Obedience Out of Love

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”  1 John 5:3

For most people the idea of obeying God’s Word is a burden that they have no interest in considering. They love and find pleasure in sin and do not even consider it to be sin. After all, sin does give a pleasure or else no one would indulge.

It is the consequences of sin that is distinctly unpleasant but they always come after the pleasure. Sometimes the consequences are so long after the pleasure that the link is not seen and made.

There are many statements in the Bible concerning obedience to the Lord and His Word. What we would do well to consider is our motive and manner of obedience. The sin nature can never obey God’s Word out of a correct motive and doesn’t even want to do so. It loves the pleasures of sin too much for that.

It is only the new creation – Christ in us – that can obey, and desires to obey the Lord. It does not do so out of duty, seeking favour or even thankfulness. The new creation that we are in Jesus Christ desires to obey and can obey because it is of the same nature as the One commanding. Only then is it not a burden.

If we say that we are trying to obey God it is because we are trying to do what cannot be done. The sin nature or ‘flesh’ cannot obey Him. Only Christ in us is able to obey Him with a true motive.

To the Psalmist, the Word of the Lord was a pleasure in which he delighted day and night (Psalm 1:2). The sin nature will never delight in God’s commands in this way. Thank God that in Christ Jesus we are created new and an evidence of this is that we do find pleasure in God and His Word. We find it so because we are of the same nature.

John says that the love of God is manifested in our lives by the fact that we delight in and keep God’s commandments, not out of duty (a burden) but out of a heart of the same nature as the One giving the commandments.

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