Should Christians Keep the Sabbath?

Question from a Site Viewer
If Jesus came to fulfill the law and obey all of it, why do we Christians fail to keep the commandment of obseversing the Sabbath? From Genesis to Revelation we are told to keep the Sabbath holy.

Tim’s Answer
First, you are not correct when you say that from Genesis to Revelation we are told to keep the Sabbath holy. Not once in the New Testament is this statement made. In fact, the Sabbath is never mentioned after Acts 18:4 except for Paul stating at Colossians 2:16 that we should not allow ourselves to be judged according to Sabbath days and except for Hebrews 4:9 “Sabbath rest,” if that word is taken to refer to the Jewish Sabbath (I note that there are different ways this passage is interpreted). Outside of Colossians and the possible exception of Hebrews 4:9, there are no direct references to the Sabbath in any of the Pauline, Petrine, Johannine, or General Epistles. There are nine references to the Sabbath in the book of Acts, and none of them give any instruction about keeping the Sabbath (Acts 1:12; 13:14, 42, 44; 15:21; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4; 20:7 (this is actually a reference to Sunday, the first day of the Sabbath). Most of these are simply accounts of the word of Christ being proclaimed in the synagogues on the Sabbath Day. In the gospels, Jesus never tells his disciples or us to keep the Sabbath; and, in fact, many of the references to the Sabbath are in relation to Jesus being accused of not keeping the Sabbath. You may look at all of the references to the Sabbath Day in the gospels if you look at the following passages (Matthew 12:1-12; 24:20; 28:1; Mark 1:21; 2:23-28; 3:2-4; 6:2; 16:1-9; Luke 4:16, 31; 6:1-9; 13:10-16; 14:1-5; 18:12; 23:54-56; 24:1; John 5:9-18; 7:22-23; 9:14-16; 19:31; 20:1, 19). Please read them and see if Jesus taught us to keep the Sabbath. Jesus never even mentions the Sabbath in the Sermon on the Mount or in the Upper Room Discourse, Christ’s great discourses beginning and ending His ministry on this earth. I think that you will find that never in the New Testament are we taught to keep the Sabbath. That teaching is solely comes from the Old Testament and is linked solely to the God’s covenant with Israel.

I explain this in some detail in an article you may find here. I wrote the article in response to some good Seventh Day Adventist friends who wanted to know why I did not believe that keeping the Sabbath Day was necessary.

As demonstrated in the above article, from the earliest days of the church, the believers did not believe that keeping the Sabbath was what the apostles or Christ taught. I think they were right, according to Scripture, and stand firmly in their tradition.

Yet, I will not judge you if you think otherwise. I think the Apostle Paul makes it clear in Romans 14:5-6 and Colossians 2:16 that we should not judge one another on the basis of whether we keep, or do not keep the Sabbath. I will never try to persuade you not to keep the Sabbath, if you think that you should. I believe that this is an issue that is between the individual and God.

As with many of these things, the danger is to focus on issues that may divide and not on Christ. While sound doctrine is important, it should never substitute for a personal, deep and abiding relationship with the Son. As Paul states, knowledge puffs up but love edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1). Love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10).

May the Lord Jesus guide you always more deeply in Him and may you serve Him well throughout your life.

tim

Related Articles:
Why I Do Not Place Myself Under the Sabbath

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