THE SABBATH DAY, ARE CHRISTIANS TO KEEP IT
Col 2:16 says, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:”
Exo. 20:11 “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
Exo. 16:23-26 “And he said unto them, This is that which the LORD hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the LORD: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.”
For a person to break the Sabbath since God made it a commandment and a part of the religious and national life of Israel, the death sentence was attached to the breaking of it. Numbers 15:32-35 says, “And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.”
The Sabbath is binding to everyone under the Law of Moses. But the Law was never for the Gentiles. It was only for Israel. No Gentile was ever stoned for picking up sticks on Saturday or even so much as criticized. Leviticus 27:34 says, “These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.”
Paul taught the church at Ephesus this same truth: Eph. 2:11-13 says, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
The Gentiles in the past are said to be “strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” This simply means they were not included in the covenants and promise to Israel. It did not mean they could not be saved. God saved and revived Nineveh. They were Gentiles and God sent the Jewish prophet Jonah to bring the message of repentance to them. But Paul adds, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” As you read chapter two of Ephesians, you will find that the middle wall of partition has been taken down that separated the Jew and Gentile. But it is not in the Jewish faith that it is taken down. It is in the Church. Eph. 2:16 says, “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”
So where does that leave the Church in relation to the Sabbath. If we are under the Law, we are obligated to keep the Sabbath. Colossians 2:14 says, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” The words “Blotting out” (exaleipho) means “to anoint or wash in every part; to obliterate, erase, wipe out, blot out.” It is an aorist active participle. The aorist tense means he did this (active voice) in a once for all act in the past (aorist tense). What did Jesus wash and obliterate, in every part? He says “the handwriting of ordinances.” The word “handwriting” (cheirographon) means “a hand written document.” The words “of ordinances” (dogma) mean “the rules and requirements of the law of Moses; carrying a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment.” This is what Jesus “washed and obliterated” by nailing them to His cross.
The Sabbath was a part of that dogma that was demanded upon penalty of death under the law. What would be the natural outcome of Jesus taking it out of the way by nailing it to His cross? Verse 16 is the answer: “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” We are simply not under the Law of Moses. The New Testament Church is under the Ruler and He has not commanded Sabbath keeping.
Now it has been the practice of the Church from the days of the Apostles until now to worship on Sunday because it is the day our Lord was raised from the dead. Acts 20:7 says, “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.” Then First Corinthians 16:2 says, “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
The book of Galatians was written to refute the heresy of some who were teaching that salvation was a mixture of law and grace. Galatians 3:1-3 says, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Luke 16:16 says, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” The Christian’s rule of faith and practice is the New Testament.
Is there a use for the Law today? Let Paul answer that: “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:8-10).
Saturday is not the day of worship because the Law has been removed as a matter of faith and practice. Let no man judge you with reference to “Sabbath days” Paul says.
Salvation is entering an eternal Sabbath. “For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world . . . For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” (Heb. 4:3, 10).
In closing let me say that Sunday is not the “Christian Sabbath.” It is the day set aside for worship. But when you call it a Sabbath day you cannot keep from confusing it with the Old Testament Sabbath. It is not a “stoning offense” to break “Sunday Worship,” if it were, there would not be enough Baptist left to have church.
May God bless each of you.