Good Morning Brothers…
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” The 4th Commandment
Last week we ended with this question, “Does the 4th commandment not apply to Christians?”
Our natural gut-check impulse is to scream, “Yes it applies to Christians!!!” But before we get into that question specifically, I think we need to spend some time in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’. Jesus says in Matthew 5:17-20, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus came to fulfill the Law. This means that the Law is fulfilled in Him. All of the restrictions, commandments, and temple practices are fulfilled by Him, and in Him. Jesus goes on to say that our righteousness must surpass…not be equal too…but surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees, otherwise, no eternal rest for us. As the ‘Sermon’ rolls on, Jesus picks a few of the ’10 Commandments’ and other parts of the Law and blows them up. For instance, in Matthew 5:27-28 He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” In Matthew 5:38-39 Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” There are many more examples in this passage but the point is this; even if our discipline is strong enough to resist temptation physically, if we entertain it spiritually, then we are guilty of the sin. Jesus concludes His ‘redo’ of the Law with this statement from verse 48, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.“
So…not only must we be more righteous than the religious leaders of that day, keep the entire Law in thought and deed, but we must be perfect like our Heavenly Father is perfect.
The only way we can ‘be’ that, is to ‘be’ covered in the blood of Christ. We can’t ‘do’ any of that. We can’t ‘do’ the commandments in thought or deed. We can’t ‘do’ the Law in our own power. We can’t ‘do’ righteousness. We can’t ‘do’ perfect. Why do we think we can ‘do’ Sabbath? Jesus is telling the people on the ‘Mount’ that the only way the Law can be ‘done’ is through Him. He is the fulfillment of the Law for us, which means that in order for us to fulfill anything we must be in Him. Does this mean that the ’10 Commandments’ are null and void for Christians?
No…it means that our relationship with Jesus Christ fulfills the commandments. All of them, including the 4th one. Our righteousness surpasses the scribes and Pharisees because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we are one with Him then we are one with Him. I know that sounds redundant, but I think we, to often, don’t get that. Listen to what Paul says in Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” And again in Colossians 2:20-23, “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.“
Let us not get caught up in the days of the week…who cares! Let us instead, get caught up in keeping our reverence of our Lord holy…every day. Let us remember our Lord enables us to ‘rest’ from our labors. Let us remember, experientialy, in the present tense, that “Today” if we hear His voice…we do not harden our hearts that we may enter His rest. That we may ‘Shabbat’ with Jesus every day. Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath and in Him, through obedience, we find our rest from our labors. Our obedience to seek Him in all things is remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it Holy through Him, by Him and because of Him.
The 4th Commandment; “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” certainly applies to Christians. But it applies in this manner, from Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
I “Shabbat” because I believe…