Law and Grace

Recently I have been preaching on the life of David. Powerpoint files are available for three sermons

David the servant king, The strength of the King and The character of the King

The last one speaks a fair bit about law and the Christians attitude to it.

One of my hearers has posed me a question, following being challenged during the sermon to read the 10 commandments

Further to your preach on Sunday last I turned to Exodus and read the 10 commadments (no surprises thankfully).

One question if I may…. the commandment re the sabbath does not appear to considered of equal importance in the church today with the other commandments. What is the biblical reason for this exception.

Yet again I found your preach both challenging and encouraging.

I could wax lyrical about the difference between the moral commandments and the ceremonial ones. I could talk about identity markers for the jews, and such like.

Instead, lets take a look at what the bible itself says about the Sabbath post Jesus.

Jesus himself said ‘The Sabbath was made for man, anot man for the Sabbath’ (Mk 2:27) Which gives us a clue. Instead of legalistic rules and being forbidden to do certain things, Jesus is surely hinting at the underlying purpose for the sabbath.

Most Christians today would argue that the principle of a regular pattern of work and rest should be a part of our lives as a way of respecting this commandment. So I guess respect for this commandment is as much about getting home at a decent time from work (at least some of the time!) as it is about attending church.

But there is another meaning altogether given to the Sabbath in Hebrews:- “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also urested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest” (Heb 4:9-11)

So I believe that we are intended also to live in a kind of eternal sabbath of rest from our labours. This clearly refers to our labours to please God. Since he is already pleased with us and has forgiven us, we no longer need to work.

So work for a Christian stops being the curse it so often feels, and because we can now do all things through Christ who gives us strength, we can take on the easy yoke of Jesus. Actually Paul speaks elsewhere of working harder than all the other Apostles with the strength that God gave him.

So to me that all relates to the sabbath, and actually, in many ways under the new covenant the sabbath is not relaxed at all, but like the other commandments becomes a matter of the heart firstly then expressed in our actions.

The mature Christian eminates calm, rest, contentment and peace because he is living in the good of sabbath. He also knows when to take time out- as Jesus frequently did.

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