If It Were Not So: A Forgotten Promise – Part Two
“If you love me, keep my commandments.”
The second argument that people will site for not keeping the Sabbath is that keeping the Sabbath is legalistic and no one can “work their way to heaven” so it doesn’t really matter which day we go to church.
I agree that no can work their way to heaven. The only thing that makes us righteous before God is Jesus’ blood covering our sins. HE is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the only way.
Our belief in Him, our relationship with Him, is all that can ultimately save us from eternal death. However just because we are saved by grace does not give us license to break God’s holy law. One would never say it was okay to kill or steal or commit adultery, so why would anyone say it is okay to break God’s fourth commandment?
What did Jesus say? The Bible says:
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
“He who says, ‘I know him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
1 John 2:4
And that is not all the Bible says about commandment keeping. God never changes and so, He promises:
“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding you own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.”
The third argument that people use when trying to justify not keeping the Sabbath is that Jesus’ death on the cross did away with the law. When Jesus died, he did do away with the ceremonial laws such as sacrificing an unblemished lamb. The reason these laws were done away with is because they each pointed to Jesus. Once Jesus had died for our sins we no longer needed to transfer our sins to a sacrificial lamb because our sins were now transferred to Christ Himself.
God’s holy law, the Ten Commandments, have always been and always will be. His holy law is eternal, never changing. The Bible tells us:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the law.”
“It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:17
“Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin (break the law) because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Romans 6:14, 15
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea we establish the law.” Romans 3:31
“For I am the LORD, I change not…” Malachi 3:6
Would God really change His mind about the Sabbath? Would He change His mind… and then forget to mention it in His Word?
As believers we have an even higher standard to meet. We, as Christ’s followers are to be the shining example in a world that is sinful. We have a great responsibility to uphold the law of God.
It’s like this: Let’s say you are driving along, over the speed limit, and a police officer pulls you over. You know you did wrong and you tell the officer you are sorry. He forgives you and rather than issue a ticket warns you not to speed again. Are you going to pull back out on the road and speed off? Or are you going to obey the speed limit? You are now under the officer’s grace, and you are thankful so you obey the law. The law is still there. You still have broken the law, but you were forgiven.
Christians have a double obligation to keep God’s law! We are to be an example of holy living to the rest of the world.
The fourth argument people use to say that we do not need to keep the fourth commandment is that as sinners it is impossible to keep God’s law so why try. This is a little ridiculous because if you asked someone if it was possible to not kill or not steal or not commit adultery they would say, “Yes!” You see, no one has a problem with the 1st commandment or the 10th commandment or any of the ones in between except the fourth.
No one is perfect. In fact everyone born since the time of Adam and Eve has been born a sinner. The book of Romans tells us that “all have fallen short.” So we all are in need of a Savior.
Since we are all sinners, does that mean we cannot keep the law or should not do our best to keep God’s law? As believers it seems to me that we should do everything we can to keep God’s law and when we fall short we should repent and do our best to do better in the future. The Bible says:
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3
“I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” Hebrews 8:10
“I can do all things through Christ.” Philippians 4:13
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God.” Revelation 14:12
What is so wonderful about having a relationship with Jesus is that it causes us to desire His will. We want to obey Him. Keeping God’s law to the best of our ability is something we do because of the awesome gift He gave to us. Jesus died a horrible death – for me! The least I can do is do what he asks of me as best as I can.
By keeping God’s law, we are showing the world our faith. By obeying God we are demonstrating our faith. The Bible tells us that:
“But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” James 2:20- 24
I find the above passage amazing. As Christians we have an obligation to do more than simply believe there is a God or that Jesus died so that I might have eternal life. For even Satan knows what Jesus has done. Satan does not have the will to obey God’s law – that is why he fell in the first place.
“Do you still think it’s enough just to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that a faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?”
James 2:19-20 (NLT)
Come back tomorrow for Part Three of A Forgotten Promise, part of the If It Were Not So… Series.