Commandment #4: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)

This is probably the most misinterpreted of the Ten Commandments. In essence, God was telling His people that they were to keep this day, the Sabbath, as holy to Him.

Sabbath in the Old Covenant

Sabbath was originally given to the Jewish people. It really pointed to a future day when Jesus would die on a cross. In the Old Testament, man approached God on the basis of animal sacrifice. He fell short.

Sabbath in the New Covenant

When Jesus came, however, a new covenant was established:

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:9–10 NIV; see also Matthew 11:28).

Those who are struggling for God’s approval and trying to be righteous in their own strength need to rest in the finished work of Christ, realizing that God loves them unconditionally. Therefore, to keep the Sabbath day in modern times is to trust not in what we do for God, but in what He has done for us by sending Jesus to die on the cross in our place.

That does not mean that we should neglect setting aside time to remember God and to thank Him for all that He has done. In our modern society, where we work so hard for success, many just don’t have time in their busy schedules for spiritual things—until a crisis hits. A time of spiritual refreshing and renewal with the Lord should be a priority, not an occasional event.

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