Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Conclusion: Sabbath Principles and Practices (Cont.)

Sabbath Study, Part 39

The first half of our conclusion to this Sabbath study (see the previous post) detailed the first three “Sabbath principles.” Here are the final four.

Fourth, the weekly Sabbath has changed from Saturday to Sunday. Within the realm of orthodox Christianity, this is almost universally acknowledged. Christ’s death and resurrection inaugurated a new era of Sabbath application. There are some who argue that the Christian Sabbath is on Saturday. I have not found these arguments to be convincing—or, in the long run, Scripturally credible.

Fifth, the weekly rest should, in at least a general sense, look different from the other six days of the week. We do ourselves a disservice to call Sunday a day of rest while treating it like any other day. In a more specific sense, the weekly rest should involve both corporate and private worship; it is a “holy convocation” (i.e., a large, formal assembly), as well as something to be observed “in all your dwellings” (see Lev. 23:3).

Sixth, it takes work to enjoy a weekly rest. Hebrews 4:11 (KJV) says, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” As paradoxical as it may sound, true soul-rest takes work. Obedience to any of God’s commands is an act of faith, and faith is far from a cakewalk. It is, in fact, a fight (1 Tim. 6:12). The remnants of our sinful nature will battle us every step of the way, and we will need to fight back in order to slow down enough to truly enjoy a rest from our weekly toils. Part of this fight of faith involves what we discussed in the first principle: viewing a Sabbath rest as truly beneficial. Another part of this fight involves a sufficient preparation on the evening beforehand (i.e., not always staying up late on Saturday night). If we prepare our minds and our hearts for the coming Sabbath, we can glean more benefit from it.

Seventh, the weekly rest is designed to point New Testament believers to the eternal rest we will enjoy with God in Heaven. Charles Spurgeon said, “To be with God is to rest in the most emphatic sense.” (Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, 332). Whatever would help us grow in having an eternal perspective would be a worthy Sunday pursuit. After all, if we want to prepare to be with God for all eternity, why not start by learning to rest in Him now?

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In the next (and last) entry in this blog series, my wife will share her personal “Sabbath testimony,” which I think will aid us in applying the Fourth Commandment to our own lives.

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