Wednesday, April 29, 2009

1 John 5:1-12

In today's passage, we find, "This is love for God; to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome," (verse 3). This verse seemed odd to me when I first read it. I mean aren't God's commands very difficult to follow? In fact, aren't they so difficult (impossible) to follow that he sent his only son, Jesus Christ, into the world so mankind could be saved. Paul tells us many times in his letters that deeds cannot save us as no one can follow all the commandments and thus we must be saved by believing in Jesus Christ. So what gives? John must have another meaning for burdensome other than easy to follow.

Certainly God's commandments are not always the easiest path to follow in life. In fact, it is often easier to disobey than to obey. Thus John must be talking about the consequences of obeying God's commands.

Let's take an example. Let's look at the commandment to not commit adultery. If obeying this commandment (remaining faithful to your spouse) is harder than disobeying (giving in to passion) then the consequences of obeying will be much easier than the consequences of disobeying. In other words, sin has a price. Most of the time when we pay that price we see that it would have been easier to not have sinned in the first place. In our example, the price for adultery can be devastating - it can lead to mistrust, hurt feelings, and family breakup. So in the long run, obeying God's commandments is not burdensome, it is much easier than the price of sin.

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