Biblebell's Mailbag --
Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?

In a message to Biblebell, GC asked the following question...
If God gave us the day of rest being Saturday why do so many people go to church on Sunday, which was founded by the emperor of Rome Constantine in 321?

There is no verse in the Bible that made this change, so I came to the conclusion that we are following an old tradition or custom which the Bible tells us to watch out for.

Please give me your opinion on this matter. Thank you and God bless.

The purpose of this study is to answer GC's question as to whether Christians should keep the Sabbath.

  • "Sabbath" refers to the 7th day of the week -- Saturday.
  • The 10 commandments are quoted in the panel alongside. The 4th commandment deals with the Sabbath.
  • To read an overall discussion of the 10 Commandments, Click Here. [When you're done, use your browser's Back Button to return to the page you are now reading.]

The 10 Commandments of God

  • 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
  • 2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  • 3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  • 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  • 5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
  • 6. Thou shalt not kill.
  • 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  • 8. Thou shalt not steal.
  • 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
  • 10. Thou shalt not covet.

Summarized from Ex 20.1-17

Bible Study of The Sabbath
The full text of the Sabbath Commandment is quoted alongside.
  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. Ex 20.8-10

In Exodus 20.11, God states the basis for honoring the Sabbath. Namely...

  • When God created the universe and all life [Genesis chapters 1 and 2] He completed His work in six days.
  For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Ex 20.11
  • AND THEN... on the 7th day God rested.
  • Moreover, God blessed the 7th day and *sanctified it* [declared it to be holy].
  Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Gen 2.1-3

The book of Exodus relates that...

  • The people of Israel were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years.
  • God sent Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, and into the Promised Land [Canaan].
  • En route to Canaan, the people were led to Mount Sinai where God decreed the 10 Commandments.
  • Shortly before the people entered Canaan, Deuteronomy chapter 5 records that Moses reiterated God's commandments.
  • The verse quoted alongside records what Moses told Israel about observing the Sabbath. Namely, Moses said that the Sabbath should be obeyed as a means of worshipping and honoring God, who set them free from slavery.
  And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. Deu 5.15
Now some Christians might say that the Sabbath Law was given to Israel. NOT to us!

However, First Corinthians 10.1-12 raises a red flag. Namely, it puts us on notice that what happened to Israel is recorded in God's Bible, not merely as Jewish history, but as **examples* for OUR admonition!
  Now all these things happened to them [the people of Israel] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor 10.11-12
Some might say that keeping the Sabbath is a *legalistic requirement*.

After all, Christians are under grace and NOT law, right? Right!
  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom 6.14

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Gal 3.24-25
However, does the fact that you are *not under law* mean that you have a license to sin?

Certainly not!!!
  What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Rom 6.15
The fact that you are not under law does NOT mean that you are not to obey God.

Rather, you are still enjoined to obey God -- not in order to become saved, but because you ARE saved.

Namely, obedience is an expression of your
love of God, and your gratitude that He saved you from sin's death penalty.
  [Jesus said...] He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. ...If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. John 14.21, 14.23

If obeying God's laws expresses your love, shouldn't that include keeping the Sabbath?

To answer that question, we must first get a better handle on the *What & Why* of God's laws...

  • God designed your mind and body such that you absolutely NEED to rest every week.
  • Accordingly, in Mark 2.27, Jesus makes the point that God decreed the Sabbath for YOUR sake, not for His.
  • You might say that God's laws are like telling a child, "Don't play in the street" or "Don't put your hand on the hot oven."
  • God's laws are not a fence to keep you IN, but a fortress to keep sin and eternal death OUT.
  [Jesus said...] The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
Mk 2.27

Ergo, the main reasons for a Christian to honor the Sabbath are [in my OPINION]...

  • To express our love and gratitude to God
  • To recognize that God's commandments are an expression of His nurturing love toward us.
  • To point us to Lord Jesus, who is the TRUE REST from all our works, as expressed by the verses alongside.
  There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
Heb 4.9-10

Many Christians have concluded that the first day of the week [Sunday] is the appropriate one-day-in-seven for worship and rest because...

  • Jesus was raised from tomb on the first day of the week.
  Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb... [The angel told them...] "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." Mt 28.1, 28.6
  • Jesus was raised from the dead for your justification.
  • Thus, Jesus IS your rest -- your *Sabbath*
  [Jesus] ...was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Rom 4.25

For he who has
entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Heb 4.10
  • After His resurrection, Jesus presented Himself to the His disciples on the first day of the week.
  Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." John 20.19

Beginning back in New Testament times, Christians have recognized the first day of the week as "the Lord's Day." Accordingly...

  • Sunday was the day on which the Lord's disciples gathered to break bread and have fellowship.
  • Sunday was the day when assemblies of believers gathered to worship and give unto God.
  I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet Rev 1.10

Now on the
first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. Acts 20.7

On the
first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. 1 Cor 16.2

If you agree that you should honor the Sabbath, the question then becomes *on WHICH day* --

  • If you choose to honor the Sabbath on Sunday, as an act of love in remembrance of the Lord's Day whereon He was resurrected, then Amen!
  • If you choose to keep the Sabbath on Saturday, as an act of love in remembrance that the 7th day of the week is the very day that was blessed and sanctified by God, then Amen!
  One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. Rom 14.5-6a

If someone decides to keep a Saturday Sabbath, it should be noted...

  • Exodus 20.8-10 requires the Sabbath to be holy unto God; a day of doing no work. Ergo, keeping a Saturday Sabbath does NOT mandate attending worship services on Saturday.
  • Conversely, keeping a Saturday sabbath would NOT exempt a Christian from obedience to God's command to assemble with other believers for worship services -- whether on Sunday or some other day.
  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work... Ex 20.8-10a

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Heb 10.24-25

Bottom Line
I have laid before you many important verses to help you decide about honoring the Sabbath. Nevertheless, the decision must be between you and God. To help you in this effort...

  • You have God's Bible.
  • You have God's Holy Spirit.
  • You have an ever-open channel of prayer to a Father who just LOVES it when you seek His will and guidance.

As you seek God's will on this matter, be mindful of what the verses alongside are telling you. Namely...

  • With God, it isn't so much what you do, but WHY you do it.
  • Anything that you do in God's name, and for His pleasure, should have its source in your deepest love and undoubting faith.
  The LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Sam 16.17

Although I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and
though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 1 Cor 13.2-3

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it,
to him it is sin. James 4.17
  • Obeying the Sabbath [or any other law] earns you ZERO points in terms of *righteousness*. Why? Because your righteousness is already perfect, and every last bit of it resides in Jesus and what He did. NOT in you and what you do.
  • You obey God to express your love.
  • You obey God because you ARE saved, not in order to become saved.
  In His [the Messiah's] days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely. Now this is His name by which He will be called: The-LORD-our-righteousness. Jer 23.6 are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God -- and righteousness and sanctification and redemption -- that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the LORD."
1 Cor 1.30-31

One person esteems one day above another.
Another esteems every day alike.
Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.
Romans 14.5


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