God’s third law has a double meaning. “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” (Exodus 20:8) has both a temporary and permanent application. It was a temporary restriction of the Old Covenant, binding only until the time of Christ, that Saturdays were to be considered “no work” days. The Hebrew word Shabbath actually means “rest.” Israelites were to remember God’s creation week and rest as he rested on the seventh day.
The New Testament removed the “day” restrictions. Christians may hold their public worship services on the day of their choice. Most worshiping communities chose Sunday, the day on which the Father created light, the day on which Christ rose from the dead, the day on which the Holy Spirit came with power on Pentecost.
The Third Commandment’s application for us today might simply be summarized, “Remember Sabbath,” i.e., remember and appreciate the sweet joy, peace, and rest we enjoy because of the gospel message of the forgiveness of our sins. Remembering Sabbath means prizing the Word of God; reading and hearing it joyfully, regularly, and eagerly; celebrating your membership in God’s family; and raising up words and songs of worship.
Here’s how to remember Sabbath: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16).
In Christ Jesus you will find your Sabbath, your rest.
Pastor Mark Jeske brought the good news of Jesus Christ to viewers of Time of Grace for 18 years. He is currently the senior pastor at St. Marcus Church, a thriving multicultural congregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mark is the author of several books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics. He and his wife, Carol, have four adult children.
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