“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16, NKJV)
Inspiration – “Inhalation”
Inspire – “Inhale; to influence, move or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
“All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking…” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV)
The reason I begin with this Scripture is to clarify that ALL Scripture, not some Scripture as some would have us ascribe to, is inspired or God-breathed whether we understand it all or not. Either we accept that or not. Whether God wrote some with his own finger or chose someone to use and write what he wanted to say through them. He, God, wrote it. That is the premise, the only foundation upon which we as Christians (Jews or Gentiles) ought to build.
Jesus validated the Scriptures as well by referring back to them in many instances with “It is written…” THE Word of God, used the Word of God to reply to questions from the religious leaders and others of his day. It is all we have to stand on. There are many sects and cults that have been spawned that use Scripture out of its context by manipulating it to say what they think or want it to say and have added to and twisted the Word of God. I, for one, do not claim to understand all of Scripture, but I am instructed by the Word and the Holy Spirit to live up to the light or enlightenment that I have received.
Therefore, in respect to the Sabbath day, as a non-Jew who lives under the dispensation of the New Covenant of grace, I am fully convinced that I am in alignment with Scripture to keep the Sabbath-or Day of Rest on Sunday, the 1st day of the week, provided that I actually make it a true day of rest and refrain from work. I will refrain from speaking from the Jewish standpoint, though Jesus and the Apostle Paul were both Jews and the scriptures I will reference either Jesus himself spoke or Paul was used to write. For it is written:
“Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. One man esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it….But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:4-12)
The reason I worship and hold Sunday, the 1st day of the week as a Sabbath day of rest is not based on tradition. Yes, it is how I grew up, but I’ve always been one to question practices if I do not see them supported in Scripture. If I believed God, through his Word was really telling us to keep the Sabbath as the 7th day instead of the 1st day of the week, I’d have no problem in doing so. However, that is not my conviction based on Scripture or upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus, the Word made flesh, spoke to the scribe of his day, the Jewish teacher of the law and said that the most important commandment is this, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength’… And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no greater commandment greater than these.” That was a wrap for me and apparently, it was a “wrap” for the scribe as well.
When God used Paul, who had been a zealot, “…circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless,” (Phil. 3:5-6, NIV) to say:
“Owe no man anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10)
This is in keeping with Jesus’ answer to the scribe. Note, by the way, that in both responses by Jesus and Paul, they were referring to the Ten Commandments. They both quoted the Ten Commandments in their responses and encompassed them all by saying, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Jesus said in Matt. 22:40.) And Paul’s answer that, “…if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying…”
I cannot do this study justice in this blog and there are enough books written on the subject. However, it is sufficient for me to cross-reference all the New Testament Scriptures, since I am a born again Gentile under the New Covenant and sealed with the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, I do not find any Scriptural support to “preach” that the Sabbath day be maintained as the 7th day of the week.
Finally, Jesus said to the Pharisees who questioned him as to why his disciples were doing what was “not lawful on the Sabbath,” he replied, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore, the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) I believe the previous statements quoted above and this statement here, gives indication as to why God created the Sabbath. Yes, God rested on the 7th day after creating the world. Yes, God gave the Sabbath command to the Jews as well as the other nine commandments and many others as well. It’s necessary because being human we would not take the time to rest and reflect or give a full day of worship unto God. However, glory be to God, for the Believer, every day is a type of Sabbath. Through the blood of Jesus we have entered into a new dispensation of resting in Christ though the ultimate day of rest will not be until Christ’s return. Every day we are to worship God and give ourselves as a living sacrifice – every day (Rom. 12:1). Some will not get this concept or understand it (can’t say that I understand completely myself), but I believe the Word of God and do my best to live according to the Word of God and not according the traditions of men. I do not have the time or space to go into being under the law vs. being under grace as Paul talks about in Romans chapters 4-6 except to leave you with the few verses below.
It is written:
“Before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account where there is no law. (Rom. 5:13, NIV)
“The law was added so that the trespass might increase…” (Rom. 5:20, NIV)
“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14, NIV)
“…in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” (Col 2:9)
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us…nailing it to the cross.” (Col. 2:12-14, NIV)
“Therefore, do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Col. 2:16-17, NIV)
The commission of the Messiah, Christ, was simple: “…Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:19-20)
Therefore, I submit to you, let that be our focus, not disputing or debating as to which day is the Sabbath day. Jesus kept the Sabbath as a Jew, but then he died and rose again on the 1st day of the week. He fulfilled the law (Matt. 5:17-18), that is, he fulfilled the requirements of the law, he embodied the law and when we repent of our sins – the breaking of the law, and accept Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, the embodiment of the law now lives within us, namely Christ.
So we preach Christ. Everything is fulfilled in him according to the Scriptures. Preaching and practice are now made simple. Preach Christ and him crucified and resurrected. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Let that be our message. If anyone has anything else to say or preach, let that be between him and God (Rom. 14:22). ”Each of us will have to give an account of himself to God.” (Rom. 14:12)
Father, make us one. Teach us how to love you with all our heart, mind, soul and body. Help us to love one another as ourselves. Let there not be division among us. Instead help us to walk together in unity so that our lives may glorify you and so that the world may believe in your sent one – Jesus Christ.
Thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.