Dear Pastor Charles:
I have a question I would like you to answer. The Ten Commandments tell us that the Sabbath day is to be kept holy. Since the Sabbath is the seventh day, or Saturday, why do Christians meet on Sunday instead of Saturday? Aren’t they breaking the Law of God by ignoring this commandment? Truth Seeker.
Dear Truth Seeker:
Thank you for your question. The answer is no, they are not breaking the Law of God by meeting on Sunday instead of Saturday. To understand this, or any other passage of Scripture, it must be interpreted in view of to whom it is addressed. Then it must be placed in context with the entire Word of God. The Bible was written by 40 men over a period of 1500 years in 66 “books”. When placed together they form one manuscript. It becomes apparent upon careful study that it really has only one Author who is the Holy Spirit and has only one central theme, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to the Pharisees who were questioning Him regarding points of Law in John 5:39-40, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Also, Jesus said in Luke 16:16-17, “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.” And in yet another passage, Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
The Law and the Prophets are what we call the Old Testament. Jesus is proclaiming that the Scriptures were written about Him and that he is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. Jesus addressed the issue very well in Mark 2:23-28, “One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”
The real issue here is whether or not a Christian is bound by the Old Testament Law. I would ask someone who diligently keeps the Sabbath, which is only one of the Ten Commandments, does he keep the other nine? In other words, have you ever stolen? Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever committed adultery? Have you ever worshipped and idol? Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Have you ever coveted anything that belongs to someone else? Have you always honored your father and mother? The Bible says that if you are guilty in one point of the Law, you are guilty of it all.
Dear friend, no honest person can say that he or she has kept all the commandments their entire life, only Jesus could accomplish that. You see, God gave us these laws that He knows we cannot keep to point out to us that we are incapable of saving ourselves and that we desperately need a Savior to make us righteous before God.
That is where the grace of God comes in. John 3:16-17 tells us that, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
My friend, that is why it is called “Amazing Grace.” We don’t have to, nor can we earn it, it is a gift from God. The Gospel frees us from the law and places us under the grace of God which is the law of love. The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 3:23-25, “Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.” The Galatian believers were having trouble with this same subject as to what day was appropriate for worship. Paul answered them in Galatians 4:10-11, “You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.” And in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
So it is fine for someone to keep the Sabbath if they want too but it is also fine for Christians to gather on the Lord’s Day, Sunday, to celebrate His resurrection from the dead.
My prayer for you is that you will come to a full and complete understanding of the wonderful grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the freedom that we have in Him as joint heirs of eternal life. May God bless and keep you as you diligently search the Scriptures which are “able to make you wise.”