Here are some of the questions I (and I’m sure many) have about application of the Sabbath command?
- Can we not work our regular jobs at all on Sundays?
- Must we refrain from things we are free to do on other days?
- Are we not supposed to cook then on Sundays?
- Are we causing others to sin if we go out to eat?
- Travel on Sundays?
- Is it sundown to sundown or midnight to midnight?
- 24 hour period exactly?
- 24 hour worship?
- Isn’t Sunday tiring for a lot of Christians? Pastors? How is the Sunday gathering restful?
What other questions come to mind for you?
Let me give another big apology: I cannot do just one more post on this. There’s too much application to think about. So pretend this is a brand new series, just on application. And I will not say how many posts I intend. I have no idea right now. I’m thinking and learning as we go.
Let me address just one point of application: I said in an earlier post “if you focus on do’s and don’ts, you have become a Pharisee.” I’m thankful for one of our members, Ezra Mell, pointing this out– it is not bad to think about what we should do and not do. That is mere Christian obedience. So I think I misspoke.
What the Pharisees tended to focus on were definitely a lot of “thou shalt nots” at the expense of “thou shalls” (think of rebuking a healed man who carried his bed on the Sabbath). And they tended to think a lot about specific kinds of obedience at the expense of getting the more important heart matters right (think of tithing mint, dill, and cumin, but forgetting justice and mercy). So I think what I meant to say is “if you focus on external quantities of obedience when it comes to the Sabbath or focus on all the things you should not be doing at the expense of focusing on what you should be doing, you have become a Pharisee.” (I’m sure there’s a more concise way to say that)
I do believe the Law of Christ written on believer’s hearts now helps us to think more about the 10 Commandments the way Jesus intended. So what I would caution against is things like:
- make sure it’s an exact 24 hour period that you guard (whether Sunday midnight to Monday midnight, which makes no sense; or Saturday sundown to Sunday sundown), or anything along those lines.
- make sure you never cook, never make anyone else cook, never make your dog or cat hunt, never go to your regular job, never do anything that will support someone else doing their regular job, etc. Avoid a “thou shalt not”-only mentality.
- seeing Sunday as better than other days, in that if I sin on Sunday it’s worse than sinning on Monday, or if I do my quiet time on Sunday it’s better than any other day.
I think we can all agree that what the Pharisees struggled with was focusing on the letter of the Law rather than the spirit of the Law. So my hope is to never get bogged down with an exact 24 hour period or how many different things I must never do, but simply aim to guard one day in seven as holy unto the Lord. And clearly, we are to guard it for rest. Where my mind goes (and what you may never have thought much about) is “rest from what?” and “rest in order to what?” So that’s what I plan to tackle next.