This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.
— 1 John 5:3–4
Loving God is not just keeping his commandments, but having a kind of heart for God that means that commandment keeping is not burdensome. That’s what John says. But then he puts that truth in terms of the new birth and faith, rather than love. He says, without a break, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.” So, faith is what overcomes the worldly obstacles to keeping God’s commandments without burdensomeness.
I think what I’ve found here is that we look to Christ and see not a lawmaker that’s watching us for mistakes or expecting constant offerings to cleanse ourselves, but instead, an overcoming of worldly obstacles, making a way for burden-free commandment keeping, because the new birth gives rise to faith.
So, the birth, life and death of Christ creates faith, which embraces Christ’s sacrifice as supremely satisfying. Because of this, obedience to God becomes more desirable than the temptations of the world and creates an atmosphere of faith, not commandment keeping.
We still keep these commandments, but those works are an outpouring of our faith.
Personally, I think this gives me a good idea of why I always tend to spend more time studying the New Testament. I am constantly trying to know more about the life and death of Jesus, because I cannot get enough of the supreme love he showed for you and me when he was nailed to that cross, taking our sins — and subsequent burden of Christianity — away.
I think I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany while writing this, so I hope what I’m communicating is clear, but the application of this idea in our lives, I believe, is to continue to think about how we view the Son’s role within the Trinity.
Jesus was the facilitator of what we now know as a faith-based devotion to God because of the debt he paid, yet never owed.