… fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. (1 Tim. 1:18-19 NASB)
Is the Christian a fighter?
Yes, if Paul’s words to Timothy have meaning. Those who teach the truth must fight with the truth of God, against the lies of the devil and of the world. We are to do so in faith and a good conscience, not in anger or pride, but neither in timidness and confusion.
Keeping faith - Faith is more than confidence in His Word, though it certainly includes that. It is fidelity to the Lord Himself, to know Him and to love Him. It is evidenced by trust in Him in all circumstances and at all times. The Christian’s life is a life of faith.
A good conscience - A good conscience is one that listens to the inner voice of the Spirit, and of the New Person created like God. These are not the same - the Holy Spirit is more than our conscience, but a Christian’s conscience should be shaped and continually re-shaped by the Holy Spirit.
It is not correct to teach that the Christian has no law to obey - we are called to obey “the law of Christ” or the law of the Spirit, which is expressed from Christian to Christian through the bearing of each other’s burdens: “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). And to the world as loving them for Jesus’ sake:
When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. (1 Cor. 9:21, NLT)
An essential element in our good fight is the evangelization of the world. Everyone on earth needs Christ, needs to know of His love for them, needs to hear the call to repentance and faith in His name so that they will be saved from their sin.
Love is the principle that the “law of Christ” rests upon. Yet true love does not violate the other principles of God’s moral law. Some think that love should only be expressed as patience and acceptance, giving in to the desires and wishes of others. While we should be kind in our manners toward all people, we should also speak up for what is right and moral, as the Spirit has inspired to be placed in the Bible.
It is contradictory to suggest that the Spirit may say something to our hearts today that is contrary to His inspiration in the Scripture, because He is the Author of the Book. In this dispensation of grace we still depend on the moral laws that were revealed in the Old Testament - not the ceremonial or legal Old Testament laws but the moral codes and moral principles. This has led Bible-believing Christians to renounce the slaughter of the unborn through abortion and the elevation of homosexual love as pure and harmless. Also to the upholding of the sanctity of marriage and the dignity of human life - in fact there are many moral principles in the Old Testament that we should respect - even the fair and ethical treatment of animals (See Proverbs 12:10 and Luke 12:6).
A good conscience must speak against what is false as well as uphold what is true. And it is to do so in love, with patience and gentleness but also with firmness and clarity. Our motivation must remain the love of God, but if we do not speak up then we are obeying the voice of God, not keeping faith or exercising a good conscience.