Monday, May 07, 2007

Ten Commandments (8) - Sabbath

God gave the Sabbath to Israel as a gift to mark them off from the surrounding nations. Resting from work was a way of expressing their trust in God as their provider.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God (Ex 20:8-10).
The civil authorities in Israel rigorously enforced the sabbath (Num 15:32-36).

Since the coming of Jesus, love for each other is the distinctive that marks Christians off from the world (John 13:34,35). Jesus fulfilled the new commandment by washing his disciples feet.

We achieve our rest through faith in Jesus. According to Hebrews 4, we have a better rest through believing in Jesus.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said (Heb 4:3).
This means that the Sabbath laws have been fulfilled in Jesus and that they no longer need to be enforced. Christians have often succumbed to the temptation to use the power of the state to enforce a Sunday rest. This has done a great deal of harm to the gospel.

The concept of a weekly rest remains a principle of life. Having a day of rest each week is good for human health. We should all try to have a day of rest each week and employers should allow their staff to rest at least one day a week. It does not matter which day people rest, but having a break from work is good for their physical and mental health.

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