As we saw in Monday’s lesson, many Christians still believe in the binding nature of God’s law.
Again, as long as one accepts the reality of sin, it’s hard to see how anyone could believe anything else.
Yet, as we know so well, the whole issue of the Christian obligation to the law suddenly gets very murky when the question of obedience to the fourth commandment arises, particularly in regard to the seventh-day itself. In fact, the irony is that the Alabama judge who got himself in trouble for his insistence on placing the Ten Commandments monument in the courtroom, was himself living in violation of that law because, however strict a Sunday keeper he might have been, he wasn’t keeping the biblical commandment to rest on the seventh day. If we take the Bible for what it says, then according to James – “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10) – then the judge was guilty of violating every precept of the law that he insisted upon leaving in the courthouse!
Exodus 20:9-10 explains the Sabbath commandment. The text is careful to point out when the Sabbath occurs (the seventh day), and how it is to be kept (cessation of regular work by all under one’s shelter) in order for its holiness to be guarded. “The Sabbath is not portrayed as a day of recuperation from those too weak to keep working day after day without rest. It is portrayed rather as a stoppage good for everyone, for the purpose of refocusing on holiness (all concerns that stem frombelonging to God, which is what holiness is) in order to enjoy God’s blessings of that day and its potential.” – Douglas K. Stuart, The New American Commentary, Exodus, vol. 2 (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2006), p. 460.
The spiritual potential of the Sabbath is embodied in what it symbolizes. What do the following texts tell us about the spiritual meaning of the Sabbath? How has your own experience with the Sabbath helped you to better appreciate what these texts teach us? Exod. 20:11; Deut. 5:15; Exod. 31:13; Ezek. 20:20; Heb. 4:3-9.