There are certain characteristics that a Christian displays as a follower of Jesus. We can talk about patience or peace or all of those other great displays of the Spirit. But there are a few specific characteristics that Paul discusses briefly that I want to focus on.
1 Timothy 1:5 says, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” The three aspects we’re going to focus on is a pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith. Paul says when these three things work together, love is the result. We know that God is love and we are truly representing him when we have love so these three things must be important.
The first one we are going to look at is the pure heart. This word “pure” in Greek is an interesting one. It’s the word katharos and it usually means clean or how we think of the word pure in English as genuine. It can also mean free from sin or even from guilt. A heart that is devoted to God and has been cleansed from sin. Job describes this kind of pureness in Job 33:9. “I am pure, I have done no wrong; I am clean and free from sin.” Job is in anguish and he declares that he hasn’t done anything wrong and he is free from sin and pure. This is what we desire to be like, but oftentimes we fall short.
Jesus knows about this very well with his encounters with the Pharisees and teachers in his day. He knows that they want to kill him and they have nothing but evil planned. No matter what the outside looks like, Jesus says that they are “full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matthew 23:25). This is the opposite of a pure heart that Paul talks about that is innocent. If we have greed in our hearts, we cannot be showing love to others. If a pure heart leads to love, then a greedy and selfish heart leads to hatred and death.
Romans 6:17 reminds us, “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Because we have given our lives to Jesus, we have died with him and we live with him. Paul says that, “anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Romans 6:7). This means that because we have given our allegiance, we have been set free from sin. All its guilt, its anguish, and the death sin leads to, we have been freed from it. Jesus gives us that freedom because of his sacrifice (Romans 6:10).
Having a pure heart means that we have been free from sin and guilt. We cannot have a pure heart that leads to love if we live in sin. To have a heart that is pure, must have Jesus working within. A pure heart leads to love because God is love.