Sunday Sabbath?

Is Sunday the Christian Sabbath? Is that authorized or commanded in the Scriptures? Or are we, as some Seventh Day Adventists claim, “taking the mark of the beast” when we “submit to the Pope” by worshiping on Sunday?

The short answer is no. And I’m sorry that this has become divisive, because the Scriptural principle here is really very simple. Christians walking by the Holy Spirit are freed from the law, all of it, even the Ten Commandments, because the Holy Spirit leads us to keep the principles behind God’s law. Blindly keeping the letter of the law is death, but following the Holy Spirit, which involves putting aside my knowledge of good and evil and learning God’s wisdom and His ways, to love to do what He loves and hate to do what He hates – that is life, love, joy, and peace.

This is actually a much bigger subject than just going to church on Sunday, and I have a lengthy chapter on it in Volume One of my book. But allow me to summarize it briefly here. And yes, to answer your first question, I am currently attending church on Sunday, though I am also quite open for the Holy Spirit to lead me somewhere else, at any time He wishes. He’s God. He gets to do that.

The principle behind the fourth Commandment is this. Even before there was any sin in the world, God made us with a need to rest, put aside our own needs and desires, and re-tune our focus on Him and His glory at least one day out of seven. That “feeds” our spirit. It is a built-in need, like our need to eat or sleep, and if we ignore it we will eventually break down and suffer the consequences, just as surely as a car will break down if you fail to “feed” it gas and oil.

But we can “feed” our spirit any day of the week. Or every day of the week. We are no longer bound under the Old Testament law that commands, “…the seventh day is a Sabbath of YHWH your God…” The purpose of the law is to condemn us, to bind us down to the altar and show us that we cannot keep it. This ultimately points us to Christ, who by His Spirit empowers us to keep the law in a new and living way. In a very real sense, we must die to the law in order to walk by the Holy Spirit. The illustration God gives is that of a wife whose husband dies. (Rom 7) She is bound by the law to her husband only while he is alive; after he dies, she is free to marry another. “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the law though the body of Christ [in His death on the cross], that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might [walk by His Spirit and] bear fruit [the fruits of the Spirit] for God.” (Rom 7:4) As I said, this is a much bigger subject than just getting picky about which day to worship. This involves all we are and do as Christians, for it determines our relationship to Christ.



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