Speaking the Truth in Love

The Christian Sabbath?

Carrying tablets engraved with God’s own handwriting, Moses descends from Mount Horeb and commands Israel to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exod. 20:8). Some denominations maintain that this commandment is still in effect. One church has even named itself after belief in the seventh day as the true day of Christian worship. Supposedly, the early church met on Saturday, but false teachers have changed the day of worship to Sunday.

However, Colossians 2 exposes the fallacy of Sabbatarian doctrine. Paul says that Jesus has “canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (v. 14). The old law condemns its adherents as sinners but offers no means of true atonement. Therefore, doing what the law could never do (Rom. 8:3), God sends his own Son to die in the place of sinners and release them from the legal requirements handed down at Sinai.

If the cross cancels the legal demands of the old covenant, are Christians still bound by them? Of course not! Paul urges the Colossians to “let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:16-17).

There’s no such thing as a “Christian sabbath.” Along with new moon celebrations, festivals such as Passover or the Feast of Tabernacles, and dietary restrictions, sabbath observance has become obsolete. New Testament Christians worship on Sunday, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

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