Friday, February 22, 2013

Does God Hold Us Back? - 1 John 5:3

This is the second part of a three-part series. See the first part here.

taken from

1 JOHN 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

The Love of God. Who is the person that knows, is born of, and abides in God? It is the one who keeps His commandments, which John summarizes as believing in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and loving one another (3:23). Now, we know by experience that there is profound depth underlying this simply statement. Those who are most devoted to living it out know best how complex and demanding it is to believe in Christ day-by-day and love one another with consistency. They have stretched, scraped, sprinted, slaved, served... and yet have slipped and stumbled, sometimes miserably. Take the beloved apostle himself, who abandoned Jesus at His moment of need. He wrote from his own experience these words: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1:8) At the same time, he also suffered much for the gospel, and was finally exiled to the island of Patmos.

Not Burdensome. John tried harder and suffered more for God's commanments than any of us. So we pause and wonder when he, of all people, says “His commandments are not burdensome.” How could he say that? Was he just sugarcoating the truth because he didn't want to discourage his beleaguered flock?

He Knew the Savior. Doubtless, as John penned his epistle, he remembered his Savior's words, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Freed from a moralistic religion to rest in the free grace of God, John was no longer burdened by the impossible task of earning God's acceptance and love.

Love Permeated His Life. “In this is love,” said John, “not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and gave His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (4:10) John loved God because God loved him much, much more. God's love for him and his love for God prompted his obedience, not mere necessity. He obeyed because obedience delighted God, and God's delight was John's delight.

Do these things resonate with us, as they did with John? Are we also joyful in the service of God?

  1. Does God Hold Us Back? - Matthew 11:28-30
  2. Does God Hold Us Back? - Isaiah 40

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