1 John 5:1-3 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
I think it is hard for us to remember that keeping the commandments of God is an aspect of loving Him. We Protestants are often so afraid of Pelagianism that we don’t talk or teach about being righteous. This is a huge mistake. Though good works do not save us, we still are commanded to be good. The one who is not good is not a child of God.
The problem comes from a selfish desire within humanity to only be concerned with our own well being. Because of this, we primarily see good works in terms of what it can do for us. Therefore, there is a natural instinct within humanity that when we hear that we need to do good works, we think we need to do it to obtain what it is that we want.
But that’s not how it works in the kingdom. In the kingdom, good works are motivated by our love for others. Indeed, the highest commandment is to love each other. It is our love of God which unites us to Christ, and it is our love of God which gives us a love for others. Therefore, if we do not love others, then we are not part of the covenant. Therefore, we need to love others, and we love others by doing good works. That is the relationship. Though good works are tied to salvation, they are not a cause, but a necessary effect.
This is why John says that His commandments’ not being burdensome is part of the love of God. There are a lot of people who try to follow the commandments to please God. But the law is a burden to them, because they don’t actually want to follow the law, they are merely obliged to.
But if we love God, and if we love God’s children, then following the law is a delight, it is a joy. We live for those around us, and desire nothing greating than to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Therefore, if you are struggling to obey the law of God, work not on your actions, but on your heart. Focus on loving those in your lives. For if you do this, than His yoke will become light.