Why Don’t Christians Keep the Sabbath?
Happy Shabbat to all my Jewish friends! My observation is for them it’s like Christmas every week but without the presents. It’s a really big deal to them, their families, and their communities. I can see why. As I read the Old Testament, it was a really big deal to God. So why Don’t Christians Keep the Sabbath? I’m reading Ezekiel right now. Chapter after chapter God rebukes His people for not keeping the Sabbath. It’s even one of the Ten Commandments – remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
So why don’t we Christians keep the Sabbath? I’m not talking about the sun up to sun down thing, or lighting candles, etc. and whether we should rest on Saturday or Sunday. That’s the “jot and tittle” stuff I don’t want to get into and is not the purpose of this conversation.
What About Us?
How should we Christians view the Sabbath and what do we teach our children about this? (You do plan to teach your children about this, right?)
I find it very interesting when the Jewish disciples had their big “hoopla” in Acts 15: 12-21 about whether or not the new Gentile converts should have to get circumcised in order to follow Christ, the conclusion was only that the only “rules” they should have to live by were that “they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”
Not one word was mentioned about keeping the Sabbath.
What is the “Rest”?
God rested when His work was done, and Jesus rested when His work was done. But the ancient Jews never enjoyed that rest, in the way that it’s available to us today. Hebrews 4:9-10 tells us: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.”
Colossians 2:16-17, should erase any doubt about the nature of the Sabbath: “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
From this we can see that the Sabbath clearly isn’t a day of the week. It’s neither Saturday nor Sunday! The Old Testament Sabbath was a “type and shadow” of things to come like the Tabernacle! We enter into the Sabbath rest when we stop “working” (we’re not saved by works) and that only happens when we accept that Jesus’ sacrifice was for each of us.
Do You Love Me?
But now, Christian, before you say to your friends who observe the Sabbath, “Yeah! So there!” Just in the natural there are some very good reasons to “take a day of rest.” In American society there is no day of rest. Some work 7 days a week. For some it’s their only day off to clean the house and go grocery shopping. But just from a human, practical standpoint, your spirit, soul, and body need a rest.
Also, go back to Acts 15:20; as a whole – a Christian culture- we’ve not done a very good job of what we were told to do “abstaining from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” So maybe we should really focus on the basics: “Do you love me? Then keep my commandments. Jesus.” (John 14:15)
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