“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”
And His commandments are not burdensome
God’s commandments are not irksome. The reason they are not irksome is because of our love for Him. It is not hard to obey someone you love.
The word “burdensome” means heavy, weighed down, grievous, oppressive, troublesome, cruel, severe, stern. God’s commandments are not oppressive. The idea is not that God’s commands ask too much of us but that keeping them is an act of love. Legalism does, however, impose heavy burdens on believers.
Mt 23: 4 “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”
God’s commands are not oppressive since we execute them by love derived from faith (5:4). It is wonderful to serve the Lord under His operating grace. His yoke is easy and His burden light. God’s Word always sets God’s grace in contrast to legalism.
Mt. 11: 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
God’s commands are not burdensome because we exercise them in love for God.
The obligations of grace are infinitely more demanding than legalism. We could not keep them apart from the strength of the Spirit.
Love for God and other Christians should not be an oppressive command. Christians are members of our spiritual family. They are fellow believers (4:4).
Keeping God’s principles for life requires a heart for God. It is no burden to do something for someone you love. Love is evidence of life. Divine life produces divine love. The single constraint to God’s commands is love.
Ps. 19: 11 “Moreover by them [God’s commands] Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.”
Ps 119: 32 “I will run the course of Your commandments,
For You shall enlarge my heart.”
When you love, it is not difficult to obey. It is not difficult for people who are in love to obey one another. It is not difficult for a man who loves his wife to obey her. If she says, “Please take out the garbage,” he will do it for her. This is not irksome–a little tedious, but not irksome! A burden occurs where there is a lack of love.
We know that God has given to us divine directives in His Word for our own good, for our own benefit. I grant you, some of the directives we may not fully comprehend. We may not understand why, and we may question some of them but, nevertheless, God obligates us to do them. Later in eternity He might explain to us the full rationale for His principles for life.
Jesus said that Pharisees put religious burdens on people (Mt 23:4). Jesus offered to lift religious burdens (Mt 11:29,30). Faith in Him abolishes religious burdens.
Ga 6: 2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ [love].”
Ja 2: 8 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well…’”