Q: Should Christians keep the Sabbath?
“One of my college classmates, who claims to be a Christian, told me that I need to keep the Sabbath and obey the 10 Commandments because they are given by God. How can I answer him? Should I keep the Sabbath?”
A: Dear Reader, there is no question that the ten commandments were given by God, including keeping the Sabbath (the seventh day). But they were given to God’s earthly people, the children of Israel (Exodus 20). The Sabbath was introduced by God (Genesis 2) as a day of rest from His labor in creation. That rest ended when sin was brought in by Adam and Eve, and as a result death passed upon all because all have sinned. The children of Israel were given the law with the promise of life on this earth; however, they were not able to keep it. God intervened, and the Lord Jesus Christ entered the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, for ALL men. His death and the judgement of God He bore are the righteous payment required by a holy God. He rose from the grave on the first day, ascended into heaven, and as a glorified man is now at the right hand of the majesty on high. This gospel was preached to all, is without condition, and is based on grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
Almost immediately men began to introduce conditions, including following laws like keeping the Sabbath, but His gift is unconditional: “For by grace are ye saved through faith…it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2: 8,9). Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by works of the law” (2:16; see also what he wrote to the Romans in chapter 3:28). Dear reader, the law was given only to Israel and never to anyone else; Christ completed the law in His death for the people of Israel, and so they can be brought into the gospel, but we who were never under the law are kept free from it. We will enjoy the “Rest of God” in a future day when He will rest in His people in the Eternal Day (Hebrews 4:9), but until then the Godhead is not at rest: “My Father worketh hitherto and I work.”