by Matt Slick
Exodus 20:8; 23:12; 31:15; Deuteronomy 5:12; Leviticus 26:2 and Romans 14:5; Colossians 2:16
- Keep the Sabbath
- (Exodus 20:8-9) - "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 "Six days you shall labor and do all your work,"
- (Exodus 23:12) - "Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor in order that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves."
- (Exodus 31:15) - "For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death."
- (Deuteronomy 5:12) - "Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you."
- (Leviticus 26:2) - "You shall keep My sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the Lord."
- Don't keep the Sabbath
- (Romans 14:5) - "One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind."
- (Colossians 2:16) - "Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day."
It was the custom of the Jews to come together on the Sabbath, which is Saturday, cease work, and worship God. Of the 10 commandments listed in Exodus 20:1-17, only nine of them were reinstituted in the New Testament. (Six in Matthew 19:18, murder, adultery, stealing, false witness, honor parents, and worshiping God; Romans 13:9, coveting. Worshiping God properly covers the first three commandments). The one that was not reaffirmed was the one about the Sabbath. Instead, Jesus said that He is the Lord of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8).
In creation God rested on the seventh day. But, since God is all-powerful, He doesn’t get tired. He doesn’t need to take a break and rest. So, why does it say that He rested? The reason is simple: Mark 2:27 says, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." In other words, God established the Sabbath as a rest for His people--not because He needed a break but because we are mortal and need a time of rest--of focus on God. In this, our spirits and bodies are both renewed.
The O.T. system of Law required keeping the Sabbath as part of the overall moral, legal, and sacrificial system by which the Jewish people satisfied God’s requirements for behavior, government, and forgiveness of sins. The Sabbath was part of the Law in that sense. In order to "remain" in favor with God, you had to also keep the Sabbath. If it was not kept, then the person was in sin and would often be punished (Ezekiel 18:4; Rom. 6:23; Deut. 13:1-9; Num. 35:31; Lev. 20:2, etc.).
But with Jesus’ atonement, and justification by faith (Rom. 5:1), we no longer are required to keep the Law and hence the Sabbath which was only a shadow of things to come (Col. 2:16-17). We are not under Law but grace (Rom. 6:14-15). The Sabbath is fulfilled in Jesus because in Him we have rest (Matt. 11:28). We are not under obligation to keep the Law, and this goes for the Sabbath as well.