Keeping the Sabbath

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.

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    BobbyB YoungNoel GoetzKshearesJason Recent comment authors
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    thomas
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    thomas

    How comes all 9 laws(commandments) are still put into practice till now while the 4th law being ended? no place where the bible abolished that commandment.
    why you said that these laws have being replaced by grace through Jesus while others still active? why the one to be abolished while the rest still in use?

    Jason
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    Jason

    Hi Thomas,Thank you for your comment.Let’s not confuse two issues: those that are timeless and that which is not. The law against murder is timeless—it has been since Creation: Cain was guilty of it. The Sabbath observance however was only introduced at the time of the Ten Commandments and was exclusively given to the Israelites.“Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spakest with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: and madest known unto them thy holy sabbath, and commandedst them precepts, statutes, and laws, by the hand of Moses thy… Read more »

    Ksheares
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    Ksheares

    I encourage all to let scripture be your guide and not mans opinion… The word of God cannot contradict itself. If there is a contradiction found one must attribute it to mans incorrect interpretation. Exodus 31:16 ESV Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant FOREVER. -God explained the Sabbath was to be observed FOREVER! So weather given before Moses or for the first time in the wilderness, forever means forever… If it was the intent of God to do away with it once the Messiah came, HE (not being… Read more »

    Bobby
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    Bobby

    To answer Noel’s query, there is not one law for the Jews and one law for the gentile believer:
    Lev 24:22 Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.

    Noel Goetz
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    Noel Goetz

    Exodus 31:16 “Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath.”- I take it people of Israel means the Jews. Therefore, if you are a Jew you should thereby keep the commandment. If you are not, then you are under no compulsion.

    B Young
    Editor

    Hi Noel, You are correct in your thinking. It was also re-stated in Ezekiel 20:19–20 as a reminder, “I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to obey my rules, and keep my Sabbaths holy that they may be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.” It was specifically to those in Israel, and of course their descendants who would be the Jews of today. However, it was introduced just days prior to the Law of Moses, which of course was done away with in… Read more »

    Bobby
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    Bobby

    Could you elaborate where in scripture G-d expunged non-observance of Shabbat.

    Robert Janko
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    Robert Janko

    “Im a Christian but i believe the Ten Commandments still abide. Iam writing this with nothing but loved but you forgot to quote the second part of hebrews 8 so u made it seem that the new covanent was going to be something completely different from the ten comandments but if you read hebrews 8:10 “”This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”” so this… Read more »

    Suday Kumar Rout
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    Suday Kumar Rout

    “It seems that Jesus Christ has been replaced with Paul (a self styled apostle). At the outset of His famous Sermon on the Mount Jesus tells “”Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or Prophets ; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfil (Matt.5:17).”” No weekly days has been mentioned in the Bible i.e. Sunday, Monday or Friday etc. Israelites were counting the days by observing the moon. Very simple commandment has been given by our Almighty Father God Through Moses that””Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day… Read more »

    Bobby
    Guest
    Bobby

    Exactly Suday. Sabbath was never a token numbered day, it simply means ‘a complete cessation of ceasing’. There was a Sabbatical year – the shmita, a rest to the land. To add to Mat 5;17, which I am sure you are completely aware many Christians believe that fulfill think that this equates to completion, hardly, the Greek G4137 πληρόω plēroō play-ro’-o From G4134; to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, Misunderstanding this integral element of the jig-saw puzzle will render most of Paul (shau’ul’s) writing and… Read more »