Periodically I hear people criticize Christianity because they say it’s just a bunch of rules you have to follow. And the Apostle John sort of agrees with them in this passage. And yet in the middle of these verses you find an astounding statement. See if you can find it.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—sour faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5 [ESV])
Did you find it? I think the second sentence in verse three is astounding, “And his commandments are not burdensome.” I am reminded of some of the world class athletes we know. Michael Jordan never complained about the rules in basketball. He never complained because the basket rim was at 10 feet. He never complained about the 3 second rule or the length of the court. He was world class while playing within those constraints and excelled.
The rules and commands we find in the Bible are for our good. They protect us and give us freedom. They are not there to control but to bring freedom to our lives. They are not oppressive but freeing.
How bout you? What command are you having trouble with? Have you thought about the fact that obeying that command will bring you freedom. Try it and see if it works.
Oh and by the way. By keeping these commands in no way gets us into heaven. The Apostle John addresses that later in the chapter and takes all the guess work out about the heaven thing. Read below:
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 [ESV])
So he gives us that answer right there in the statement. We enter into an eternal relationship with God by putting our trust in Him alone for our salvation. Simple believe in what He has done for us on the cross.
So where are you in all this today? Are you believing in Jesus alone for your salvation? Do you understand that it isn’t a bunch of rule keeping that gets us there? But on the other hand do you realize how freeing it is to live by the rules and commands God has given us? Think on these things today.