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Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Fruit of Belief

Why are God's commands "not burdensome" (v. 3)? What is the difference between something being difficult and being a burden? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1702).

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).

The above passage says that only those who believe Jesus is the Son of God will find the commands of God not burdensome. It is evident that this is not some formulaic understanding, but understanding based upon a rather extensive mapping out of the meaning and implications of the commands of God as they align with the life, works, teachings, purposes, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It makes no sense to ask me whether I "believe in a political candidate" unless I have a good understanding of the character, life, commitments, and convictions of this candidate.  Likewise, I cannot be expected to affirm whether or not I "believe in Jesus" unless I understand some basic things about his life and ministry and what he stood for. 

After consulting Scripture,  I can come to understand that Jesus looked beyond labels to the essential character and spirit that underlie human behavior. What is the intent – to be hurtful or helpful; to bring abundant life or to diminish it?  Relativism and subjectivism assert that truth is not absolute but depends upon one's point of  view.  Scripture clearly rejects this. What is almost impossible and a burden to do without the fruit of the *Spirit is a joy to do with it. In this sense, life can be filled with many difficult challenges that are nevertheless opportunities for expressions of goodwill and love...however mundane or exalted; however the engines of blood, sweat, toil, and tears.  


*But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).

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