LEGALISM AND THE SABBATH DAY
The fourth commandment states:
REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY. (Exodus 20:8).
Is it possible to keep the Lord's day holy? The simple answer, I believe, is no.
Let me explain.
This commandment which deals with the keeping of the Sabbath day is part of the Decalogue - the Ten Commandments, and is therefore to be treated in exactly the same manner as the other nine.
The chief rule for the interpretation of scripture, is scripture itself, so, I will endeavour to explain my meaning by the Book.
The first text I would like to quote is:
THEREFORE BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW THERE SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED IN HIS SIGHT: FOR BY THE LAW IS THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN. (Romans 3: 20).
This text tells us that no matter what we do, we are utterly unable to keep God's law.
So bearing in mind that the fourth commandment is also part of God's law we ought to know that we cannot keep it.
Why then is it taken for granted and taught that we can actually keep the Lord's day?
This is pure legalism.
We do not and we can not keep the Sabbath Day holy.
While we do our best to keep it holy it is vital that we understand that we cannot. We are saved by grace - won for us by Christ's sacrifice. He kept the law for us.
We have a holy principle in our heart from the Holy Ghost which gives us a love for God and his law - and we desire to keep his law, by faith, which worketh by love. This is acceptable to God.
So when we read the following text we know that this high standard of God is too high for us to reach, but Christ has done it on our behalf.
IF THOU TURN THY FOOT FROM THE SABBATH, FROM DOING THY PLEASURE ON MY HOLY DAY; AND CALL THE SABBATH A DELIGHT, THE HOLY OF THE LORD, HONOURABLE; AND SHALT HONOUR HIM, NOT DOING THINE OWN WAYS, NOR FINDING THINE OWN PLEASURE, NOR SPEAKING THINE OWN WORDS: (Isaiah 58: 13).
The true spiritual desire is accepted for Christ's sake and is an evidence that the Holy Spirit resides in our heart.
Let us never imagine that we are keeping any part of God's law - we only break it continually.
There are two ways of keeping the Lord's day - by our own strength, or by God's.
One is right and one is wrong.