Keeping the Sabbath and Going to Restaurants

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Blue Tick, Nov 1, 2006.

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  1. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    If the Sabbath were not God's moral ordinance, then why did Jesus spend more time correcting the Pharisaical abuse of the Sabbath, more time correcting people's ideas and use of the 4th commandment than any other single commandment? He sure devoted a significant amount of his recorded teaching to addressing this commandment.

    If any wish to dismiss all that instruction, by asserting that the 4th is mere ceremony; if any wish to "dispensationalize" this aspect of Jesus moral instruction, at least face up to the reality. The argument for the moral requirement, particularly in the NT context, the proper use and purpose for the Day rests largely on the teaching of Jesus! It is a strong, exegetical argument.
  2. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Bruce, I wonder why the council in Jerusalem (Acts 15) did not find it necessary to instruct the Gentiles to observe the Law. The council did command them not to eat meat strangled with blood because this was offensive to Jewish believers within the church. Acts 15 would have been a perfect opportunity for the Apostles to command the Gentiles on issues like the Sabbath.

    Also, back a few chapters in Acts 10. While Peter's vision had more to do with the inclusion of the Gentiles then it did with having unclean foods becoming clean, the imagery cannot be ignored. On the surface it seems that the Lord was changing part of the dietary law. Why and what implication does this have on the observance of the Law in the N.T.?
  3. rjlynam

    rjlynam Puritan Board Sophomore

    Could it be that the Mosaic Law was still considered unaltered? Seems to me that the Levitical Law was being dispensed with, ie. fulfilled in Christ, the perfect sacrifice.
  4. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah...I've wondered about that too. If the Law was fulfilled in Christ, does that mean it still needs to be observed? Can that fulfillment be the conclusion of the Law?
  5. rjlynam

    rjlynam Puritan Board Sophomore

    The Levitical Law was fulfilled in Christ, the perfect sacrifice. The whole point of the Levitical Law was that we cannot approach God; there needs to be a sacrifice.

    The Mosaic Law, on the other hand, was not set aside by Christ having kept it perfectly. I would suggest that if one of the 10 commands was set aside (the Sabbath), then there would have been much more teaching as to why, etc.

    The fact that there is no treatment of the Mosaic Law changing indicates that it hasn't changed. I find it hard to imagine that the practice of observing the Sabbath, engrained in every adhering Jew, had been set aside with no discourse.
  6. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Matt, I'm not sure I would use the word "strange." These are issues that I have battled on and off with for years. I don't come from a Reformed background so I was never really troubled with these passages. Because of the Reformed influence in my life over the past couple of years I have had to revisit much of what I believe.

    Matthew 5:17,18 reads: Matthew 5:17-18 17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the (a)Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 "For truly I say to you, a)until heaven and earth pass away, not (1)the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished."

    When Jesus used the word "fulfill", what was He saying? I can't get a Greek font to work in here but the word pleroo can mean to complete something that was started before. That is what I am trying to determine. Was the Law completed in Christ? We know it was fulfilled, but was it completed?

    Matthew 5:20 20 "For I say to you that unless your (a)righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

    We know that no one is justified by the works of the flesh or the keeping of the Law. If the Pharisees righteousness righteousness failed, how much more so the rank-in-file Jew of the day? By comparison, how about us? How is our righteousness going to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees? Well we know why, it surpasses because of Christ. Our righteousness is actually Christ's righteousness, hence the surpassing of the righteousness of the Pharisees. My point? Could this make the Law superfluous since Christ not only fulfilled it but completed it? I don't know, I'm just asking. I'm still trying to sort this stuff out.

    I'm still waiting on an answer to the Acts 15 question I raised to Bruce.
  7. rjlynam

    rjlynam Puritan Board Sophomore


    Out of curiosity, do you see a difference between the Mosaic Law and the Levitical Laws?

    Just trying to get an idea of where you're at when you cite "The Law".
  8. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Sorry to interrupt the conversation, but why do so many people call Sunday "Lord's Day" ????

    I guess it is in Rev. 1:10, but isn't the command from Exodus 20 rooted in creation (as a creation ordinance):

    "8"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
  9. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi Matthew,
    Vendors are making a choice (just as I am) on how to spend the Lord's Day. I'm not making him open his store. He shouldn't make me go to church. Some Christians are very meticulous, some are less so; let each serve his Master as he sees fit.

    Six days we are occupied in providing food and shelter. That is, we are in our occupations. The seventh day we abstain from our occupations for worship. If we go much beyond that we are writing law.

    How does one keep the Lord's Day holy? ....hear the law and the gospel in the scripture and confessions and then be convinced through prayer and meditation.

    For me, I gradually learned the futility of prohibiting all kinds of things on Sunday. It's somewhat ironic that the day of resting from all our self-righteousness would turn into a quagmire of ethical controversy!:cheers:
  10. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    I would decide for instance, not to water the lawn. It was only a matter of months before I simply HAD to water the lawn on a Sunday.
    Amen. That's exactly what I meant. I wonder if the Lord gave us leeway on how to perform the commandment in order to teach us about our nature in relation to law- even law of our own making!
  11. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I adhere to the tripartate division of the Law, as explicated in the WCF, viz. moral, ceremonial, and civil. The moral aspect of the law is foundational to the rest. It is summarized in the 10 Commandments. It is not original with Moses or the constitution of the nation of Israel at Sinai as a covenanted people, but is written codification of the moral constitution embeded in man's nature, and broken by the Fall. Both the ceremonial and civil directions found in the law are altered in significant ways by the passing of the Old Covenant age, and the coming of the New.

    Certain factions in the early church were attempting to keep Christianity within the orbit of Judaism. They were insisting that the Gentiles must become Jewish to be good Christians. In particular, they needed circumcision, and the rest of the separation laws (diet, dress, etc.) of the Law. This, in particular, is what the council rejects, and declares them free and unconstrained from those ceremonies. Peter reminds them that God did by Peter open the door to the Gentiles, and put them on equal footing with the Jews. The vision he received did eliminate the clean/unclean distinction (although it was actually Jesus who did that, Mk. 7:19).

    Verse 21 of Acts 15 speaks of the widespread preaching of Moses "in every city" of the nations. While it may not be immediately apparent at that place, this directly addresses the matter of morals. We know from biblical and extra-biblical sources that it was the moral rigor of Moses' Law that was attractive to so many of the "God-fearers" or "devout" (those who hung at the edge of Judaism, but had not joined that faith). These were those who eagerly and at first swelled the ranks of the church after Pentecost, and upon the missionary trips of Paul.

    God the Holy Spirit, through his church, will not saddle the Gentiles with the hard "yoke" of the Jews. But free men from his moral law? That wasn't even the question at the council. No one questioned the validity of God's morality. Check out one of the last books written, 1 Timothy. Chapter 1:8 "The law is good, if a man use it lawfully," and that is followed by a litany of moral violations of the Law, which v. 11, is declared to be "according the the gospel."

    Interesting too, the issue of eschewing blood--that is an ordinance God gave to NOAH (Gen. 9:4), so that requirement was NOT merely for the sake of Jewish sensibilities, but hearkend back to a general ordinance given to the whole human race (and of course forgotten and violated many times over among the Gentiles). So, this was more by way of reiteration of a universal law, not an exception to a general abandonment of Moses.

    Bottom line is: God's moral law is one from the beginning of Scripture to the end. This issue is not theonomy, it is not a debate about how to draw lines between three types of the laws. The 10 Commandments are Moral. They summarize God's will. They are in turn summarized by Christ (in 2) and later still by Paul (in 1). But we need the ten to give us some more of the content because of the presence still of sin. And the rest of Scripture, to give us full moral direction.
  12. jaybird0827

    jaybird0827 PuritanBoard Honor Roll

    We also have the example in Acts 20:7,

    "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight." (AV)


    "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.

    "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."

    -- I Corinthians 16:1-2 (AV)

    See also LC 115-121; founded upon, and agreeable to, the word of God.
  13. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    I might also add that the moral law, like the ceremonial and judicial, is indeed fulfilled. Its fulfillment is found in Jesus’ words, “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” (Matthew 22:37-40). This does not abrogate any or all Ten Commandments, just like Christ’s death does not abrogate the sinners need for atonement.

    We should thank God for one day out of seven we can devote the time we are normally obligated to earthly affairs to heavenly affairs and sanctifying this day for not just ourselves but for the entire world. The day is set apart (i.e. Holy) and if every Christian would obey this command the world would notice and by the grace of God fly to Christ in repentance.

    When we are in glory, ask yourself, who will you require to serve you as you require on Lord’s day?
  14. ReederKidsMom

    ReederKidsMom Puritan Board Freshman

    The reason we call it the "Lord's Day" is simply to help the kids understand that this is the day that the Lord has made to Worship him. It's his day. Other day’s daddy works and we home school, but on the Lord's Day we focus on God. Turning away from doing our own pleasures (like eating out) Not thinking of ourselves, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure. But to Focus on God, it truly is "The Lord's Day".

    Since reforming our "Lord's Day", I rejoice in the fact that I can truly honor him, it is such a delight!!! :D
  15. rjlynam

    rjlynam Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks for the clarification Bruce. I may have been less than clear when speaking of Mosaic and Levitical law. My reference to Mosaic Law is to the 10 commandments, or Code, as it is sometimes called, also called the moral law. The Levitical Laws, sometimes referred to as the Ritual Law, would fall under the ceremonial and civil laws.

    Please look at the following verse:

    Romans 10:4-5 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.

    Is this saying "For believers, Christ is the fulfillment of the ceremonial law"?
  16. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    But I don't know which work is immoral and which work is not. I don't know who is a Christian and who is not. This is purely subjective. Using electricity is OK knowing people are working on the sabbath? Modern Israel is a good example of applying the moral law in a strict Mosaic way. Look at all the nonsense going on there. Does this bring glory to God?

    If I knew a brother was delinquent in attendance precisely for this reason I wouldn't do business with him on Sunday. But I live in a society where maybe one fifth of the population attend church on Sunday morning. I won't compel non-Christians to live as Christians.

    Matthew, I probably haven't thought this through enough, so convince me and I will change. Thanks for taking the time.
  17. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I was responding to Bill's question, so I'm not sure where your comments came into the mix. I've not heard (within theological discussion) of the 10C being called "the Mosaic Law." I have heard of them being called by synecdoche "the Law of Moses," with full recognition that this was short for the whole legislation. The "levitical laws" were the ceremonial parts of the "Mosaic law."

    After all that, I don't think I am misunderstanding you, For what it's worth...

    Your question re. Rom 10:4-5:
    This verse says nothing about pleroma, or fulfillment.
    Christ was the telos of the law, the goal or purpose of the law (not the shutting down, closing shop, terminal point), so far as righteousness goes. The purpose of the Law was ALWAYS to point men to Christ because of their inability to obey God's will. Now more than ever, because the Christ has come that point should be clear as crystal.

    Moses' comment, as Paul expresses it's meaning, is that if you could do everything in the Law, then you could be righteous by keeping the Law. But the following verse sets forth the contrast that Paul has been expounding and hammering for 7 chapters, righteousness by faith.
  18. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Are you kidding? That place is one of the most secular nations on the planet.

    And why should we imagine that even in places in Israel where the ultra-orthodox have their way, that those Pharisees are keeping the Sabbath in a Mosaic or biblical way! They're keeping it in the WRONG ways that Jesus slapped them down for 2000 years ago!
  19. rjlynam

    rjlynam Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks Bruce. I didn't mean to imply that I thought you were misunderstanding me. Looks like I need to work on terminology.

    And thanks for the clarification on the Romans passage. I don't know any Greek, except the alphabet, and I can still say it in under 7 seconds :lol:

    That certainly makes sense to me.
  20. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Forgive me brethren, but I percieve this thread may be heading in this direction. No offence is meant to anyone here:

    Tts 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
  21. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    How is avoiding restaurants one day in seven not some form of boycotting? If a Muslim family has their shop open for business on Sunday is it loving to boycott their business on the Lord's Day? Is that the spirit of the day? The sabbath was made for man, not the other way around.

    Well it's OK (one may argue) but the minute they hire a Christian busboy shut it down.
  22. rjlynam

    rjlynam Puritan Board Sophomore

    I've thought this was a great thread, all the way down !

    I've even learned something.
  23. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Quite right Bruce,
    I should have said Pharisaical way.
  24. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    I certainly confess I have strayed in this area, but in defence of Christian liberty it is not vain.

    Good post.
  25. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior


    Avoiding restaurants is not boycott, but obedience. Boycott is willful avoidance in order to push a political agenda. We must examine our hearts if our motivation for avoiding restaurants is to hurt the restaurants. Our motivation should be out of gratitude to a God who saves sinful man who desires to be at enmity with Him and His perfect and righteous law.

    It is more loving to fear God and obey all His commands rather than to be concerned with a Muslim business open on Sunday. Grateful obedience to our God trumps the feelings of sinners.

    Whether God’s people work at these establishments does not make a difference. Even the pagans must love God and their neighbors.
  26. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Bob, I can be very Presbyterian and say "yes", but I would be dishonest in my answer. I do not see a separation between the two. Mostly that is because I have never studied the issue. I know, I know...I'm professing ignorance. But I am here to learn.
  27. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    In defence of christian liberty is exactly why I posted the passage dear brother. I think you and I are close to agreement about this most sensitive issue.:handshake:
  28. non dignus

    non dignus Puritan Board Sophomore

    Willful avoidance to push a theological agenda perhaps? The idea that Muslims should keep the Lord's Day as Muslims brings up all sorts of issues. I do not want to prevent a man from worshipping God. I do not want to tempt anyone to sin. But if I take this desire all the way to where it goes in this fallen world I would be paralyzed in a constant state of ethical inquiry. We've all got to decide where we will draw the line because scripture does not explicitly draw that line.

    This is a very interesting question and I'm still ready to be convinced.
  29. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Bruce, could you elucidate on this statement for one who does not come from a WCF background?

    I agree that Adam (man) was created with a knowledge of God's "law." In addition to being born with this knowledge he was also instructed by God (Genesis 2:16-17).

    I would be interested in your opinion on these alterations. Your phraseology ("passing of the Old Covenant age, and the coming of the New") is interesting. Is the New Covenant actually new or a perfection (refreshing) of the Old? I know, off topic but something I would like to discuss sometime.

    I will not dispute the morality of God's law. There is an innate knowledge of good and evil that God has infused into the heart of men. I believe this is what Paul was getting at in Romans 1:18-20. My point in bringing up Acts 15 had more to do with the Gentiles having to observe ceremonial aspects of the Law. In keeping with the OP, would not the Sabbath be part of that?

    You make a good point but I can't help in seeing the conflict that was going on between Jews and Gentiles in Acts 15. A reading of Galatians gives us insight into the problem of the Judiazers. Why would the council pick the stangled with blood issue to compliment idols and fornication (Acts 15:29)? It seems arbitrary just to pick that one out of thin air. indeed the letter from the council calls them "these essentials" (Acts 15:28). The reason the letter from the council was written was because the Judiazers were unsettling others in the church (Acts 15:24).

    Bruce, I am not seeking to be a contrarian. This thread has given me the opportunity to speak out on some honest questions I have had. Your thoughtful replies (and those of others on the PB) are greatly esteemed.
  30. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    That's a good question brother Trevor. Can we start a fire in our house and thereby cook on the sabbath? How far can we walk? We can't go out to eat but starting a fire is not allowed-what must we do?;)
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