NT Tuesday: Should We ‘Keep the Sabbath?’

Sabbath Day BusRest is now found in a Person not in a Day.

As mentioned last week, we are going to examine the relationship between the believer in Christ and the necessity of keeping the Sabbath. Believe it or not, this issue comes up quite frequently and it recently came up in a recent conversation I was having with a young man.

This young man was born and raised in the Caribbean and he has been taught many things that simply aren’t true and seemingly contradictory. He is trying to discover truth, but on his own terms.

One of the tidbits of teaching that this young man is holding onto is the necessity of keeping the Sabbath as a Christian. He lives in fear of breaking the Sabbath. Does this young man have it right? The answer lies (of course) in the Word of God.

But before we delve into the Bible, let’s think of the most likely conclusions one could reach pertaining to the necessity of the Christian keeping the Sabbath.

  • First: obviously, is that one could conclude that the Christian must keep the seventh day Sabbath.
  • Second: one could conclude that the Christian must keep the Sabbath (as described in the Law), but that the Sabbath is now the first day rather than the seventh.
  • Third: one could conclude that the Christian is not obligated to keep the Sabbath in any way, shape or form.

Clearly there are other conclusions that one could reach, but these three seem to be the most likely.

How would one conclude that we are still supposed to keep the Sabbath? Easily! The Law makes it very clear. The fourth commandment reads “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” It goes on to say that there is to be NO work done on the Sabbath day, either by oneself or by his servants or his beasts. It is supposed to be a day of complete REST.

Continued…

The laws pertaining to keeping this day are repeated in various places in the Old Testament. The Law is very strict, very exacting, and absolute. The penalty for gathering sticks on the Sabbath Day is death by stoning (Numbers 15). The Old Testament makes it very clear how the Lord’s people, Israel, are to keep this commandment. We are not able to alter the Law are we? NO! We must keep it or pay the consequences. That’s how some have concluded that we must still keep the seventh-day Sabbath. A conclusion that this author rejects and will provide substantiation for it later.

Some have concluded that the Sabbath Day is still for the believer today, but it has changed from Saturday to Sunday. To be honest, I can’t find any shred of biblical evidence that would support the idea of the Sabbath changing from the seventh day to the first day. One could search the scriptures night and day in an attempt to justify this position, yet no matter where one finds the term Sabbath it always refers to the seventh day of the week.

There is NO authority for changing the day or the means of keeping the Sabbath. Law is law and if we are going to be under it, then we need to abide by it completely. The only way that someone could conclude that the Sabbath day is now the first day rather than the seventh is by thoroughly confusing the Lord’s Day with the Sabbath. Much, much more on that later.

Two out of three isn’t bad! Next week we will In Should We Keep ‘The Sabbath’ Part 2 we look at the third logical conclusion as the relationship between the believer and the Sabbath.

Until then hold off on forming an opinion, and fulfill your ministry.

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Jump to Should We ‘Keep The Sabbath’ Part 2

[photo credit]

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6 comments

  1. Donald Henderson Jr

    So if an older brother that you really respect, who otherwise is sound in doctrine, holds firmly to the idea that we need to keep the sabbath, how would one approach this in a respectful and God honoring way?

    • Great question Don! I appreciate your concern and desire to approach this older brother in a respectful and God honoring way. Although it is often easier said than done!

      Of course the book of Galatians (especially chapter 3) would be a wonderful text to share with this brother.

  2. Mike,

    I really enjoy your weekly articles. It is refreshing to see teaching presented clearly, logically and true to the text of scripture.

    Yours in Christ,

    Stephen

  3. Thanks Mike for this excellent article. I found your opening sentence: “Rest is now found in a Person not in a day” to be particularly profound… it really sums up everything. Rest is not found in our ability to keep the law or to keep a particular day… true rest is only found in Jesus Christ. Amen and Praise the Lord!

  4. Thanks, Scott. Speaking of rest, I am taking off Tuesday Dec. 25 and Tuesday, Jan 1!