What does the Bible say about the Sabbath?
There is so much confusion about what is the Sabbath Day and are Christians required to keep the fourth commandment, the Sabbath? No, Christians are not required to keep the Sabbath Day like many strict legalistic groups say. This is dangerous. Requiring someone to keep the Sabbath for salvation is salvation by faith and works. This is putting chains back on those who were free from those chains by Christ.
The Sabbath is a day of rest in remembrance of the Lord creating The Universe in six days and then resting on the seventh day. Many strict legalist groups have changed the meaning from rest to all out worship.
We should worship God with our lives every day not just one day of the week. Jesus is our everlasting Sabbath. We don’t have to fight for our salvation. We may rest upon His perfect work on the cross.
Christian quotes about the Sabbath
“The external observance of the Sabbath rest is a Jewish ceremonial ordinance and no longer binding on Christians. Sabbatarians surpass the Jews three times over in a crass and carnal Sabbatarian superstition.” John Calvin
“Saving faith is an immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, resting upon Him alone, for justification, sanctification, and eternal life by virtue of God’s grace.” Charles Spurgeon
“Justification is… a completed fact for the believer; it is not an ongoing process.” John MacArthur
When did God create the Sabbath?
The seventh day of creation, but notice that it was not commanded. It does not say that man is supposed to rest or that man was to follow God’s example.
1. Genesis 2:2-3 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Remember the Sabbath day
When God commanded the Sabbath in Exodus we see that it was a covenant between Him and Israel.
2. Exodus 20:8-10 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.”
3. Deuteronomy 5:12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.”
God rested on the Sabbath
God doesn’t get tired, but He rested on the seventh day. The Sabbath was made for us to rest. Our bodies need rest.
Even in ministry some people are struggling with fatigue and one of the reasons is a lack of rest. We need to rest from our labor to not only renew our body, but our spirit as well. Jesus is the Sabbath. He gave us rest from trying to achieve salvation by our works. The only commandment that was not reaffirmed in the New Testament is the Sabbath. Christ is our rest.
4. Mark 2:27-28 “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.'”
5. Hebrews 4:9-11 “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”
6. Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
7. Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Rest Bible verses)
Keeping the Sabbath
Watch out for people such as some Seventh Day Adventists who teach that you must observe the Saturday Sabbath in order to be saved.
First, salvation is by faith in Christ alone. It’s not kept by things that you do. Second, early Christians met on the first day of the week. They met on Sunday in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday.
8. Acts 20:7 “On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.”
9. Revelation 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet.”
10. 1 Corinthians 16:2 “On the first day of the week, each of you is to set something aside and save in keeping with how he prospers, so that no collections will need to be made when I come.”
Should Christians keep the Sabbath?
In Acts the Jerusalem Council ruled that Gentile Christians were not required to keep the law of Moses.
If Sabbath keeping was required, then it would have been stated by the apostles in Acts 15. Why didn’t the apostles force the Sabbath on the Gentile Christians? They would have if it were required.
11. Acts 15:5-10 “Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.” He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?
12. Acts 15:19-20 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.”
The Sabbath in the Old Testament
Most people who say that the Sabbath is required are not keeping the Sabbath in the same way that it was kept in the Old Testament.
They want to keep the Old Testament law, but they are not keeping the law with the same seriousness. The commandment of the Sabbath required you to do no work. You couldn’t pick up sticks, you couldn’t travel past a Sabbath’s day journey, you couldn’t go get food on the Sabbath, etc.
Many people want to hold on to the Old Testament styled Sabbath, but do not obey the Old Testament styled Sabbath. Many are cooking, travelling, going to the market, doing yard work, and more all on the Sabbath. Where do we draw the line?
13. Exodus 31:14 ‘Therefore you are to observe the Sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.”
14. Exodus 16:29 “Bear in mind that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.”
15. Exodus 35:2-3 “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day must be a Sabbath day of complete rest, a holy day dedicated to the LORD. Anyone who works on that day must be put to death. You must not even light a fire in any of your homes on the Sabbath.”
16. Numbers 15:32-36 “While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.
17. Acts 1:12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
We should not pass judgment on things such as the Sabbath.
Paul never said to the Gentiles that they need to observe the Sabbath. Not even once. But he did say never let anyone pass judgment on you when it comes to the Sabbath.
Many Seventh Day Adventists and other Sabbatarians treat Sabbatarianism as the most important thing in Christianity. There is so much legalism with so many people regarding sabbath keeping.
18. 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. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
19. Romans 14:5-6 “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. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.”
We should worship the every day, not just on the Sabbath
We should worship the Lord every day, not just one day and we should not judge people on what day they choose to worship the Lord. We are free in Christ.
20. Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
21. Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
The Sabbath was only a shadow of things to come
Christ fulfilled the Old Testament covenant. We are no longer under law. Christians are under grace. The Sabbath was only a shadow of things to come – Colossians 2:17. Jesus is our Sabbath and we are justified by faith alone.
22. Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
23. Galatians 4:4-7 “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
24. John 19:30 “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
25. Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”