Paul warned Timothy to take care of the sound doctrine he received, while at the same time continuing in the grace and love of Christ. In his letters to Timothy we read Paul’s exhortations concerning this balance: “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20–21). “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:1–2).
Another example of this balance to be kept is found in Revelation 2:2–5, a passage in which Christ speaks to the church at Ephesus. These believers had pure doctrine and were extremely fundamental in their faith. Yet the Lord said that He would put out their light because of their lack of love.
Love must be the root and foundation of all that we do in our service for the Lord. Let us not forget the exhortation in 1 Corinthians 13—“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3, 8, 13, emphasis added). Without love, all means nothing.