I am bemused by a common argument used against the observance of Sabbath; that is that ” Jesus is now my Sabbath rest” because this or that one has ceased from his own works. The insinuation is that those who do observe the Sabbath as a day of rest according to the commandment, have not ceased from their own works.
My question is this, though it seems obvious to me: how can anyone observe the day as a Sabbath, without ceasing from his/her own works?
As a corollary to this, can we observe any commandment without ceasing from our own works? Does not death to self and the infilling of the Holy Spirit create in us the image of Christ? Is this not called sanctification? And because we are transformed into the image of Christ, would it also not be in conformity to the law that Christ wrote on the tables of stone, and which He now writes on the tables of our hearts? We can’t accomplish this without surrender ; without ceasing from our own works. Sanctification is simply that. The changing of the life through the grace and power of God to make it conformable to God’s standards of righteousness. And Ezekiel tells us that by being willing to observe the Sabbath, the day, we are acknowledging that it is God Who is doing the sanctifying, and not we ourselves. (Ezek. 20:12) So by keeping the Sabbath, it is actually a sign we have indeed ceased from our own works, and trusting in Christ’s working in us His righteousness.
2Co 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Further to this, no Christian I know of whatever denomination, would suggest that because Jesus fulfilled the law, it is now legitimate for Christians to commit murder, because they are no longer under the law. That would surely be quite preposterous. Yet we constantly witness claims by many that because we are not under the law, we are no longer obliged to honor it. This is so incredibly inconsistent. The reason I am not under the law is not because the law has been done away with, but because the blood of Jesus has released me from it’s condemnation. That however does not release me from it’s power to convict me again of sin should I choose to disobey it.
This also applies to the 4th commandment. Just because Jesus fulfilled the law by keeping the Sabbath, , (that is He kept the law, obeyed it and thus magnified the law making it honorable) that does not release me from my obligation to keep the Sabbath, magnifying it and making it honorable. (See Isaiah 58:13,14.) If obligation makes anyone feel uncomfortable, sorry, but I would use that same word for every one of the ten commandments. We are obliged to love our neighbor and thus not commit adultery, not covet, not steal, not get angry and kill, and respect and honor our parents. We are also obliged to love God by confessing Him as the One and Only true God, Maker of heaven and earth, and all things therein. Because He is our Creator, He has sole rights to our worship, our fidelity and service. That is why we shun idols. It is also why we would not dare to use His name disrespectfully. It is also why we choose to honor that day which recognises Him as our Creator, and brings to our remembrance why He deserves our worship, and why the whole law and our keeping it is a recognition of His authority in our lives.
To my mind the only arguments against the observance of Sabbath are ones of subjective interpretation, an example of which is the aforementioned “Jesus is my Sabbath rest” argument. There is simply no scripture anywhere in the Bible suggesting that by accepting the rest that Christ offers us through the blood of His cross, and the forgiveness of sins, replaces the Sabbath commandment. By placing such an interpretation on scripture, by reading into scripture such an understanding where no clear instruction exists, we are adding to the word of God and we are placing our own authority above God’s.