Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. I feel that your insistence on Sabbath keeping is an affront to the liberty of the gospel of Christ.  I fail to see why Christians ‘have to’ keep the ritual law as given in the Pentateuch, but I agree that the moral law is unchangeable.  As Christians, we must love God and our neighbors, for ‘love is the fulfilling of the law.’
 
A. We respect your right to have an opinion, but we also have an obligation to clarify the issues.

First of all, the Sabbath is not a part of a ritualistic law. It is one of the basic Ten Commandments (Ex. 20; Deut. 5). When a young man asked Jesus how he could enter into eternal life, Jesus replied: “Keep the commandments.” Jesus then proceeded to quote several of the commandments of the Decalogue to show which law He meant (see Matt. 19:16-19).

Since the Sabbath is one of those Decalogue commandments, the breaking of which is sin (I John 3:4), a person who has knowledge of the true Sabbath must observe it to avoid sinning.

Jesus Himself talked about the liberty of the gospel. He said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Not understanding what Jesus meant, the Pharisees retorted that the “were never in bondage to any man” (verse 33). So Jesus answered them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin [transgression of the law] is the servant of sin” (verse 34).

Some of the Pharisees were indeed in bondage to sin. And anyone who knowingly breaks God’s Sabbath is committing a sin and is, therefore, in spiritual bondage.

It is fulfilling God’s law of love to keep the Sabbath. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandment: and his commandments [including the Sabbath] are not grievous: (I John 5:3). Jesus said: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

In summary, obeying God by keeping His Sabbath shows God we love Him. It is an unchanging moral law – not a ritualistic law.
 
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