“For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” – Matthew 12:8
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When it comes to when we worship and what days we observe religiously, there are some who argue that Christians should keep the Sabbath. The main contention that they make is that remembering the Sabbath was part of the 10 Commandments and we still have to keep all the other 9 of the commandments. They argue that there are two parts to the law given by Moses – ceremonial and moral – and that Christ nailed the ceremonial law to the cross, not the moral law. Well, the New Testament does not make that distinction. Below are 5 reasons why Christians don’t have to keep the Sabbath.
- Christ did away with the law of Moses
He did away with the law, “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Nobody can be justified (or, made right with God) by the law (Romans 3:20). The law is what shows people they are in sin and leads us to Christ (Galatians 3:19, 24).
2. Christians are dead to the law of Moses.
Christians follow the law of Christ. But, what did the law of Moses include? Some say it wasn’t the 10 Commandments but the commandments about sacrifices, offerings, and the like. However, notice what James says: “For He who said, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘Do not murder.’ Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law” (James 2:13). The law that said not to commit murder or adultery is the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20: 13-14). The law was also the other instructions given by Moses to the children of Israel (1 Corinthians 9:9). That’s the law that we are dead to keep.
3. We are free from the old law.
Christians are not obligated to keep the Sabbath. In fact, the Bible is clear that if you seek to keep one part of the law, then you have to keep it all (Romans 2:23; Galatians 3:10). I don’t think any of today’s Sabbath keepers are also slaughtering bulls, calves, and goats for blood offerings and sacrifices to God. Why try to pull out one part to keep and not keep it all? Anyone who tries to be justified in following the law has fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).
Moreover, Paul explicitly states to the Colossian church that nobody should try to make others follow the sabbaths, festival days, or the eating of certain foods (Colossians 2:16). We shouldn’t subject ourselves to regulations that Christ hasn’t. Paul says that that’s the stuff of self-imposed religion and has no real value (Colossians 2:20-23).
4. We now find rest in Christ Jesus.
The sabbath that God instituted was for rest from works (Hebrews 4:4). There remains a rest for God’s people – the rest from sins that Christ offers (Hebrews 4:8-11). We are free from the law and don’t have to follow the 10 Commandments (Ephesians 2:14-16).
But, you may say that it’s still a sin to murder, to have idols before God, and to steal. Yes, that is true. We do not do those things, as Christians, because Christ instructed us not to do them. The New Testament repeats all the 10 Commandments (except for the 4th one: remember the Sabbath), for us to follow. Since we are under His will and testament, we do not steal, murder, covet, or do any of the other things that Christ has commanded us not to do. Refer to the chart above to see where all of the commandments that were given to Moses at Mount Sinai are repeated in the New Testament, with the exception of Sabbath-keeping (that’s why that section is blank).
5. Christians worship on the first day of the week.
Christians worship God collectively on Sunday, as the church of the New Testament did (Acts 20:7). The Sabbath is not Sunday. The first day of the week is also known as the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10).
Are you still seeking to follow the law? We can only be made right with God through our faith in Christ and not by the law. And faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Belief in Jesus requires us to act on it – to confess His name to others (Matthew 10:32), to repent of our sins (Acts 2:38), and to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 16:16).
Thank God we are no longer bound by the law.
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” – Colossians 2:16-17
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