The Sabbath

My Aunt asked some questions on Facebook about why Christians worship on the first day of the week (Sunday) instead of the last day of the week (Saturday) like the Jews were instructed in the old testament. I thought of some things in response, but this got too long for Facebook, so thought I’d post it here.

There are various reasons I have heard: We celebrate Christ’s resurrection, which happened on a Sunday. We are freed from the law and are under grace through Christ (Rom 6:14-15). “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” Mark 2:27 – because obviously God the all powerful was not tired and in need of rest after creating. Early Christians met together on Sundays (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2).

I also think the differences and arguments amongst Christians about nitpicky, legalistic things like which day we worship, whether we have wine or grape juice for communion, whether we baptize infants or not, whether we sing with a piano, guitar, drums, or only a cappella, whether we sing hymns or only psalms, whether we allow children to take communion, how often we worship together in a week, and on and on and on are a huge distraction from the gospel.

Romans 14 is a bit long, but it all seemed applicable. This is from the ESV, I took the verse numbers out to avoid distraction, and highlighted a few setences.

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

I’m not saying those things I listed above are totally inconsequential and unimportant and shouldn’t be thought about. We SHOULD study the Bible to understand what we should do in every aspect of our lives and worship. I just see Christ spending a lot more time talking to, healing, eating with, showing love to, and suffering for sinners than He spent duking out the details of the law with Pharisees. And when He was, here’s what He said.

Mattew 22:34-40 (ESV):

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

So maybe we should spend more time worrying about how we show love to to our great God and to our neighbors (whether they be just like us, or obnoxious, or stinky, or overly nosy, or non-christian, or Mormon, or Muslim, or gay, or…) and less time being so introspective.


1 Response to “The Sabbath”

  1. 1 Peter Smith January 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    That’s way too sensible.

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