Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?

The short answer: Yes!

You know that one of my pet peeves for fellow Christians is the constant abuse of the Sabbath, or the Lord’s Day. For some reason, many think that the fourth commandment has been relegated to the back burner and is no longer a requirement for the Christian.

Or as the Dispensationalist will say, “the Sabbath is to be kept by the Jews only because the covenants were made only with the Jew.” This is a false understanding of the Law and the covenants made with God’s people. The first abuse of this is that the covenants were made with all of God’s people, since by our faith, we are in Christ, the true covenant keeper. He is true Israel, and by our union with Christ, we are made partakers of both the promises in the Old Testament and the New Testament as well.

Jesus did not come to remove the Law, or the covenants, but to fulfill them. This does not mean He abolishes the Law. The Christian is still bound to the Law for the purpose of our sanctification. I readily admit that we do not find favor by keeping the Decalogue with God. Our favor is found in Christ and His righteousness. But that does not remove the need for to strive and do what is pleasing to God.

We see the pattern of Sabbath rest in Genesis 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. The beauty of this verse being seen so early in Scripture is that the Sabbath rest applied to all men even though it was not yet codified the Ten Commandments. Keeping the Sabbath is a creation ordinance, not just a covenantal ordinance. it is meant as a blessing to all mankind.

Occasionally, I will convince someone that keeping the Sabbath (the First Day of the week in the Christian era), is honoring to God and the next question is: How? I think J.C. Ryle deals wonderfully with this in his commentary on Luke 14, where Jesus heals the man with dropsy.

Ryle writes:

“The qualification which our Lord here puts on the requirements of the fourth commandment is evidently founded on Scripture, reason, and common sense. The Sabbath was made for man,– for his benefit, not for his injury,– for his advantage, not for his hurt. The interpretation of God’s law respecting the Sabbath was never intended to be strained so far as to interfere with charity, kindness, and the real wants of human nature. All such interpretation only defeat their own end. They require that which fallen man cannot perform, and thus bring the whole commandment into disrepute. Our Lord saw this clearly, and labored throughout His ministry to restore this precious part of God’s law to its just position.”

You can see here that the Lord’s day truly does offer the believer a wonderful opportunity. Not only are we given the opportunity to worship our Lord, but we are also given the opportunity to serve others as Christ served us. One of the remarkable realities that came to light as I preached through Matthew 25:31-46 on the last judgment is that of the works of the sheep. They were not commended for doing great works for mankind, but for showing kindness and mercy towards His people. Many people talk about not having enough time to do these things, yet the Lord’s Day is that day which we can serve him by showing kindness to those in need. What a privilege we have in being God’s people and in giving us a day to serve Him, fulfilling the works that He has given us to do before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 2:10).

All this to say, the Lord’s Day/Sabbath is for the Christian. Let’s take it back and use it for His glory by serving those in need.

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7 thoughts on “Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?

  1. David,
    Calm down a bit and let’s not bring in the many reasons that Jews think believers are stupid. The Jews think Christians are stupid on lots of levels, but that is a spiritual problem they haven, not one we have.

    Secondly, the right day is the first day of the week, as the practice of observing the Lord’s Day was shifted after the resurrection, signifying the new creation that Christ and His resurrection brings. Just as the seventh day observance pointed back to God’s creation, a creation ordinance given before the Law, so too, does the observance of it point to the new creation that will come through Jesus Christ.

    Third, as for the ceremonial aspects of the Law, those were fulfilled in Christ and only pointed to Christ. Through the book of Hebrews we can see there is no longer a need for sacrifice, etc., since Jesus fulfills it and removes it. We are dealing with the moral aspects of the Law in keeping the Lord’s Day. The moral aspects still apply today and to all, regardless of the fact that God gave them to Israel, the nation. Remember, the Jews were meant to be a kingdom of priests leading the other nations into the blessings of God as well. Since they failed in doing this, the blessings have been given to others who will take it to the nations.

    Blessings and have a wonderful Lord’s day.

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    1. David,
      I think we are beyond a discussion at this point. Once you start telling me what my problem is, is the moment that the discussion ends. I’m trying to be polite, but you are attacking me and my beliefs. Unless you can back off a bit, and show some humility, this conversation will end.
      Blessings

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  2. I apparently have missed some of the conversation 🙂

    I agree that it is important to follow the commandment of keeping the Sabbath. I am curious of your thoughts on the following:

    When I worked as a traveling Nurse; I often would take shifts on Sundays. Generally, if a facility was asking for me it is because they did not have any of their own nurses available. My job was to take care of people, give them their meds, and be there in case of emergencies. I felt that Jesus took care of people and healed them on the Sabbath and I looked at my job as doing similar. If I did take a Sunday shift; I made sure that I had another day during the week to completely rest. Now that I am not working; my Sabbath is always Sunday but I don’t judge others who choose to take a different day as their Sabbath because of work or other things.

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    1. Hi Alysa,
      I think that is just fine. What you were doing falls under the category of “mercy” ministry, which IS to be done on the Lord’s day. This is why preachers can work on the Lord’s day. Our job is mercy as well and this is certainly what Christ was arguing for in His confrontations with the Pharisees over the Sabbath/Lord’s Day.

      BTW, the conversation below is one sided because I deleted the man’s post I was responding to. He felt I should treat him as the pope and bow to his opinions and remarks. I gave him an opportunity to show some humility, but he only condemned me further for disagreeing with him, and he got booted. 🙂

      One of the true marks of the believer is humility. All the Bible knowledge in the world is worthless if you have no humility.
      Blessings

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      1. Here is another thought for you.

        My step-mom considers herself a Messianic Jew. Her congregation observes the traditional Jewish Sabbath but some MJ congregations do worship on Sunday. She says that the Sunday Sabbath came about when Jews started following Jesus as Messiah and were being persecuted. Romans worshiped the Sun god on Sunday and it was easier for Jews to worship Jesus on Sunday and not get persecuted.

        A book I have on holidays says that early Christians were also Jews so it was natural for them to still worship on the traditional sabbath as well as on Sunday’s which became known as the Lord’s Day in reference to the resurrection.

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  3. Hi Alysa
    That is interesting. I’ve never heard that before. On the surface, I would say the early Christians were not being influenced by the culture in this regard. They were already so counter-cultural in that they were worshipping only One God. That, in itself, was a statement to the culture around them and it is part of what led to their persecution later on.

    As for the Messianic Jews keeping the Lord’s Day on Saturday, I’m OK with that as long as they keep it. I think the NT points to Sunday so I would differ with them on that. However I am glad that the keep it at all in the name of Christ!

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    1. I agree…I just like to get other opinions 🙂 My step-mom considered herself a Christian before she started going to a MJ congregation. She seems to be really happy with her choice to become a MJ. She is now studying Hebrew and loving it.

      I don’t really know a whole lot of church history (between the NT & now)… I would love to study it someday though.

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