keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.1 Timothy 1:19(NASB)
God is gracious and does not force His love on unbelievers. He gave His only begotten Son to die for them, and those who believe (those who exercise faith) are not condemned. Those who do not believe (those who do not exercise faith) are condemned because of their unbelief. It is ONLY the believer who is instructed to "cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear." Those who have never trusted Christ as Saviour are unbelievers - they are faithless - they have no faith on which to cling.
As believers, we are instructed to "cling to your faith," but we can choose to OBEY this instruction, or we can choose to DISOBEY God's Word. As God's children we either trust in the Word of God and submit (yield) to the Holy Spirit, in which case we are clinging to our faith in Christ and keeping our consciences clear. Or we do not trust God's Word and grieve or quench the Holy Spirit, in which case we will violate our consciences, which will result in the shipwreck of our faith.
Paul is instructing his disciple Timothy on how to live the Christian life in a manner that is pleasing to God. He is explaining how to live a spiritual life that is pleasing to the Lord. Paul is reminding Timothy that he has been saved by grace through faith and now he ought to live his life by grace through faith. Paul wants to impress on Timothy the truth that those who live by faith are pleasing to God, while those who try to live their Christian life in any other way will end up with a faith that has been shipwrecked. They will be living a carnal life that is not pleasing to the Lord and will actually have "fallen from grace," like the Galatian believers, because they have tried to live their life by works of the law or by submitting to their fleshly desires rather than submitting to the Spirit of God.
Oh, this does not mean that a believer whose faith is shipwrecked has lost his salvation, but it does mean that he has made a deliberate choice NOT to hold fast to his faith by ignoring God's will for his life (to live by grace through faith as outlined in Scripture). How sad.
Does not the love of Christ, Who gave everything for us, constrain us? Should not we who have been saved from the penalty and power of sin and death, cling more tightly to our faith in Christ? Let us not be those who shipwreck our faith by deliberately refusing to do the things we know in our heart we ought to do. But rather, let us run the race that is set before us and cling more tightly to our faith in Jesus Christ.
Loving Father, I do want to cling fast to my faith in Christ Jesus. Please keep my conscience clear so that I may honour You in all I say and do. To You be all praise and glory, forever and ever. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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