Do you have to keep the Sabbath? In today’s Little Lesson, we’ll talk about Sabbath keeping. And Christians don’t agree on this.
Some, I think the minority, believe that it’s very, very important to keep the Sabbath. It’s one of the 10 Commandments for crying out loud! And it’s based on the fact that God rested Himself on the seventh day (see Genesis 2:1-3), something that pre-dates the law of Moses.
What the New Testament Says About the Sabbath
However, let’s be honest, you can’t find a whole lot in the epistles about the importance of keeping the Sabbath. And so we get this question. I get it fairly frequently. And I first of all remind folks that we are not under the law of Moses. And that’s where you find the Sabbath commandment.
Now that doesn’t mean we can ignore everything in the law of Moses. I have discussed this on a Little Lesson before, because many of the moral laws that you find in the law of Moses are also found in the law of Christ, of which all Christians are obligated to follow and to obey.
Adultery was a sin under the law of Moses, adultery is a sin under the law of Christ. When I say you don’t have to keep the law of Moses, I want to qualify that and say you do have to keep the parts of the law of Moses that were carried over into the law of Christ. But I can’t say definitively that the law of keeping the Sabbath is part of the law of Christ.
Asking the Wrong Question
Now that being said when people ask me, “Do I have to keep the Sabbath?” I often immediately say, “You’re asking the wrong question.” Do I have to keep the Sabbath? That’s like saying, “Do I have to eat ice cream?” Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. And so it’s a gift from God, and primarily to have a day of rest.
Now, the Jewish Sabbath of course went from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. So if you want to be very strict on that, you’ve got to reset your whole days. Christians often refer to Sunday as the Sabbath. Which of course it is not technically the Sabbath, but that’s what it’s been known to be called.
But the point is a day of rest. And I think scientific studies have shown that people that try to ignore that concept of having one day out of seven for a rest are eventually not nearly as productive as they would be if they had that rest.
The Value of a Sabbath Rest
Because you get that rest and then you get rejuvenated and you get ready to hit it again on Monday morning. When you think about it, we’ve got 365 and one-fourth days a year based upon the sun and moon. That’s how we devised our calendar and so forth. That all could have been divided up in a lot of ways.
Could have been you work 10 days then you get a day off. That could be a week. But the days take 24 hours and people work as many as they can. But they have to sleep. That’s another gift from the LORD when we get to rest. And it’s just built in to every culture around the world.
It’s so interesting, it’s like a natural law that God has built into our bodies. And so people practice it who don’t have any exposure at all to Judaism or to Christianity where these things we know that God had something to say about that.
You Get to Keep the Sabbath
Okay, so it’s not, do you have to keep the Sabbath? It’s, you get to keep the Sabbath. I personally am not one who says, “Oh, you’ve got to start sundown Friday and go to sundown Saturday.” I’m not one to say that if you mess up and you have to work or something that you’re going to go to hell.
But I am saying, thank God that He has given this wonderful gift to us, and so make sure you get a day of rest and relaxation. And if on top of that you can add something spiritual like some special time in the Word or with the LORD or serving somebody, that makes it even more of a blessing.
As long as you’re not doing the thing that you normally do your five or six other days of the week. There’s even, in my thoughts, and again you may disagree with me, but in my thoughts there are some forms of work that I could on the Sabbath that are so easy and so enjoyable that to me it’s really not work at all. It’s really just relaxation and playing as it were. But yet I’m actually accomplishing something and getting something done.
You Are Not Under the Law of Moses
Okay? So I hope I answered the question as best I can. You are not under the law of Moses. You’re under the law of Christ. And so read through the gospels. Anything Jesus said that His disciples should be doing you should be doing.
And now again the real strict Sabbath keepers will always say, “Well, Jesus kept the Sabbath.” Well, of course Jesus kept the Sabbath! He was ministering under the law of Moses.
So He started at sundown Friday and finished it on sundown Saturday. Sure He did. But can you find a verse in the gospels or can you find verses or a verse in the New Testament epistles that says, “Make sure you’re keeping the Sabbath as it is described in the law of Moses?” No you can’t.
Loving Those You Disagree With
All right. And I’ll say in closing, Sabbath keepers and non-Sabbath keepers (or less strict Sabbath keepers), whoever you are, the important thing is that we love each other.
And when people fight over these kinds of things it is a sad, sad commentary on our real spirituality. Okay? We need to honor each other, love each other, support each other and respect the convictions that others have that maybe we don’t share.
Because everyone’s trying to please the LORD as best as they understand what He wants of them. Okay? Thanks for joining me on this Little Lesson. God bless you.