Christian Sabbath?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by My Pilgrim Way, May 18, 2019.

  1. My Pilgrim Way

    My Pilgrim Way Puritan Board Freshman

    I am not anti-sabbath, but I have been pondering the term "Christian sabbath". I don't know if this has been addressed previously, but is this a correct term since God's moral law is binding on all men?

    I'd appreciate what others think of this.
     
  2. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    Christian, as in it is the first day of the week now, when -before Christ- it was the last day of the week. So it's not diminishing from the binding nature of the moral law upon all men for all time, but distinguishing it from the practice after the resurrection of Christ, as opposed to the practice from creation up to Christ. :2cents:
     
  3. My Pilgrim Way

    My Pilgrim Way Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for your response. I think I just assumed it was a way of validating there is still a day to be kept under the new covenant for believers for those who oppose it. Lord's Day = Christian sabbath
     
  4. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    I think -in some sense- it is that as well, but there is an equating of the Lord's Day with the Sabbath. One whole day in seven, set aside for the worship of God (along with works of mercy & necessity), and it is that "sabbatism" that "remaineth . . . therefore to the people of God," Heb. 4.9, which week by week points to that eternal rest. As an aside, here's a lovely quotation from William Bates on the rest (Works, Vol. 2, p. 508):

    The religious rest of the fourth commandment, is to be observed by Christians so far as it is requisite for attendance on the service of God. It is not only our duty, but our heavenly privilege, that being tired in the dust and toil of the world, we have a freedom, and are called to draw near to God, with the promise that “he will draw near to us,” that when we pay our homage, we shall receive infinite blessings: for then in the communion of saints we present our requests with a filial freedom to God, and we receive his precepts for the ordering our lives to please him: and by a temporal holy rest, are prepared for an eternal glorious rest.​
     
  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Westminster uses the term Christian Sabbath when explaining the change to the first day of the week. So the term has a long heritage. In context: "...was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath" (WCF 21.7).
     
  6. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

  7. My Pilgrim Way

    My Pilgrim Way Puritan Board Freshman

    I appreciate the responses and understand the change, etc.

    I guess my thinking was more along the lines of how NCT proponents don't hold to the 4th commandment because it was for the OT Jews and is not binding on Christians today. And, those who are not "Christian" would claim they don't have a moral responsibility because it is referred to as the Christian sabbath.

    I hope that clarifies my original question. Maybe I'm overthinking the term in light of how one would demonstrate it still applies to all of mankind.
     
  8. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    The 4th Commandment, itself, hearkens back to creation, explicitly making it a creation ordinance. There was punishment of violating the keeping holy of the sabbath day before the codification of it on Sinai, as well. The example par excellence referenced in Exodus 20 is God Himself. Hence, it follows, His creatures should follow that example. All men are God's creatures. All men are bound to keep holy one day in seven.
     
  9. My Pilgrim Way

    My Pilgrim Way Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, Amen!
     
  10. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Yes, maybe. I can see that.

    But also, maybe not. If we spoke of "Christian prayer" or "Christian worship," that might be taken to assume that prayer and worship are activities common to all sorts of people, and this is why we specify that we are speaking of the Christian way to do these things. In the same way, specifying "Christian Sabbath" could be taken to imply that sabbath is understood to be a widespread practice beyond Christianity.

    So I can see both possibilities. Using the phrase might imply sabbath is just for Christians, as you fear it will, but I think it also might imply that sabbath is widespread.

    Besides, I fail to see a lot of practical value in telling unbelievers that Sabbath-keeping is a moral imperative for them. Even if they accepted this and began worshipping on the Sabbath, it would only result in them breaking the third commandment by calling on God vainly. So with this commandment in particular, there is a sense in which being a Christian really does come first, and observance follows. The first four (or five) commandments need to be observed in conjunction with each other to be obeyed rightly, and for that reason too, "Christian Sabbath" feels just fine to me. An un-Christian sabbath observance is, in a sense, no true sabbath at all.
     
  11. My Pilgrim Way

    My Pilgrim Way Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't have any fear about it. My thoughts regarding the term "Christian sabbath" made me curious why it was referred to as that. I was probably overthinking it.

    As Christians, we are to worship in spirit and truth. I thank the Lord for His righteousness to cover my own sin.
     
  12. Aharown

    Aharown Inactive User

  13. Ben Chomp

    Ben Chomp Puritan Board Freshman

    All men and women are called to become Christians. So there is no problem with saying that the Christian Sabbath is binding on all people.
     
  14. Nomos

    Nomos Puritan Board Freshman

     
  15. My Pilgrim Way

    My Pilgrim Way Puritan Board Freshman

    Good point...thanks!
     
  16. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    God Himself tells us it is when he forbids work to "the stranger that is within your gate." That's why it's important for believers to not engage others to work for them on the Lord's day: "I'll get the nonbelievers to cook and clean up for me today so I don't have to."
     
  17. Jo_Was

    Jo_Was Puritan Board Freshman


    It's interesting you say that, because I find that more often than not it is not non-Christians who feel it is nonbinding to them, but it is instead Christians who treat the Christian Sabbath as theirs and theirs only, to the neglect of providing it for others.

    Me and a friend of mine were recently talking about the Lord's Day. She told me that before she was a Christian, one of her jobs in college was waitressing. And she distinctly remembers the crowd of church goers that would come in and they would often ask, "Why aren't you in church?" or themselves invite her to their church. And she would just be aghast, because the answer to that was clearly, "I can't because I'm waiting on you!" She is conscientious now about how she orders her affairs for the Lord's Day so that she doesn't return that burden to others.

    I have seen the sentiment echoed by many of my non-christian friends or acquaintances, especially those who work in the service industry. In our day, the Sabbath can often become a day for the well-off, or white collar, or middle-class when it is the common laborers, blue collar, who often have less ability to keep the Lord's Day and are often most affected. It's interesting to note who in particular the command is directed to--those in authority have an especially greater responsibility to uphold the day of rest, as they often determine the ability for others to keep the Lord's Day.

    I think it's something to think about as an area of witness.

    We have divorced the Sabbath from its grounding in creation, it was present before the law was even delivered to the people of Israel. Just like we see the identity and relationship of one man to one woman before the commandment on adultery, so too do we see the pattern of work with a day of rest in the creation. I think that's profound to think about. It's something that was grounded in the beginning, rooted in the work of Christ, and is something to look forward to in eternity as we get a foretaste of that fulfillment on earth through our weekly observance.
     
  18. My Pilgrim Way

    My Pilgrim Way Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes! This also came to my mind as well as the closing of the gates in Nehemiah 13.
     
  19. My Pilgrim Way

    My Pilgrim Way Puritan Board Freshman

    I appreciate your thoughts about the laborers of our day and would agree that it is often more difficult for them. I also believe that even our witness of being seen by our neighbors going to church is important.

    Obviously, the 4th commandment hearkens back to creation. God did not have to set time into days and weeks or months, years, but He did for good reason.
     

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