What Is the Sabbath For?
Whenever we look at one of God’s commands, we’re always facing two dangers—one to the left of us, one to the right of us. One is to be too permissive when it comes to that command, and the other is to be too restrictive, meaning we’re adding things to what God has said in his Word. We don’t want to add to his Word. We don’t want to take away from his Word. We want to observe his Word, and the Sabbath is no exception.
In this addition to the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, Guy Prentiss Waters provides a study of the Sabbath, from creation to consummation.
Certainly in the New Testament, when we see Jesus speaking to the Pharisees, the leaders of his day among the people of God, their error was to add to what God had given in his Word and to make a command that was supposed to be joyful into a great burden. In our day, probably permissiveness—not doing what God has called us to do—is the greater concern.
How do we steer clear of both of those? The first step is to remember what this day is for. God has given the Sabbath to us for our good. It’s a day of resting—holy resting—in the Lord. We have the privilege of coming into the presence of our heavenly Father through Christ, by the Spirit, in company with his people. And when we catch sight of what this day is, how special it is, what a privilege it is to take up this work that’s going to help everything else fall into its proper place.
Guy Prentiss Waters is the author of The Sabbath as Rest and Hope for the People of God.
It is tempting to rush into discussions about what to do (and not to do) on the Sabbath. But before we get there, there are a couple of questions that we need to ask.
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In the creation account, God makes the world and everything in it in six days. A seventh day follows that is set apart from the previous six in some important ways.
Guy Waters discusses God's original purpose for the Sabbath, how the idea of Sabbath rest recurs throughout the Old and New Testaments, and whether the Sabbath is relevant for Christians today.