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Defending the Faith

Friday, February 20, 2015

#16. The Sabbath Remains for the Christian - Part 11

Hebrews 10:23–25 — Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

We have looked at some of the Biblical evidence for a continuing Sabbath day for believers under the New Covenant.  We want to turn our attention now to other forms of evidence that imply there must be a day each week for the Christian to devote to the Lord.

First, we would point out that Christians are commanded to meet together for fellowship and above all for worship.  The passage above contains just one indication of this.  This was also the purpose of the Old Covenant Sabbath.  There was no doubt for Old Testament Israel what they were supposed to do and which day of the week was to be used for that purpose.

If indeed the Sabbath has been abolished under the New Covenant, then it would have to follow (despite a continuing command from God for His people to worship Him) that there is no direction from God as to when that should happen.  We are so used to Sunday being that day, that perhaps we forget this came about through the practice of those who believe there is a Sabbath for the New Covenant believer, and laws were created to allow for the worship of God on that day.

We are beginning to see a society which has abandoned God and His Sabbath, but suppose there had never been Sabbath observance under the New Covenant.  Suppose our counterparts in the early church understood (as some believe today) that the Sabbath is obsolete and Christians don't have to keep a day each week holy to the Lord.  What would our week look like today?  More importantly, when no single day is set apart for the worship of God's people, how would it ever be possible to call a congregation together to obey the command for corporate worship and fellowship that is contained in Scripture passages such as the one above?

So we may argue for a continuing Sabbath on purely practical grounds; it becomes much harder to obey the continuing command from God for His people to worship Him corporately when we nullify the command to keep a day set apart for that purpose. This starts to become a case where our obedience to one commandment (to worship God corporately as His people) begins to be undermined by our abandonment of another (to keep a day holy to the Lord).

We have one more observation that suggests a continuation of the Sabbath under the New Covenant.  Having then established that there is an obligation for God's people to set aside a day each week to Him, we will go on to see which day of the week that should be, and what we should be doing on that day.