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Should Christians Keep The Sabbath?
Resources - Christian Life
Written by Toby Brillon   
Thursday, 03 December 2009 21:00
 
 
We recently received a question asking if Christians should keep the Sabbath.
Do you know what the Bible has to say on the subject?
 
The answer may suprise you!
 
      
Question:

What is the controversy in serving God on Sunday versus on Saturday as it relates to the Sabbath?


Answer:

There are many ideas and opinions about the Sabbath today. Orthodox Jews are still very diligent to observe the Sabbath and shut down from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, while more moderate Jews give little observance at all.

However, since this is a Christian web site the question posed needs to be considered in the light of the New Testament and Jesus Christ.
The Seventh Day Adventists teach that you must keep the Sabbath in order to be saved (this includes going to church on Saturday and not Sunday). Some Christians that belong to "mainline" denominations that attend church on Sundays feel guilty if they must work on Sunday and many others are simply confused on the subject.

The answer to this "dilemma" is found in Scripture and perhaps after studying this topic out for yourself you can come to a conclusion that will settle the issue once and for all in your mind and bring you much comfort as well!

The Scripture states, "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8-11).

As New Testament believers we revere the Ten Commandments because they are our schoolmaster which bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24) and we honor them out of obedience to Christ Himself. Once you are saved keeping the Commandments is not really that big of an issue - Christians do not want to kill, steal, lie, or commit adultery because all of our sin was paid for by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Why would we want to live in those sins knowing that Christ HAD to die for those sins? And once we have been regenerated and have the Holy Spirit within us we are enabled to live holy lives that are acceptable and pleasing to God out of our love (agape, which is sacrificial love) and gratitude to God (1 John 5:2-5).

So, all that to say that as Christians we obey the Commandments, but I want to draw your attention to something peculiar about the fourth Commandment (Sabbath Command) in the New Testament. Namely, it is not there in the same context as all of the other Commandments. You will notice in the New Testament that Jesus restates all of the Commandments except the Command to KEEP the Sabbath. The question is WHY?

Why does Jesus not teach on the Fourth Commandment that dictates dedication to Sabbath observance?
It is good to remember that Jesus was accused of being a "Sabbath-Breaker" Himself in Matthew 12:1-8. Jesus corrected His accusers by pointing out their legalism and then correcting their understanding by stating that He was Lord of the Sabbath. If Jesus had truly wanted us to keep the Sabbath in the same manner of the Jews under Mosaic Law we would have seen a completely different response from our Lord at that time.

I would like to point out another observance from Scripture in regards to the Sabbath - the Sabbath was for the Jews. In Exodus 31:13-17 we read, "Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed". Perhaps Jews today could make the argument to keep the Sabbath from this Scripture but if you are a Gentile then it is clear that the Sabbath was made as a sign and covenant between God and the Jews, not everyone else.
We might also take note from Scripture that we see the Sabbath rest mentioned in Gen. 2:2-3 after God is finished with creation, yet 2500 years goes by before that Command was given to Moses in the Ten Commandments. It is good to realize that 2500 years of human history transpired without Sabbath observance. Why? ...because the Sabbath was a covenant between God and His people Israel.

More specifically, the New Testament teaches the following on the Sabbath:

Colossians 2:13-17 - And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of you flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Hebrews 4 speaks on the Sabbath rest of Christ - that is ceasing from your dead works to obtain salvation and resting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. This is the true SABBATH REST!
Hebrews 4:9-10 - There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

DO CHRISTIANS KEEP THE SABBATH?

My response is a resounding YES! (but not in a legalistic Saturday sort of way). A Christian keeps the Sabbath by resting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. A Christian has repented of his sin and put his faith in the resurrected Christ and HIS FINISHED WORK! A Christian lives in the Sabbath. We cannot earn anything from God. We can merely rest in His finished work on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).
In doing this we are keeping the Command to keep the Sabbath holy.
     

 
Comments (5)Add Comment
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written by Deborah Ann Stressner, August 14, 2010
Politely stated, I do not agree. This subject is too large to show all my talking points, so I will leave it at that. Yes, I am a Sabbatarian Christian, but currently not associated with any particular group for my own reasons. May God provide continued truth to us both.
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written by george loya, October 03, 2010
The Seventh-day Adventist do not believe that you have to keep the Sabbath to be saved. John 3:16-17 tells us that salvation only comes by the Blood of Jesus Christ. God has set aside a time period from sunset to sunset on the seventh day of the week to be with Him. Salvation doesn't come from keeping the 10 Commndments, they only let's us know what sin is.
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written by Diana, March 12, 2011
We are not saved by keeping the Sabbath. Keeping the sabbath is a command from God, one of ten commandments. That is why we keep it. We do obey all the other nine commandments, so we should also obey the fourth one and observe the sabbath. May God provide us with His revelation knowledge so we can see the truth as it was written in the Bible.
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written by richard, September 01, 2011
Still confused. This writer shows no proof from the New Testiment for his position. Only conjecture
And speculation as to Christs intent with omision of a specific mandate in the New Testiment.It would have been so much easier had the Lord been clearer.you must You must continue keeping the sabbathor don't trip.
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written by edwin Jardinel , August 23, 2013
Exo 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
(Hebrews 10:28)

As we can see in these two verses, Sabbath is part of the law that was given to Moses. The Seventh Day Adventists would say that it is not part of the law, but it is clear that it is associated with death penalty for disobedience of it. To question to the SDA is that "Do you fully or partially obey the keeping of the Sabbath? (Exo. 31: 14) Why do you not practice the stoning of violators in your members?" Is it written in the New Testament that you should obey all and that those who do not obey all that is written in the law are under the curse?

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
(Galatians 3:10)

Therefore those who claim to be law keepers, are law breakers because they break the law.

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