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Posts tagged ‘ten commandments’

More on Sabbathing

In my last post I started discussing the mental journey I’ve been on, trying to understand the Sabbath. When we’re seeking God’s will, and try to please Him by obeying His laws, it’s useful to know what His laws are. The Ten Commandments strike me as the most logical departure point, but when I start there, I battle to understand why we’re no longer required to keep the Sabbath.

This has been troubling me for the past few years, and more and more so as I try to gain peace and clarity on the subject. There are three questions in this argument:

  1. Has the Sabbath been abolished since the death of Christ?
  2. If not, which day of the week is the Sabbath? How is it calculated?
  3. And finally, what are we allowed to do or prohibited from doing on the Sabbath.

I am investigating the first question. If you have any answers or thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

As for question 2, the Sabbath isn’t a Sunday. Sunday is the first day of the week, and Saturday, therefore is the Sabbath. However, recently I stumbled across the website World’s Last Chance, where a rather different view is put forward.  According to the researchers on this site, here’s how the Sabbath works. A new month starts the very first morning after conjunction (in other words, after the sun and moon line up with one another). The seventh day after that is the Sabbath. Seven days later, another Sabbath, and so on for four weeks, until the next new moon.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything on that site, and I’m still just trying to digest and understand it all. What I do know is that I have gone for years without taking a Sabbath, and I’m exhausted. And frankly, it just seems like there must be something we’re not doing according to God’s plan, with the way things are going. So I thought, “perhaps this is it. Perhaps if we kept the Sabbath, we’d have checked all our boxes.”

Yes, I know how that sounds.

To cut a long story short, according to the calendar on the World’s Last Chance website, yesterday was this week’s Sabbath. Now, I realise that one shouldn’t take a “let’s-see-how-it-goes” approach to doing God’s will. But I did. I took the day off.

Which brings us to question 3: what can you do or shouldn’t you do on the Sabbath?

Based on my incomplete research, it boils down to: don’t do any income-gathering work, cook food, or engage in commerce of any kind. You can do good, do God’s work, do housework (*sigh*), and I haven’t yet found anything against teaching your children on the Sabbath.

How did it go? That’s another story.

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Sabbathing

See what I did there? I think I made up a word.

If you’ve read my blog a few times, you’ll probably have picked up a theme. I’m curious about a lot of things. I always want to do better, to be better. If there’s a better way to live, behave, eat, prioritise, parent – whatever it may be, I want to find the best way and then be that. It’s a continual search, and sometimes it seems like it consumes my waking hours.

This is just as true in my spiritual life as it is anywhere else. If I can do God’s will better, then surely I should?

So: Sabbaths. Or, more accurately, The Sabbath

I’ve always wondered how it can be that the Sabbath is in the Ten Commandments, and we’re expected to keep all the other nine of the Ten Commandments, that we no longer observe a day of rest? Especially when the Sabbath is the very first commandment God ever gave. Well, the first commandment He ever gave mankind. Obviously, “Let there be light” was the first recorded commandment.

But I digress. It’s been troubling my conscience more and more, trying to work out what the rules are as far as the Sabbath goes. We’re under a new dispensation, aren’t we? Jesus’ death fulfilled the law, and Paul even berates certain of the believers for their dissension over the observances of days.

Besides, the only prerequisite for getting into heaven is believing that Jesus is the Son of God, fully God yet fully man; that He came to earth to live among us; that He died to take our place, paying the ultimate price for our sin, and that He rose again within three days, glorious and victorious over death.

If that’s all I need for getting into heaven, why keep any of the laws?

The truth is, I don’t know. I’m still working it out.

I do know that we can’t keep sinning once we’re born again. It’s against the nature of the Holy Spirit within us. It just doesn’t feel right, and as we spend more time in the Word, growing in faith and understanding, things we may have glossed over before begin to stand out as glaring transgressions. Paul exhorts us in the letter to the Romans not to take advantage of our Christian liberty. If we say we have the true, living God inside of us, and we then live a life characterised by acts of disobedience to His law, we make Him a liar. Imagine you lived with a traffic cop. How inclined would you ever be to speed, talk on your cellphone while driving, not buckle up? Not very, I’m thinking. In the same way, living with the Lawmaker makes it much harder to consider breaking the Law.

Alright, so we’ve established that while we don’t need to obey the law to get saved, we can’t help but obey the law once we’re saved, since the lawmaker now takes up residence inside us. We know that the law is there for our own protection and that of others, so it makes sense to obey the law even if your only motivation is pure logic. Without God we can’t manage it, but with Him, we can do all things.

This brings me to my next question: which laws do we obey? All of them? Some of them? The most convenient ones? The not-obviously-Jewish ones? And if not those, then why not?

Being of a pharisaical bent myself, I like a To Do list. I love having the freedom of a checklist. If I can put a tick in every box, I feel safe and assured that I’m on the right track, doing what needs to be done. That’s what I love about the Ten Commandments. I know they won’t get me into heaven, but my theory is that if I’m following those, I should be showing my love for God by keeping His commandments. I don’t take His name in vain or swear. I don’t worship other gods (well, sort of. More on that tomorrow – unless this post doesn’t wrap up soon, in which case it may be the day after). I do my best to honour my parents. I’m not good at it, but I’m sure I get an “A” for effort. I don’t lie, cheat, steal or covet (mostly. Actually, I do covet: a working vehicle; a house with interior doors; an office. Chocolate).

As you go through the list, is it as glaringly obvious to you as it is to me that we just don’t seem to expect people to honour the Sabbath day anymore?

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