Day 8: Sabbath & Sanctification

How far we have come from keeping the Sabbath holy as a nation and as individuals.  When once stores were closed on Sundays, now they are open 24/7.  Our bodies need rest.  Even the non-believers “lives” for the weekend.  Why?  Because it is a time to break from the mundane, routine tasks the week gives to us.  But for followers of Christ, the Sabbath is so much more and is part of God’s history from beginning to end.  Note what R. C. Sproul says in his book The Holiness of God.

In Christian history, the sacred time of the Sabbath has three distinct orientations.  The first is the commemoration of God’s work of creation.  The second is the celebration of God’s work of redemption.  The third is the celebration of the future promise of the consummation of redemption when we enter our Sabbath rest in heaven.  Thus the whole scope of redemptive history, from start to finish, is made sacred in the observance of the Sabbath (151).

Not accepting the work of His redemption leads us to believe we are God and He is not.  When we don’t keep the Sabbath we are telling God we do not need or want that part of the His sanctification process.  Remembering the Sabbath forces us to acknowledge He alone controls the universe including our day in and day out activities.  It allows for us to rest in His sovereignty and experience the joy of His presence in all circumstances and to focus on the eternal things instead of the earthly.  Marva Dawn in her book Keeping the Sabbath Holy: ceasing, resting, embracing, feasting states:

The greatest result of Sabbath resting is the opportunity to know the presence of God, no matter what our present circumstances might be.  We do not need to rely on our own strength to deal with the tragic.  Rather, spiritual rest gives us the freedom to accept the fact that human happiness is fleeting and to trust that there will be enough grace to carry us through all tragedy.  We might be experiencing a time of sadness and mourning, but our faith assures us that God is with us in our sorrow to bring us the Joy of his presence.

Instead of categorizing everything (especially God) into neat little boxes limited to our own finite understanding, we are given the ability to live with paradox, to have faith in what we cannot see, to deal constructively with the tensions of contradictions.  In short, spiritual rest enables us to let God be God.  When we cease from all our labors to control or to understand, there is time in our space for the eternal (61-62).

Lord help us today to keep Your Sabbath holy.  Help us to remember You alone are sovereign and hold all things together in Christ.  May we rest in Your presence and experience Your joy as You give us eyes to see Your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!