Freedom in Christ.
The freedom we enjoy in Christ allows us to worship God on any day of the week. The sabbath still remains as a Saturday, but it is no longer observed as under the Law. We wait for the true sabbath to come, that great time when we will enter ‘into the rest’. For the true believer in Christ each day is ‘separated’ unto God as a holy day. The first day of the week (Sunday) perhaps especially so, in the commemoration of Jesus rising from the dead to an eternal life as our mediator.
Recall again those words of Paul:
“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Galatians 5:2-4
One cannot justify one’s self by one’s compliance with the Law, for in doing this one aligns ones’ self with exactly the condition that Paul was fearing amongst the Galatians. By justifying ones’ self by the Law as sabbath observers proudly do, renders Jesus Christ of no effect. Not my words, but Paul’s!
It is a very serious situation in which sabbath-keepers place themselves. I would implore anyone in such a position to read the Scriptures as the Bereans did, without preconceived bias, and see the true freedom that Christ has brought. Let us recognise the true Jesus, the Bible Jesus, the Jesus who came to fulfil the sabbath.
“Let us labour therefore to enter that rest…” Hebrews 4:11
Paul and the sabbath.
A point often expressed by today’s sabbath-believers is that if Paul was insistent that the sabbath was no longer binding on the Christian believer, why then was he visiting the synagogues on the sabbath?’ Not because he was observing the sabbath, but by doing so he was able to gather the attention of those he was trying to save. Jesus Christ did exactly the same thing. As Paul wrote to the Romans,
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” Romans 10:2
No wonder, then, that Paul went to the synagogue on the sabbath! Yes, Paul did preach (not worship) on the sabbath to Jews.
“And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath and persuaded Jews and Greeks.” Acts 18:4
But when the Jews opposed him, that practice ceased.
“And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles. And he departed thence …” Acts 18:6,7
That was his last recorded contact with the Jews on a sabbath; the sabbath was not mentioned again (except for Colossians 2:16). The Jews were so strongly entrenched in their own interpretation of Scripture that Paul gave up his effort.
Sunday as the sabbath?
Let us revisit this important aspect. It is claimed by many who insist on keeping a sabbath (Saturday) observance, that the replacement of the sabbath day by Sunday is “Christianity’s greatest deception”. It is claimed that men in various ecclesiastical councils had no authority to change the sabbath to a Sunday. The change is generally attributed either to Constantine or to the Roman Catholic organisation.
But the Bible knows of no such change. The sabbath of the Bible in every case recognised the seventh day of the week as being that day. However, the followers of Christ recognised the first day of the week as being the appropriate day for their assembly for worship and ‘breaking of bread’. This was indicated in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit to the disciples on the day of Pentecost.
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.” Acts 2:1-3
Pentecost was the 50th day after the sabbath of the Passover week, and was therefore the first day of the week, Sunday. A new day for worship had been established! Subsequent practice of the disciples confirmed this.
“And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:6,7
Paul’s stay at Troas was for seven days, so it must have included a sabbath, but the disciples waited until the next day to ‘break bread’. The sabbath remained as Saturday, and it still does remain as Saturday. But it no longer carries the ritual obligations of the Law, for this was done away in Christ.
- 1. The first Sabbath
- 2. Covernant with Israel, Resting, A New Experience
- 3. The Covernant, Correct Context, Was the Sabbath Shifted?
- 4. Why Change the Day, A Fading Law
- 5. Holy Days, Cermonial and Moral Law
- 6. Keeping the Sabbath, Giving up the Law
- 7. A Pedegogue, Fulfilment of the Law
- 8. Freedom in Christ, Paul and the Sabbath, Sunday as the Sabbath?