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1 John 5:2–3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome,
These verses present the opposite of what we expect—that we know that we love the children of God by loving God and carrying out his commands. We expect to hear that we demonstrate our love for God by loving our brothers. The opposite appears. This demonstrates that love is a central characteristic. As a genuine mark of a born-again heart, it goes both ways: toward God and toward our brothers.
This love for God, then, is most clearly demonstrated by obeying him: “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love” (John 15:10). Obedience does not always bring cheer to our hearts, so a profound statement follows: his commands are not burdensome. This stands contrary to what most people think. Certainly, God’s commands are not always the path of least resistance in life. In that sense, it is often easier to disobey God than to obey him. If obeying a command of God is harder than disobeying, the consequences are easier.
For example, if it is harder to remain faithful to one’s spouse (obeying the command not to commit adultery) than to give in to passion (disobeying a command), then the consequence of obeying (not committing adultery) will be much easier than the consequences of not obeying (committing adultery). In other words, sin has a price. When it is paid, we see it would have been easier not to have sinned. So in the long run, obeying God’s commands is not burdensome. This is why Jesus could say his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matt. 11:28–30).
By David Walls and Max Anders