Friday, March 18, 2011

The Sabbath Blessing - Part 2

In my previous post I began describing the wonderful blessings that flow from keeping the Sabbath. Presuming that the principle of setting apart one day in seven is a part of the moral law and a precept to be obeyed by the church, what should our attitude be regarding it?

The nature of Christian conversion involves the transformation of the heart of a sinner. He no longer hates God as his enemy but loves Him and desires to please Him with his life. He sees Jesus Christ as most precious and savors his relationship with Him, fleeing from anything that might hinder his pursuit of Christ. As I stated in my previous post, the Law of God, summarized in the Ten Commandments, is God's standard of obedience. The believer sees God's Law as the glorious reflection of God's holy character and seeks to conform his life to it. As a part of the New Covenant God has written His Law upon our hearts. "I will put my law within them, and on their heart I will write it" (Jeremiah 31:33). Among other things, this means our hearts have been changed with a disposition to love God's Law. His Law is no longer seen as a burden to us. The Apostle John wrote: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome" (1John 5:3). This is the nature of Evangelical Obedience. We obey God, not out of a slavish fear of His condemnation, but out of the shear joy of pleasing Him. We obey Him, not necessarily to receive anything from Him, but simply because Christ has captivated our hearts and we love to obey His Law.

The Blessing of Obedience
The love of God and His Law makes observing the Lord's Day a wonderful blessing. We don't see it as a burden to restrict us but a wonderful means of reflecting God's holiness. There are so many ways the Sabbath reflects God's holy character. It reflects God's sovereignty over time, as He has determined, "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work. . ." (Exodus 20:9-10). We joyously submit to His dominion. We can also see God reflected in the various dispensations of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was given at creation and so in the Sabbath we celebrate God as our Creator. The Sabbath was affirmed at Sinai as a part of the Moral Law so in the Sabbath we celebrate God as Law Giver. At the resurrection of Christ the Sabbath was again affirmed and the day was changed as we celebrate our great God as Covenant Keeper and Redeemer. Finally, as we look to our blessed hope in Christ and our final Sabbath's rest, we celebrate God's ultimate restoration of all things in Christ. Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ and our joyous expecatation and anticipation of the full accomplishment of our redemption.

Observing the Sabbath must never be seen as a burden but a glorious act of obedience as we celebrate all that God has done for us in Christ. And as we read in Isaiah 58:13-14, as we find delight in the Sabbath we find ever sweeter delight in God.

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