Thursday, October 13, 2005

If because of the sabbath: Is 58:13-14

If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, then you will take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 58:13-14)
I have often wondered about the role of the sabbath day in the life of a Christian. Some people believe that it is essential for Christians to keep the sabbath, while some are not that strict. Some believe that a Christian should celebrate the sabbath on Saturday, while others prefer Sunday. This scripture clearly promises a blessing on those who keep the sabbath. So, how does a Christian keep the sabbath?

Paul, in the Book of Hebrews clearly identifies that, under the old covenant, God set aside the seventh day and declared it holy. “For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: ‘and God rested on the seventh day from all His works.’” (Hebrews 4:4) For six days God worked and created the heavens and the earth. On the seventh day, He rested. God therefore declared the seventh day to be holy and a day of rest. God had rested and, on the seventh day of each week, He invited men to share in His rest. “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Geneses 2:3) God had given the Israelites a day of rest that they may rest from their labors just as God had rested from His labors. God had given a promise of rest, yet because of their unbelief, the children of Israel failed to enter into His rest. “For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘as I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter My rest,’ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3) The Israelites, living under the old covenant, were unable to enter into God’s rest. Therefore, when God established the new covenant, He once again made a promise of rest. “Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’” (Hebrews 4:6-7) What Paul is saying is that, under the new covenant, God has established a new day as the day of rest, and that day is “Today”.

For the Christian believer, their sabbath is “Today”. Each day we live with God by faith we are living in the sabbath rest of God. So what is a sabbath rest? “For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” (Hebrews 4:10) When Jesus died on the cross, He cried out, “It is finished!” On the cross, Jesus brought and end to the power of sin in our lives. He brought an end to the demands of the law in our life. He brought and end to our own labors to live righteously. When we enter into God’s sabbath rest, we cease from our own works. This is in essence what this scripture in Isaiah is saying. The true sabbath rest of God is when we turn from our own pleasures to receive the joy and blessings of the Lord, when we turn from our own ways to live according to the ways of God, and when we cease from speaking our own words and fill our mouths and ears with the word of God. It is time to cease from our own labors and by faith enter into the rest of God. “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Heb 4:9, 11)

David Robison

3 comments:

  1. Hi-
    I have been following your blog for some time now.
    Just wanted to let you know that it's
    enlightening, encouraging and a real blessing.

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  2. I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying my blog and thanks for the encouragement, it means a lot.

    David

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  3. Anonymous9:52 PM

    Dear Brother David:

    The Words on the Sabbath posting represent useful insights to the liberty that God has created for those in Christ.

    Religion says, "Obey the Laws, Worship at set times, perform ceremonial practices officiated by sanctioned intermediaries!" Faith says to God, "I have a desire now to obey you. I can't stop talking to you. You have paid the debt that I owed you, and I owe you everything."

    The Nature of Man is such that it is doomed to try to do something to draw God's favor. The Spirit of God that is given to Man through Faith gives Man the confidence to approach God with boldness - knowing that God has given His favor to Man through no human merit, but at the cost of the death of Jesus Christ.

    This is the rest that the Sabbath pictured! Now the restrictions to the demonstration of Faith have been removed. Faith is not based on where we worship (no more city/temple center), when we worship (no required holy days), or how we worship (no secret or restrictive rituals or middle men to bring us to God). Now worship is based on why we worship - out of gratitude and thanks for the gift of Salvation throught Jesus Christ.

    Now we have access to God by the one Mediator between God and Man - the Man Christ Jesus!

    Now God has removed all that stood between God and Man through the work of Jesus Christ. Now we are one with God by Faith in Christ and we are free to do the Good Works for which we were created.

    This is true Rest.

    BC
    in MN

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