1353. A Christian Sabbath?

Is the Lord’s day a special or sacred day? Is it the Christian’s Sabbath?

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

A Christian Sabbath?

In a previous article, “Why God Hates Christmas and Easter,” I stressed the point that God wants us to be living out the messages of Christmas and Easter every day, not celebrating the day the events happened. Please check it out or read it again before considering what I’m presenting today. God doesn’t want us to fall into the same trap as the church at Galatia—reverting back to the “shadows” of the real things. The result was that they were falling back into legalism, believing that they were obligated to observe certain days, month, seasons, and years (Gal. 4:10). I believe that part of Christ’s purging of His Church will be pulling us out of the shadows into the light of the real thing..

Don’t Revert Back

Paul had scathing words for those Jewish believers who had reverted back to such observances. He calls the obligations of Judaism “weak and beggarly rudiments” like the old idolatry (vv. 8, 9). In Colossians 2:14-17 he declared that the obligations that were hostile to us had been nailed to the cross, and he includes feast days, new moons and “a sabbath day” as mere shadows. Therefore, since they were under grace instead of law, they were to ignore those who judged them for not observing such things. Believers were to have nothing to do with such observances.

Is the Lord’s Day Special?

So, what are we to do with the days we hold as special? In Romans 14:5 Paul says that one man regards one day to be above another while another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. The question was whether the Lord’s day (Sunday) was to be seen and treated above other days. His answer was no, not in itself as a “holy” day in the sense that the Sabbath was and will be to Israel. Paul says in Colossians 2:16: “Let no man judge you . . . in respect of . . . a sabbath day, for you died with Christ unto earthly religious things.

Stay out of the Shadows

The first day of the week is not the “sabbath.” All those days of Judaism were “shadows” of the real thing. If you elevate the shadow you obscure what the shadow represents and miss the point. Legalists love the darkness of the shadows because it conceals their lack of relationship and focuses on their “faithful observance.” You may argue that you are not a Jew and that the Sabbath has been changed from Saturday to Sunday. The clear fact, however, is that the day has not been “changed.”

There is only one weekly Sabbath known in Scripture, and that is the seventh day.

 It will even be observed again weekly, in the land of Israel, after “the six working days,” of every week in the coming age—the Millennium (Ezek. 46:1, 3, 4). Because of false teaching, whether by Judaizing believers in the early Christian centuries or by Reformers and Puritans since the Reformation, most Christians mistakenly regard the first day of the week as “the weekly Sabbath,” a “holy day”—which entirely defeats its proper scriptural use. It substitutes a stern legal must for grace’s sweet word, privilege.

AS I SEE IT

To determine what we are supposed to do with this information, we must return to Romans 14:5: One man regards one day to be above another while another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. Paul’s point is that weaker believers may still be bound up in legalism, believing that the first day of the week is special and sacred. They have unwittingly applied the restrictions of a Jewish Sabbath to the first day of the week instead of enjoying it with fresh joy each week.

Love the Weaker Brethren

The stronger believers who have learned to walk in the liberty Christ purchased for them are to continue to love the weaker ones, not looking down on them for their immaturity. They are to patiently bring them to freedom remembering that they were once weak themselves. The strong believer was to regard every day alike, seeing each day as an opportunity to be filled with the Spirit and in everything, by word or deed, giving thanks to God. No day, therefore, was holy in itself or above another. Once again, the Lord’s day was to be seen as a privilege, not an obligation.

In Christ Risen

Moses could never have said, “Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind.” The Law allowed no liberty in such things. Its essence was bondage to a letter. Conscience was judged beforehand by the letter of the Law, and conduct was prescribed. When a man gathered sticks on the Sabbath he was stoned! Not so, now! Instead of being under some legal principle, we are in the Risen Christ, under God’s eternal favor. We have entered upon what the Spirit, in Chapter Twelve of Romans, calls our “intelligent service.” Here is an amazing sphere of holy freedom in which each of us is seen and treated as a king (Rom. 5:17). Instead of being told what we must or must not do, we are freely exhorted to be assured in our own mind and heart fully and walk as Christ’s free man or woman.

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