|21. Closing Thoughts|
In the light of Scripture, the Sabbath was a sign of an old covenant no longer in effect. It was a shadow of things to come. It was a symbol pointing to Christ and the rest He sought to restore to lost humanity that was lost in Eden. It is not the day that is important anymore, but our relationship with Christ. One who accepts Christ enters into His Sabbath rest. Jesus makes this wonderful call to us who are in need of rest:
And this rest can be experienced every day in Jesus. He is our Sabbath rest now. This does not mean that one cannot keep the Sabbath if one wishes to, but it should be known that it is no longer mandatory or necessary for salvation, since we have been liberated from the Old Covenant by Christ's work on our behalf and brought into a greater, more glorious covenant. A covenant that is not dependent on keeping days, rituals, or other symbols of the Old Covenant, but on faith in Jesus Christ and love for one another. It should also be known that one who chooses to worship on the seventh day of the week does not mean that person is a legalist, just as one choosing another day of the week to worship does not mean that person is in error by doing so. Both fall within the framework of Romans 14:5, where Christians are also called upon not to judge each other based on what day or days they choose to assemble to worship God.
Under the New Covenant brought into effect by Christ's blood (Luke 22:20), there is no longer a holy or sacred day of observance as in the Old Covenant. After all, if the Old Covenant was destined to pass away (2 Corinthians 3:11; Galatians 4:30; Hebrews 8:13), so too were the Old Covenant signs (Galatians 4:10-11; Romans 14:4-5; Colossians 2:16-17). If someone immigrates from England to the United States and becomes a citizen, that person would no longer live under the laws of England, though many of the laws would be the same (i.e. laws regarding murder, fraud, property rights, marriage, etc.). That person would live under United States law.
A flag usually acts as a symbol for a particular country. A person who immigrates from England to the United States would no longer live under the Union Jack of England, but under the Stars and Stripes of the United States. That person would no longer live under the rule of the Monarch, Prime Minister, and Parliament of England; but under the rule of the President and Congress of the United States. It is the same for one who becomes a Christian. Such a person is no longer bound to keep the Ten Commandments of the Old Covenant law and its sign, or flag, the Sabbath (Exodus 31:12-18); but is bound to keep the Law of Christ which is the Gospel, along with its signs, its flag composed of baptism, being sealed and living according to the Holy Spirit, and participating in the Lord's Supper (Acts 19:3-4; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:11-12; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 4:30; Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:25).
While the New Covenant clearly embraces all the moral laws of the Old Covenant, it presents these laws differently (general principles rather than specific details), it has a different emphasis (grace [done] rather than law [do]), and it has a different flag (Lord's Supper rather than Sabbath). Does this mean that the Old Testament is no longer of value to Christian Bible study? Of course not! The Old Testament is a gold mine of truth. But what must be done when studying the Bible is interpret all Old Covenant statements in light of the New Covenant. Many have stumbled in their interpretation of Scripture in trying to make the covenant signs intrinsically moral. They are not moral in themselves and have religious value only as they are celebrated in connection with the covenant of which they are signs. There is no religious value in being submerged in water unless it is done as Christian baptism. There is no religious value in eating bread or drinking wine (or grape juice) unless it is done in remembrance of Christ's death. There was no religious significance to circumcision unless it was done as a sign of the sign of the covenant community of the "sons of Israel." Likewise, there is no religious significance to resting on Saturday unless it is done as a sign of the covenant between God and the sons of Israel. (18)
Christians are also encouraged to meet together regularly for the purpose of building up one another's faith and hope. Receiving pastoral teaching is a key ingredient to spiritual growth. But this growth is best nurtured and brought to maturity by Christians not failing to assemble together. This passage in Hebrews 10 says it best:
As Christians living under the New Covenant, we are free to choose any day of the week we wish to assemble to give praise to God and encourage one another in the faith, since the focus is not on the day anymore but on Christ, to whom the Sabbath pointed.
May the Lord bless you as you consider the words of this study. Please prayerfully study the Scriptures as the Berean Christians did in Paul's day to see if what was said in this study is true (Acts 17:10-11). And never cease to do so. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to truth in His word, for God has promised to give us wisdom if we but ask Him for it.
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