’—‘sincere, not hypocritical, not pretentious, etc’.”

We know this is impossible in our own strength, for none of us can love with a God-type Love; neither can we have a “pure heart, good conscience and unfeigned faith” in our own strength.  We’re too sinful.  That’s why we need the Lord Jesus’ Presence and Power in our lives to fulfill this “Goal of Grace”—for without it/Him, we all fall miserably and hopelessly short.

Why not spend a few minutes right now asking the Holy Spirit to show you any areas in your life where you’re hindering Him in helping you move toward that Goal?  As He identifies them, confess and repent of them, asking Him to take control.  That way you’ll know you’re “fighting a good fight, running a good race and keeping the faith” (II Tim. 4:7).

June 19, 2011