SPIRIT AND TRUTH: THE SABBATH

Sabbath
“Have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless?” –Matthew 12:5, ESV

Notice here that Jesus reveals the hypocritical heart which trusts in its own understanding (Pro 3:5) and binds the letter of the law to man-made mandates (consider “profane” vs “guiltless”) (see also Mat 15:8-9). Such “worshipers” are seeking only to pacify God so they can live as they please. They do not love the LORD, and so find their self-righteous rules in conflict with God’s commands of service.

The Sabbath only functioned as a sign, a “reminder of the relationship” that sets God’s people apart from the world (Eze 20:20). Such inward separation (Rom 2:29) renders external symbols incapable of decisively designating the redeemed (Heb 10:4). “Hard hearts” necessitated provisions to be made in the law (Mat 19:8). “Stiff-necked people” (Exo 34:9) required a “tutor” or “disciplinarian” (Gal 3:24).

But “the time” is now (John 4:23) when Christ releases us from the guardian of the law to live as free sons (Gal 3:24-27). Regardless whether we consider “one day holier than other days” or whether we “regard them all alike,” all our days are dedicated to the LORD (Rom 14:5-6). Every day is a celebration of God’s lavish love, staggering strength, and wonderful ways. Every day we rest on His provision and finished work. Every day is devoted to the service of the LORD.

If we belong to Christ, are we not a “nation of priests” (1Pe 2:9) serving the “Lord of the Sabbath” in “something greater than the temple” (Mat 12:6-8)? Is not every day a priestly service, “doing good to others” (Mat 12:12; John 21:17; Gal 6:10) with the praise of His name continually on our lips (Heb 13:15)? Is not every day a joyous denial of selfish ambition (Phi 2:3) and idle talk (1Co 4:20; 2Ti 2:16), and instead a pursuit of the LORD’s pleasure (Eph 5:7-10)? Is not every day a remembrance and proclamation of what the LORD has done (1Co 1:5-7; 2Pe 3:1-2; 1Jo 5:11), a perpetual time of thanksgiving (Eph 5:20)? Is not every day a perpetual rest for God’s people—a relief from the curse of sin and the futility of labor (Ecc 2:11,26; Heb 4:9-10)? Is not every day about our Father’s business (Luke 2:49), following Him (2Co 5:7) and reflecting whatever He does (John 5:19)?

The question is not what day of the week are we willing to vacation from our careers where we find ultimate pleasure and identity, but whether we are indeed living as priests of God making every day a labor of love in His service to the worship of His name (1Th 1:3; 4:1)?

“Blessed and holy is the one who takes part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” –Revelation 20:6, NET

Billy Neal
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