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 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 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 John 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. Even though we have been redeemed by and recreated in Christ, we all fall from time to time. In the text, John differentiates between sin that does not lead to death and sin that does lead to death. Romans 6:23 says: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The key to sin that leads to death is not what kind of sin it is. In Revelation 21:8 the Lord says: “The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” So what we might consider lesser sins are listed with the greater sins and they all lead to death. John says all unrighteousness is sin. The key to sin that leads to death is whether or not the one who commits sin does so knowingly, willingly and without repentance. When He was on the cross, in Luke 23:34 Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The sin that leads to death is sin which we choose not to confess; not to repent of, but rather to continue to practice even when we are aware of it. In John 7:23 Jesus says: “I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” In Matthew 18:21-22 it says: Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” If Jesus calls us to forgive, how much more will God forgive us and give us life when we confess and repent of our sin. Yet, there is a sin leading to death; the sin we choose to practice.
The text 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. Those who have experienced religion apart from the love of God believe that His commanments are burdensome. With faith though obedience to God; keeping His commandments is not burdensome; it is life giving. Hebrews 12:1-2 says: Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. He is the object of our faith. When we keep our eyes on Him rather than on our own abilities or inabilities; when we keep our eyes on Him rather than the circumstances or situations in our lives we can overcome whatever we face. It is not difficult or a burden to remain close to Him because close to Him is where our victory lies. Conversely it is difficult not to follow Him. In Acts 26:14, when Paul is describing his encounter with the Lord it says: When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus says: “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.” The real burden in life is to do anything without God or to be opposed, to strive against Him. To follow His commandments; to be yoked to Him is easy, restful and life giving. In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
May the words of the psalmist be our declaration and prayer:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.