Soli Deo Gloria: For the Glory of God Alone
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 6:00 pm
The Messenger, September 20, 2012
A Different Kind of Day
By CAMILLE KENDALL
Special to The Messenger
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God…” (Exodus 20:8-10a)
Last week, we looked at the Fourth Commandment and considered its relevance to Christians today. Yes, this commandment still applies to us, and, yes, God still takes our disobedience of this commandment very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that my dishonoring of the sabbath is one more reason Jesus had to die for me.
Once again, I find myself saying, “Thank you, Jesus, for keeping the Law on my behalf. Thank you for taking my sin upon Yourself and covering me instead with Your perfect righteousness.”
Jesus kept the sabbath perfectly for me and fully satisfied the Law’s requirements. But that doesn’t mean that now I just skip merrily on my way with no more thought about what this Commandment means for me. On the contrary, if honoring the sabbath was so important to Jesus that He kept it perfectly, then it should be important to me also. Jesus died to cover my sins and to give me new life — not so that I can go on living in willful disobedience, but so that I can begin living a new life of joyful obedience to my Father. Out of gratitude and love, I want to honor God by honoring His sabbath.
“Holy” means “set apart from ordinary use, consecrated, dedicated to the Lord.” What, then, does it mean to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy”? What does that look like? Well, for starters, it means the sabbath will not look like just another day of the week. It is not an extra day tacked onto the weekend when we catch up on unfinished business at the office, work an extra shift at the discount store, or squeeze in one more ball practice with the team. It is not an extra Saturday, when we check off yard work and chores around the house so that we can finally settle into our easy chairs and boob out in front of the TV. No, the sabbath is different.
Question 103 of the Heidelberg Catechism asks: What is God’s will for you in the Fourth Commandment? Answer: First, that the gospel ministry and education for it be maintained, and that, especially on the festive day of rest, I regularly attend the assembly of God’s people to learn what God’s Word teaches, to participate in the sacraments, to pray to God publicly, and to bring Christian offerings for the poor. Second, that every day of my life I rest from my evil ways, let the Lord work in me through His Spirit, and so begin already in this life the eternal sabbath.
The sabbath is a day set apart for God’s people to rest from our regular weekday activities in order to devote our time and attention to the public worship of our Creator, to the study of God’s Word, to fellowship with other believers, and to corporate prayer and ministry. It is a day to pause and celebrate the joy of being God’s people, and to affirm anew each week that God is indeed our sovereign King and our sustainer. It is a time of refreshment when we meet corporately with God and are strengthened by Him to live every day in conscious dependence upon Him.
Certainly, the culture we live in exerts great pressure upon Christians to compromise the sabbath, just as it pressures us to compromise every other Commandment. Honoring the sabbath sometimes requires difficult sacrifice. But by honoring God’s sabbath this week, we begin now — in this life — to celebrate the “eternal sabbath” we will enjoy in Glory. Which begs the question: If a professing Christian doesn’t earnestly want to honor and enjoy the sabbath in this life, why does she think she will want to celebrate an eternal sabbath with God’s people in Glory?
Does the idea of heaven appeal to you? Come worship with God’s people this week for a taste of the joy to come.
Editor’s note: Camille Kendall, wife, homeschool mom and redeemed sinner, is a member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Troy.