Isaiah 58:13-14 (New King James Version)
13 “ If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the LORD honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words, 14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
Psalm 37:4 (New King James Version)
Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Tav Blog has been more irregular than I want it to be, but I have caught up with many of my elder duties, and can post again. Tonight’s topic is the Sabbath.
There is a confusion in evangelicalism about the Sabbath. There is the general neglect of the Sabbath by most evangelicals because there is seemingly no reiteration of it in the New Testament.
God does not need to reaffirm what he has already said. Once He has said something, he would need to inform you of any changes. If he says nothing, you should assume there is no change. After all the Scripture says in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” and in Malachi 3:6, “I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
We know that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. Once the perfect sacrifice came, there was no longer any need for further sacrifice of animals that did not in themselves forgive sin, but pointed to the sacrifice of Christ.
But of the moral law, Christ himself said in Matthew 5:17-20, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Christ affirmed the Law in full, while fulfilling its ceremonial aspects as the perfect sacrifice. Thus the moral demands of the law continue. Even if the New Testament does not explicitly repeat the commands against incest (leave aside what John the Baptist said to Herod Antipas the Tetrarch), those commands still stand because God has not repealed them.
The Main Point
Okay, so we should still keep the Sabbath. Americans by nature interpret all the commands of God in the most latitudinarian way, so, once convinced of the Sabbath, they do not see it as a time of holy rest from the things common to man in the rest of the week, but rather as a time for human rest and leisure: Watch Football. Gardening is so relaxing. Yack with friends over matters that are not very spiritual at all.
But the idea of the Sabbath is expressed in clear terms in Isaiah 58. The Sabbath is not a day where we are to do our own pleasure. We are to do that which pleases God explicitly. Following our own pleasure, whether in things that excite us, or immoderate physical rest (don’t take a significantly longer nap on Sunday than you take the rest of the week), or doing anything else that we enjoy that does not fit into the framework of Piety, Mercy or Necessity is not keeping the Sabbath.
Is this too much to ask? Only if our hearts are not with God. I encourage you, fill the Sabbath full of good things that the Lord loves. The antidote to not keeping the Sabbath is to look to the good things that we are supposed to do, and do them. Catechize your children. Memorize Scripture. Read the Bible. Pray. Have discourse over the things of God. Read the writings of faithful saints on the matters of God.
But turn aside from doing your own pleasure on the Sabbath day. Ignore what you want and live to please God, as you will do in Heaven.