The Fourth Commandment says “Honor the Sabbath.” Does this apply to you and I?
The Jewish Sabbath was Saturday, but the day of worship for Christians is Sunday. Christians moved the day of worship to Sunday because Christ rose on Sunday, and the day of Pentecost, was a Sunday. This was the first day the Holy Spirit came upon the Lord’s believers. Additionally, Christianity was somewhat a sect of Judaism in the years immediately following Christ, and Christians would gather at the Jewish Temple. The Temple was in use by the traditional Jews on Saturday. So the Christians would gather there on Sunday.
So should we Honor the Sabbath?
The first point to realize about the Sabbath is that the Sabbath IS important – God was abundantly clear in hammering the point repeatedly and in making it the 4th of the 10 commandments. God rested on the 7th day. God did not do this because He NEEDs rest. Per Psalm 121:4 God does not even sleep…ever. But, he rested on the 7th day to make a point of the importance that we should take a day of each week to rest and enjoy our relationship with Him.
Second, Sabbath is an old covenant law. Today, we live under the New Testament covenant of grace, in that Christ fulfilled the requirements of the Old Covenant for us, and the condition of the New Covenant is our faith in Christ’s work. James 2:17 says If our faith in Christ is genuine, it will produce obedience and good deeds…meaning, our obedience to the intent of God’s law will be the desire of our heart, and Christ said in John 14:15-19 (NKJV):
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper (The Holy Spirit)
Further, obedience to Christ is necessary evidence that we are truly believers and members of the New Covenant (1 John 2:4). Christ clearly demanded that we uphold the INTENT of the Mosaic law…Not the word for word letter of the law, but the intent at the heart of the law. It is expected then that we will set aside a day of our week to honor the Lord and rest. For most Christians this day is Sunday. The founding documents of Reformed Faith, The Westminster Confession and Heidelberg Catechism identify Sunday as the Lord’s Day, and do instruct that no work be done on the Lord’s Day. Christ was however clear that it is okay to do good works on the Sabbath day. It would be wrong to not render aid to someone in need if it required work on the Sabbath, and good works, the deeds of the spirit, honor God. Christ did not hesitate to heal on the Sabbath.
Clearly there are some occupations that must work on the Lord’s day for the purpose of doing good. These jobs would obviously include roles like police officers, doctors, and hospital staff. Still, it should be expected that people in these roles would still set aside one day each week, not necessarily Sunday, to uphold the intent of the Sabbath day.