Loving God Means Keeping His Commands – 1 John 5:3

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

1 John 5:3-5 NIV

Can you love God without keeping his commands? John would answer that question with a resounding NO. John identifies loving God and keeping his commands as being the same thing. If you do one you are doing the other. But what commands is he talking about? Does it include all of the Old Testament Law? Or something else?

In 1 John 3:23 John answers that question. He says “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” Here John identifies the two commands that are significant. The first is to believe in the name of Jesus. And the second is to love one another.

This essentially equates to what Jesus identified as the greatest commandments. I love God by believing in the name of Christ, placing my hope and trust completely in him. And to love those who are a part of the family of God. When I believe in the name of Jesus, and I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, I am demonstrating the love I have for God.

John is equally clear in this epistle that failing to love my brothers and sisters in Christ demonstrates that I do not love God. God does not expect perfection in our lives. But he does expect us to live lives of love. Especially toward those within the body of Christ.

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