How do we keep Sunday holy?

Asked by Ri-mo

Can you go out such as shopping, dating and do other entertaining stuff on Sabbath rest? Because Sunday is such a hard day to keep it holy!


Hi Ri-mo

The word Sabbath simply means rest. The idea of Sabbath or rest is an important concept in the bible. In Genesis 1 God creates the world in “six days” and then on the “seventh day” he rested and enjoyed all he had created - a “day” that has not ended. The account in Genesis of creation shows the goal of creation is the Sabbath, God’s rest on the seventh day.

As the bible story unfolds, it speaks of God’s people entering his rest, that is God’s people sharing in the Sabbath with God, rejoiceing and enjoying all that God has made. The aim of the Sabbath commandment (Exodus 20:8-11) is to remind the Israelites of the importance of their relationship with God - the Sabbath was the day to stop work and remember all that God has done and enjoy it.  Unfortunately, in their zeal to keep the law, the Israelites added law upon law to make sure certain what “do no work” meant and so the Sabbath became more about law keeping than it was about rejoicing and enjoying God and his creation.

So when God speaks of the Sabbath, he is talking about people living in a right relationship with him and enjoying all that he has created.

In the New Testament Jesus says he comes not to destroy the law but to fulfil it (Matthew 5). One of those laws was the Sabbath law. Jesus fulfills the Sabbath law by opening the way for us (through his death and resurrection) to enter God’s Sabbath (rest) by enabling us to have a restored relationship with God. Those who are Christian (who have put their trust in Jesus) are in God’s Sabbath now and always so there is now no need for one special day each week.  In fact, in a sense, every day is now a Sabbath day to be kept holy. The important thing to know is that we no longer need to keep the Sabbath as in the Old Testament nor are we required to do anything special on any particular day. Rather every day we are to live for God.

However, the idea of putting aside a day each week to focus on all that God has done is a really good idea. In many traditions that day is Sunday when Christians go to church. Its a day when Christians gather together to especially rejoice in their new relationship with God and their new relationships with each other. Its a day when we remind ourselves of all that God has done for us and encourage each other to stand firm is Jesus and look forward to the day when he will come back and we will fully enter God’s Sabbath.

So let me encourage you not to think on any day as being particularly holy but think of every day as an opportunity to rejoice in God and all he has done. This means that when you shop or when you date or when you go out for entertainment, you do so in such a way that brings glory to God and enables you to rejoice in all he has done. And also make sure you meet with other Christians on the Sabbath day (Sunday) and rejoice with them also.

I hope this helps you understand what the Sabbath is about.

Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au

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