Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thoughts on the Sabbath Part 3

This is the final part of a 3 part series on the Sabbath. Here is part 1 and part 2.

I wrote these posts before this video by Matt Chandler and Geoff Ashley popped up. I agree with them. I would say that there remains a physical component to the Sabbath command (find a day of rest); nevertheless, I have written this post to express what I believe to be the ultimate meaning of Sabbath that is found in Christ.
How should we think about the Sabbath?

The best clue we get into a New Testament understanding of the Sabbath is from Hebrews 3:7-4:10. The Sabbath is about rest. This was displayed outwardly (as were many New Testament truths) in the Law by resting from physical labor. But the point was to merely stop working physically; rather, it was pointing us to rest from our works. That is, the point of the Sabbath is to rest from our self-sufficiency and trust in Christ.

This sentiment is expressed by Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

I was reading this morning in Leviticus 23, which explains the various feasts, and I was awestruck by this statement as I read about the Day of Atonement:

“And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 23:28)

What a perfect illustration of how the New Testament views the Sabbath. Just as the Day of Atonement was a picture of the perfect sacrifice that Christ would be for us, the Sabbath points us to our need to rest from trying to work for our salvation. There is no work required of us at the cross; only rest.

Grace and Peace,
Stephen

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