A Substitute for Sound Teaching
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law…. 1 Timothy 1:5, 6
We might suppose that the goal of the Law of God is that we should become good. We might try teaching the Law of God to our children, so that we might make them obey and be good. We might hold the Law and its threats before our congregations, so that they will be good.
But if by “being good” we mean only securing some outward conformity to a standard of goodness somehow based on the Law of God, we are not using the Law in a lawful manner.
The goal of our instruction in the Law is not goodness. The goal is love. “Goodness” without love may as well be a clanging cymbal. Where love is present, goodness will show forth. If we use the Law to teach or require anything other than love for God and neighbor, then we are not using the Law in a lawful manner. Teaching that results in love is sound teaching. Teaching that merely promotes a “form of godliness” is something else.
This is not to suggest that keeping the Law “for goodness’ sake,” or working for laws reflective of the goodness of the Law, are not goals to be pursued. But the purpose of the Law is to promote love for God and neighbor. Thus we fall short of the Law’s purpose, and we use the Law in an unlawful manner, when, by making mere outward goodness our objective, we fail to demonstrate the way in which the Law serves to promote love.
Sound teaching always seeks love as its ultimate outcome.
For an introduction to the Law of God and its proper uses, download the free PDF, “A Kingdom Catechism.”
In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).
Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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