I have discovered an incongruence of Christian faith and practice that has bothered me over the years. Cutting to the chase:
Our pursuit and veneration of truth and moral absolutes in the Bible has a hole in the modern practice of the 4th commandment of remembering the Sabbath. This is a historical and yet difficult remnant of replacement theology and divorce from Judaism that began in the 2nd and 3rd century.
The incongruence of truth and practice is unsettling in that I see a wide and long road of repentance ahead for the Body of Christ, yet a supernatural monster of resistance to biblical righteousness.
There are pages of writing where I could express elements of biblical and theological grounds of creationism vs evolution and moral absolutes vs moral relativism. Unfortunately, it appears to me the foundation of moral relativism may have a precursor of biblical relativism that we have inherited from the fathers of faith in Catholic and Protestant history. Sin and lawlessness are biblical, spiritual errors that are defined by scripture. Where is my error?
@Brian10c Thanks for your question To help me understand your position a bit better, what is your understanding of these passages by the apostle Paul in regard to the observance of the Sabbath?
Colossians 2:16-17 - Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Romans 14:5 - One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.
John 5: After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic[a] called Bethesda,[b] which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.[c] 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews[d] said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (ESV)
It is not by the works of the law that we are justified, but only by the blood of God’s own son. Sabbath keeping does not please God; faith in him does, “for without faith it is impossible to please God for those who come to him must believe that he is and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.” Heb. 11: 6 Jesus worked all the time on the Sabbath, right in front of the Jews, and made it clear what the Sabbath was for when he said it was made for man. There are many who are forced to work on Sabbath days, mailmen, retail workers, those taking care of the ill and infirm, etc. God wants people who can worship him in “spirit and truth”. That can only come from he who leads us into all truth, God himself the Holy Spirit. So who shall we believe here? Jesus in the gospels via the Holy Spirit, or the teachings and interpretations of some men? I pick Jesus.
Are you creating a false dichotomy here? You seem to be saying that if you do not worship on a Friday-sundown-to-Saturday-sundown schedule, then you are agreeing with replacement theology. These are two different issues; the first issue is with Judaizers; the second issue is with replacement theology.
The Judaizers that Paul dealt with made such false dichotomies, but Paul wasn’t impressed with them. Do you think that Paul was into replacement theology?
Also, the counsel in Jerusalem in the time of the apostle Paul refuted the claims of the Judaizers. This was in the first century, not the second and third.
You might want to listen to Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel. He is an Israeli Jewish background believer. You will not find any hint of replacement theology in his teachings, but you will find lots of caution against the teachings of the Judaizers of today.
I am a student of Truth. One element Truth has taught me is it lasts. Truth has continuity across time. The conditions of truth and all the philosophical definitions of truth aside from the eternal questions make job security for universities and PhD candidates. Common understandings of truth are sometimes simple, cozy and sufficient, sometimes not.
What was actually true yesterday, is usually true today. What was actually true in a past generation is usually true today. What was true in 3,000 BC is true in 2019 CE. Biblical truth has lasting resonance. The biblical condition of a Creator of the Universe making a design of life for all plant and animal life is a basis of faith. The revelation of that design and the Sovereign’s rule over the world is a constant battle in the spiritual world and intellectual world. From the view of faith in a personal God, the continual discovery and uncovering of the growing complexities and mystical nature of life is stirring in our hearts and builds trust that the Creator knows what He is doing. The order of life and the purposes of God recorded in the Bible resonate truth in the way our lives play out. The truth that we are created by our Creator and loved by Him is perpetually retold in the Bible and in our lives.
The Trinity is almost as complex a subject as truth. In whole, God is One. Each identified element of the Trinity is as old as the other. All of God is always there from before the beginning and after the end. God is God and nothing less. Man is man and nothing more. As the scriptures describe the creative process of the Creator in six days of work, Father, Son and Spirit are doing the creating and describing and recording the words in the minds and memories of men who relayed these truths through all generations before they were written by Hebrews.
The story of creation has mystical and practical application. The completion of creation’s work created the purpose of rest and remembering the Creator on the seventh day. A gracious Creator gave his creatures a gift: a day of rest. And that cycle of life built a seven day week. The story of Creation was carried by Hebrews that were chosen by God. That rhythm was built by God, All of the One God. What commandments and words spoken by God were All of the One God. The Father, Son and Spirit communicated the story.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
The continuity of truth in the Creator and the wisdom from his scripture is carried from beginning to end. The seventh day continues in a rhythm that the Son defined as “And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’” His words have truth that resonates then and today. Jesus was excellent at clarification of all the Torah. God explained and worked out so much truth in the words of the Gospel by walking among us. The Gospel never changed. God is redeeming mankind. God is merciful. God has a plan right now. It is hidden and yet in plain sight. It is explicitly delineated and hidden in parables all at once. The continuity of the Creator maintaining his truth is beyond our comprehension. Remembering the Sabbath is a gift of truth, explicitly written and rewards are hidden in parables as well as the disasters of disobedience. The truth cannot be avoided. Once I have discovered and fathomed more and more of the truth of God, I cannot turn aside.
Yes, but you cannot erase inconvenient truths from the Bible. You cannot take only the truths that you want to be true and ignore or spiritualize away the truths that interfere with your theology.
I appreciate your honesty in sharing your perception of the truth. How would you say I should keep the Sabbath holy? If possible could you speak in terms like you’d explain to a child? I would like to know more about what your Sabbath rest looks like.
The falseness is in missing the beginning of the commandment. “Remember the Sabbath”
I haven’t figured everything out. I hesitate to tell others how to keep the Sabbath day holy when our Christian culture doesn’t define or agree what is “holy” too well. The simple advice I freely share, just do one thing to remember the Sabbath.
I can say I have honestly figured out that Jesus made the Sabbath for man. I choose to not do vocational job work because that is what God said. I don’t make other people work for me because that is what God said. I do read Scriptures that Jesus and other Jews still read today from the front of the Bible aka Old testament. I do hang out with friends who aren’t as able to get around. I do hug my wife a lot more. I call my grandkids and have fun. I do take it easy. I take a nap if I can. I don’t work on unnecessary house repairs unless there is an emergency. I try hanging out with people who know the Lord and I try to encourage people to trust Him, much like any other day.
There are groups of Jewish people who know Jesus is the King of the Jews and have community and worship like every other Jewish congregation on a Sabbath. They are still Jewish and love Jesus as their Lord. I like being there. There are so many different ideas of how each person or group can remember the Sabbath. Some are a bit extreme, but I can’t judge them. I’m just a disciple trying to figure this out by reading the Bible in its fullness and wholeness. I’ve only been examining this for 25 years and I’m learning new perspectives all the time. God knows what we are made of. We just love Him with all our hearts.
We are under the New Covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant. You are in effect saying that you can dismiss all the teachings of the New Testament that disagree with the Mosaic Covenant.
In Peter’s vision in the story of Cornelius, Jesus told Peter to arise, kill, and eat the unclean animals. That teaching breaks the Mosaic Covenant food laws.
You are upset with people who ignore or spiritualize the New Testament verses regarding Israel to say that Israel means the church and not Israel and use that to support Replacement theology.
But you are doing the same thing by ignoring or spiritualizing the New Testament verses regarding the New Covenant. It is not true that the Mosaic Law plus Jesus equals the New Covenant.
We can’t cherry-pick verses for our theology. That’s what was used by Mormonism and Islam and Jehovah Witnesses etc.
I appreciate the honest dialogue. Is it possible when Jesus said “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest ” that it was a really big deal that changed the pattern of life for those in the audience? Do His words change anything for us today? In all honesty as I’ve prayed about trying to understand your perception of the truth I am filled with a burden, a wearniness, and some not so restful fear. Fear that I won’t do enough to measure up for God. If “God is love” and “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear”; how do I reconcile that with your understanding vs. Christ’s understanding. I can agree with you on some points. In Christ I can have an unhurried life, a peaceful life, a life filled with Love and Joy, friendship and relationship, an Eternal life. Which is to know Him and find rest In Him…every moment of every day! I really appreciate your honesty and we can press on together encouraging more growth in The Way, The Truth and The Life.
Is it possible that being in Christ is our Sabbath rest?
I don’t claim to know for certain very much, but I know for certain I will never measure up for God. If I could, I wouldn’t need a Saviour, I wouldn’t need God. I’d be God. I tried that for long time. It didn’t work out for me or those around me.
I like this quote from Dallas Willard
“Grace isn’t opposed to effort, but it is opposed to earning”
God Bless you in your pursuit of Truth. May He carry us both when we get weary.
I’m very surprised by your statement about inconvenient truths and my theology. If it would be possible, I would ask you to reread my statements about handling truth and creation. Your retort is actually one I would ask permission for me to hand back to you. There are over 161 occurrences of the words Sabbath or Sabbaths according to Blue Letter Bible.
All of the statements that have been made that seek to disconnect the Sabbath, only one seems to be close. Upon closer examination, I have learned the single Bible is a statement in response to hyper zealous practices of sects that looked down on regular Sabbath keepers.
If Jesus didn’t cancel the Sabbath, why would any other writing or tradition apply to being a disciple Jesus that dismisses the Sabbath?
The traditions of the early church were shaped by anti-Semitic powers that sought to make faith of the Church replace the faith of Judaism. Please do some research on the Saturday and Sunday change of the Sabbath by Constantine. It was a rude awakening to me.
We can have a revival of faith when we have a repentance and focus of faith in the Word Father, Son and Spirit. It isn’t supposed to be comfortable to be a follower of Jesus.