1 John 5:1-5 (ESV)
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.  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.  For 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.  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Jesus is the Christ, the messiah, The Prophet. He is the one of whom the Old Testament testified to his coming, through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed. The nations would be blessed that is with the salvation that Jesus won for us on the cross. Those who believe this have been born of God. That is, it is the work of God that we believe this. It is a fruit of the fact that have been born again of God that we believe Jesus is the Christ. As further fruit of this faith we learn to love, love as we are loved by God.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, And His commandments are not burdensome.” They are not burdensome. They are all but impossible to keep, but they are not burdensome. Because it is not fear that drives the Christian to keep the commandments, but love. Fear makes them burdensome. When law is preached and not gospel, but a diet of law, it doesn’t matter how much you water down the law, the law becomes burdensome. But the Gospel gives birth to faith, and faith to love, and we grow in this love knowing that our sins are forgiven.
The forgiveness, the love of God is objective. God’s love for us is not to be found in butterfly tummies, but in the Body and Blood that he gave into death, and shed for us on the cross. So our love for our neighbor and our love for God is not to be identified with butterfly tummies either. We know that Christ died for our sins. Let me put it this way, I know Christ died for me, because I know that he died for my neighbor, for my wife, my ex-wife, my son, my friends, and the people in my life who aren’t as friendly. I know Christ died for the world, that includes my dad, my mom. And knowing this, I know that he died for me too. And Christ died for these people regardless of whether or not they know it, recognize it, or believe it. It matters no way. Christ has given my life dignity, meaning, value by purchasing it with his very blood, by purchasing it with his love. So Christ there is also dignity, meaning, and value in the life of my neighbor, the same as mine. To devalue the life of my neighbor is to devalue my own life. To take advantage of my neighbor, to malign them, to marginalize them, this is to say that Christ’s blood, Christ’s love has no value to me. So it is that we love by obeying the commandments of God.
The commandments are there to teach us to love. To love as we have been loved. They require sacrifice of self. And that is the thing. This is why they are so burdensome when the driver is fear. And when the driver is love they are no easier to follow, but the burden is lifted. The burden is lifted because we know that we are forgiven. We live in forgiveness. So we forgive. So we love. Love tells us not to steal. Love tells us not to gossip, bear false testimony. Love tells us to not commit adultery. Love tells us not to murder. Love tells us to honor our Father and Mother. Love for the word of God has us honoring the Sabbath day, so that we go to church and hear God’s word, and grow in it. Love for God tells us not to blaspheme his name, to use it as a cuss word, to curse others with the name by which we are forgiven all our sins. Love tells us to have this God and not other, for no other God has loved us with His very own life. No other God could, for in reality there is no other God. And knowing that our life is a gift that cannot be taken, knowing that forgiveness remains even when we screw up, that forgiveness remains because we sin, we reach out in love for our neighbor, in what we do and don’t do. We love because he first loved us. We love because we are loved, not to be loved. The gift is given.