Should Christians ever work on Sundays or not? The best answer is “they should do all they can to avoid it.” You can quibble and nitpick all you want with that answer, but I will go to the grave with that answer. I used to say that before I was officially Sabbatarian. I am pretty sure most New Covenant Theologians and Dispensationalists would say that too, anyone who values the Lord’s Day.
One caution: I believe the Pharisees had a tendency to focus on “thou shalt nots” as opposed to “thou shalls.” So thinking too long upon this question can turn you into a Pharisee.
However, God gave 8 of the 10 Commandments in the form of “thou shalt nots” so as to help us, make it very easy to fulfill whatever He positively calls us to. For instance, one way to make sure you worship God and God alone is to make sure you never bow down to any other god! And one way to make sure you value the sanctity of human life is to never take a life!
By God’s grace, He gave two of the 10 Commandments in positive form: “Remember the Sabbath” and “honor your father and your mother.” With the Sabbath commandment, He then gives us a lot of help to fulfill that. One of the helps is “six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…” Therefore the 1689 Confession states that we should refrain from “worldly employments” on the Sabbath.
The complex factor in the New Covenant is that we are not a Theocratic society, as Israel was. In other words there is a God-ordained separation between church and state. Israel was both Church and State, in so many words. And so back then, it was necessary that “Church-State” workers worked on the Sabbath (priests and Levites). That is why it is absolutely necessary for Church “workers” to work on the Sabbath today. It is also why I think any government workers that are required by their employers to work on Sundays is still a good thing ordained by God (don’t forget, though, that statement I will go to the grave with).
Lots more we could say there, but my contention is the differences between the Old Covenant and New Covenant make for slight differences in application today. We will tackle more Sabbath-job questions in the next post.