His commandments are not burdensome
1 John 5 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are [k]in agreement. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have [l]before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
18 We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. 19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
In today’s text it says: If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death. Before we look at any other aspects of today’s text it is important that we at least deal in part, if not wholly, with these potentially confusing verses. Earlier in his letter John wrote: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) It would seem, and many scholars agree, that the sin which leads to death, which John speaks of, is not a particular sin. It is not a category of abominable sins. 1 Peter 3:18 says: Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God. The blood of Jesus, His sacrifice on the cross was enough to pay the price for every sin of every person. In Luke 23:34, while on the cross, Jesus said: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” There are none so badly stained by sin that the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse them. What then is the sin that leads to death? It is the sin that remains unconfessed and without repentance. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” So it is the sin we practice, the sin that we choose to continue in rather than confessing and repenting, which is the sin that leads to death.
John says: Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. This is not John’s personal doctrine. John is speaking the words of Jesus. In John 14:15-21 Jesus says: “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” We are not saved by our righteousness in keeping the commandments of God. But, because we are forgiven, our response to Christ is that we keep His commandments. In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” If we want the abundant life that Jesus came to give; if we want to live a life that does not lead to death, we will keep the commandments of God and Christ.
Look again at the fullness of what John says: This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Keeping the commandments of God is not burdensome. The things that God asks us not to do are things which will harm us. It puts no burden on us to avoid what could harm or kill us. The things He allows and requires are all the things that are for our good. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17) Additionally that the commandments of God and Christ are not burdensome is because of what Jesus says in Matthew 11:29-30: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” If we are yoked to Christ, walking and working with Him, life will not be difficult, keeping His commandments is not a burden, because Jesus Himself will do all the heavy lifting. John says: Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. In John 16:33 Jesus says: “I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” The things He spoke in John 16 is the promise of the Holy Spirit, as He also promised when He said we would keep His commandments if we love Him. That too is both how we keep His commandments and why it is not a burden. If we are born of God, we have the very Spirit of God in us. Romans 8:31 says: If God is for us, who is against us? How much more then, if God is in us? Jesus says: “Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’