What is the Sabbath? The New Testament Sabbath is God inviting us to set aside time with Him because we love Him. Looking to the days ahead as we dig into the Scriptures, let me just share my conclusions with you.
The Sabbath is not a day we observe, but an attitude that flows from a relationship. It has nothing to do with shopping, traveling, or activities; and everything to do with knowing God, longing for His Word, and delighting in His His Presence.
Our time investments as New Testament believers should show a conscious move away from the endless time invested in work for physical profit, and growing choices for regular time invested in knowing God better each day.
Sabbath observance becomes a daily lifestyle of enjoying moments of resting in Christ. Any temporary daily cessation from work is primarily to open time for reflecting our desires for intimacy with our Savior and Creator. We don’t live to work every moment, we live to know Christ and work hard to fulfill our Biblical responsibilities in life.
The New Testament teaches that all the Old Testament rules regulating Sabbath Day’s behavior were part of the ceremonial law that God gave to Israel. The moral law is repeated in the New Testament and is binding upon all believers of all ages, but the ceremonial law is not repeated in the New Testament and is not binding upon New Testament believers.
The system of sacrifices, the system of a Levitical priesthood, and all the elements of the ceremonial law system including Sabbath Day behavior passed away when Christ came to bring the New Covenant.
Sabbath observance was not stated anywhere in the creation account in Genesis 1-2. But, in Exodus, Ezekiel, and Nehemiah the Sabbath Day is stated to be a sign to Israel, not to the Church.
In the Epistles Paul explicitly says that the Old Testament ceremonies were shadows of Christ that are past, now that He has come (Gal. 4:10-11; Col. 2:16-17). When Paul wrote about sins to avoid, he never stated sins of not observing the Sabbath, rather he stated the opposite. Paul says beware of Sabbath observance that leads to bondage.
So the Sabbath Day has blessings, but an unbiblical observance leads to bondage. That is what we will see in the days ahead. God wants us to understand the Sabbath rest He has given both in salvation and in our rhythms of life.
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