Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Christian and the Sabbath

Another reflection on Christianity being a matter of the heart.

Whether the Sabbath is a binding command or not for new covenant
believers is much debated. My own view is that it is not, but that the
pattern is commended to us by way of creation, in the principle of the
law and the setting apart of Sunday by the apostles as "the day of the
Lord." This is consistent with the law now being written on the heart.
God's concern now is not that we take a day for him because we are
required to, but because we want to.

In the light of this it is ironic that Christians often cite the
abrogation of the Sabbath command as justification for treating Sunday
like any day. They are at liberty to do that. However, the question must
be asked: "Why would we want to treat it like any other day?" Surely we
would want to give every day to worshipping, reflecting on and enjoying
the Lord and his world. And so, if we possibly can, we would still
choose to a day as set apart for God to ensure that we take time out
from our busyness for him. Moreover, because the apostles sanctioned
Sunday "the day of the Lord" and it is the acknowledged day for worship,
there is a strong precedent for choosing this as our day.

To treat the freedom the gospel gives as a reason to ignore the
principles of God's law is the opposite of what is intended. Filled with
the Spirit, it is expected that we would seek a heartfelt obedience to
these principles.