Verse of the Day Devotion 1 John 5:3
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3
When we believe and accept the salvation provided through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, we become born of God and become His child. “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.” 1 John 5:1. And notice what this verse says, if we love the Father, then we love Jesus and all children born of Him. And these denoted as ‘all children born of Him’ are all those who are true Christians. But we must remember, we are called to love our enemies as well. “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48.
Now, because of what we read in verse one, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.” 1 John 5:2. Our love of God’s followers is a proof that we love God. Our love of God is the cause why we love his children, and our keeping the commandments of God is the proof that we love him. Just as our love for our brothers and sisters is the sign and test of our love for God, so our love for God, tested by obedience, is the only basis of our love for our brothers and sisters. John was not contradicting a similar verse in chapter four where he said, “If someone says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21. Rather, he was insisting that love for God and love for our brothers and sisters cannot be separated.
Now in our focus verse we read, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3. First, let us look at what Jesus said was the greatest commandment in the Law. “And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40. Jesus said that the greatest commandments were love of God and love of our fellow man. By keeping His commandments we are proving our love for both God and everyone else. And I want to make this point, we should not follow the law just because we are commanded to, we should follow the law because we love God and man.
Now one last thing. If we believe our focus verse is true, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3, then we cannot accept a concept called antinomianism. The word antinomianism comes from two Greek words, anti, meaning “against”; and nomos, meaning “law.” Antinomianism means “against the law.” Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. Antinomianism takes a biblical teaching to an unbiblical conclusion. The biblical teaching is that Christians are not required to observe the Old Testament Law as a means of salvation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law. The unbiblical conclusion is that there is no moral law God expects Christians to obey.
Once again, we are called to obey the law, but not because it will save us, but because it shows the love we exhibit is true and not fake. There are many who claim to be Christians that believe it is OK to sin because they are forgiven of all sins. However, if you love God, you cannot purposely sin. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:15-18. We are called to keep the law showing our love, and also to be a light in the world. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.