1 John 5:3
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Jump to: AlfordBarnesBengelBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctExp GrkGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsICCJFBKellyKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWMeyerParkerPNTPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBVWSWESTSK
5:1-5 True love for the people of God, may be distinguished from natural kindness or party attachments, by its being united with the love of God, and obedience to his commands. The same Holy Spirit that taught the love, will have taught obedience also; and that man cannot truly love the children of God, who, by habit, commits sin or neglects known duty. As God's commands are holy, just, and good rules of liberty and happiness, so those who are born of God and love him, do not count them grievous, but lament that they cannot serve him more perfectly. Self-denial is required, but true Christians have a principle which carries them above all hinderances. Though the conflict often is sharp, and the regenerate may be cast down, yet he will rise up and renew his combat with resolution. But all, except believers in Christ, are enslaved in some respect or other, to the customs, opinions, or interests of the world. Faith is the cause of victory, the means, the instrument, the spiritual armour by which we overcome. In and by faith we cleave to Christ, in contempt of, and in opposition to the world. Faith sanctifies the heart, and purifies it from those sensual lusts by which the world obtains sway and dominion over souls. It has the indwelling Spirit of grace, which is greater than he who dwells in the world. The real Christian overcomes the world by faith; he sees, in and by the life and conduct of the Lord Jesus on earth, that this world is to be renounced and overcome. He cannot be satisfied with this world, but looks beyond it, and is still tending, striving, and pressing toward heaven. We must all, after Christ's example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin.For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments - This constitutes true love; this furnishes the evidence of it.

And his commandments are not grievous - Greek, "heavy" - βαρεῖαι bareiai; that is, difficult to be borne as a burden. See Matthew 11:30. The meaning is, that his laws are not unreasonable; the duties which he requires are not beyond our ability; his government is not oppressive. It is easy to obey God when the heart is right; and those who endeavor in sincerity to keep his commandments do not complain that they are hard. All complaints of this kind come from those who are not disposed to keep his commandments. Indeed, they object that his laws are unreasonable; that they impose improper restraints; that they are not easily complied with; and that the divine government is one of severity and injustice. But no such complaints come from true Christians. They find his service easier than the service of sin, and the laws of God more mild and easy to be complied with than were those of fashion and honor, which they once endeavored to obey. The service of God is freedom; the service of the world is bondage. No man ever yet heard a true Christian say that the laws of God, requiring him to lead a holy life, were stern and "grievous." But who has not felt this in regard to the inexorable laws of sin? What votary of the world would not say this if he spoke his real sentiments? Compare the notes at John 8:32.

3. this is—the love of God consists in this.

not grievous—as so many think them. It is "the way of the transgressor" that "is hard." What makes them to the regenerate "not grievous," is faith which "overcometh the world" (1Jo 5:4): in proportion as faith is strong, the grievousness of God's commandments to the rebellious flesh is overcome. The reason why believers feel any degree of irksomeness in God's commandments is, they do not realize fully by faith the privileges of their spiritual life.

For this is the love of God, i.e. this is the most lively, certain expression and effect of our love to God, our keeping his commandments, which are so little grievous, that true love can make no difficulty of doing so, Matthew 11:30 Psalm 19:11.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments,.... Keeping of the commandments of God is an evidence of love to God; this shows that love is not in word and tongue, in profession only, but in deed and in truth; and that such persons have a sense of the love of God upon their souls, under the influence of which they act; and such shall have, and may expect to have, greater manifestations of the love of God unto them:

and his commandments are not grievous; heavy, burdensome, and disagreeable; by which are meant, not so much the precepts of the moral law, which through the weakness of the flesh are hard to be kept, and cannot be perfectly fulfilled; though believers indeed, being freed from the rigorous exaction, curse, and condemnation of the law, delight in it after the inward man, and serve it cheerfully with their spirit; and still less the commands of the ceremonial law, which were now abolished, and were grievous to be borne; but rather those of faith in Christ, and love to the saints, 1 John 3:23; or it may be the ordinances of the Gospel, baptism, and the Lord's supper, with others, which though disagreeable to unregenerate persons, who do not care to be under the yoke of Christ, however easy and light it is, yet are not heavy and burdensome to regenerate ones; and especially when they have the love of God shed abroad in them, the presence of God with them, communion with Jesus Christ, and a supply of grace and strength from him; then are these ways ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace, and the tabernacles of the Lord are amiable and lovely.

{3} For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: {4} and his commandments are not {d} grievous.

(3) The reason: to love God, is to keep his commandments, which being so, and seeing that both the loves are commanded by the same lawmaker, (as he taught before) it follows also, that we do not love our neighbours, when we break God's commandments.

(4) Because experience teaches us that there is no ability in our flesh, neither will to perform God's commandments, therefore lest the apostle should seem, by so often putting them in mind of the keeping of the commandments of God, to require things that are impossible, he pronounces that the commandments of God are not in any way grievous or burdensome, that we can be oppressed with the burden of them.

(d) To those who are regenerate, that is to say, born again, who are led by the Spirit of God, and are through grace delivered from the curse of the law.

1 John 5:3 refers to the last two ideas, which were simply mentioned co-ordinatively, and expresses their unity: αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ] αὕτη is explained by the following ἵνα.

ἐστίν is to be kept in its proper meaning, though ἵνα follows; the paraphrase: “it brings this with it, it includes the endeavour” (de Wette), weakens the thought; ἵνα states the import of the ἀγάπη τ. Θεοῦ, to the realization of which it is directed. Quite incorrectly Grotius takes ἡ ἀγάπη metonymically for: ostensio dilectionis.

καὶ αἱ ἐντολαὶ αὐτοῦ βαρεῖαι οὐκ εἰσίν is connected with the preceding as a new idea; βαρεῖαι = “heary, as an oppressive burden;”[295] comp. Luke 11:46 : φορτία δυσβάστακτα, and Matthew 11:30 : φορτίον ἐλαφρόν. It is grammatically incorrect to explain βαρεῖαι: “difficult to fulfil” (Ebrard). The idea is, indeed, expressed absolutely, but from the confirmation that follows in 1 John 5:4 it is evident that the apostle meant it in special reference to those who are born of God.

[295] Spener: “We are to understand the heaviness of a burden that is so oppressive that one cannot bear it, that is, painful.” Calovius: “dicit ea non esse gravia, quia non aggravant, aut instar molis onerosae praemunt renatum.” The commandments of God, as the demands of His love on man who is made after His own image, cannot be grievous to the latter; if, however, they are so, that is because man has departed from his original relationship to God; to the believer they are not grievous, because as the child of God he has gone back to the original relationship of love to God.

1 John 5:3. ἡ ἀγ. τ. Θεοῦ, here objective genitive; contrast 1 John 2:5. ἴνα ecbatic (see Moulton’s Gram. of N.T. Gk., i. pp. 206–9), where the classical idiom would require τὸ ἡμᾶς τηρεῖν. Cf. John 17:3; Luke 1:43. τὰς ἐντ., the two commandments—“love God” and “love one another” (cf. 1 John 3:23, where see note; 1 John 4:21). καὶ αἱ ἐντ., κ.τ.λ.: cf. Herm. Past. M. 12:4, §4: οἱ δὲ ἐπὶ τοῖς χείλεσιν ἔχοντες τὸν κύριον, τὴν δὲ καρδίαν αὐτῶν πεπωρωμένην, καὶ μακρὰν ὄντες ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, ἐκείνοις αἱ ἐντολαὶ αὗται σκληραί εἰσι καὶ δύσβατοι. Aug. In Joan. Ev. Tract, 48:1: “Nostis enim qui amat non laborat. Omnis enim labor non amantibus gravis est.”

3. For this is the love of God] Or, For the love of God is this, i.e. consists in this: see on 1 John 1:5. The truth implied in 1 John 5:2, that love involves obedience, is here explicitly stated. Comp. John 14:15; John 14:21; John 14:23; John 15:10; 2 John 1:6.

his commandments are not grievous] For two reasons: 1. Because He gives us strength to bear them; juvat qui jubet (Php 4:13); 2. Because love makes them light. They are not like the ‘burdens grievous to be borne’ which the legal rigour of the Pharisees laid on men’s consciences. Here again we have an echo of the Master’s words; ‘My yoke is easy, and My burden is light’ (Matthew 11:30).

1 John 5:3. Βαρεῖαι οὐκ εἰσὶν, are not grievous) to the regenerate, who love; and in themselves. In themselves they are pleasant: but the expression, not grievous, is in contradiction and opposition to those who think them grievous.

Verse 3. - Reason for the preceding statement. "For the love of God consists in this (1 John 4:17), that we keep his commandments: and these are not grievous." These are the words, not merely of an inspired apostle, but of an aged man, with a wide experience of life and its difficulties. "Difficult" is a relative term, depending upon the relation between the thing to be done and the powers of the doer of it. The Christian, whose will is united with the will of God, will not find obedience to that will a task. 1 John 5:3Grievous (βαρεῖαι)

Lit., heavy. The word occurs six times in the New Testament. Acts 20:29, violent, rapacious; "grievous wolves": 2 Corinthians 10:10, weighty, impressive, of Paul's letters: Matthew 23:23; Acts 25:7, important, serious; the weightier matters of the law; serious charges against Paul.

1 John 5:3 Interlinear
1 John 5:3 Parallel Texts

1 John 5:3 NIV
1 John 5:3 NLT
1 John 5:3 ESV
1 John 5:3 NASB
1 John 5:3 KJV

1 John 5:3 Bible Apps
1 John 5:3 Parallel
1 John 5:3 Biblia Paralela
1 John 5:3 Chinese Bible
1 John 5:3 French Bible
1 John 5:3 German Bible

Bible Hub

1 John 5:2
Top of Page
Top of Page