Friends of mine are honestly amazed that Christians from the other denominations cannot ‘see’ the Sabbath. On the face of it consistency would indicate that that if we are looking to obey the commandments then we should be doing all of them and not leaving our number four. This would be consistent and correct if God meant the human race to live from Moses and the laws. But He does not. This was never the plan. The plan as Jesus announced and Paul declared is Christ in you or as Paul said in another place, ‘Christ is our life.’ An Adventist theologian once described the new covenant as ‘new covenant theology.’ It’s not ‘a theology.’ It’s what God in Christ has done for the human race. Most Adventists don’t know that there is a new covenant. Those who have heard of it view it with suspicion and rightly so. If the new covenant is God’s living way – and it is – there is no valid reason for the existence of the SDA church. The law was a schoolmaster to lead to Christ who would be incarnated in us as our firstly our life and secondly as our righteousness. The new creation as distinct from the old – which all Believers should have given up living in – is Christ come in our flesh. This is the resurrected Jesus manifesting as our life. It is the spirit of sonship. But if you live in the law you don’t live in the spirit and you do not see or understand the glory of the Christ manifest as Bill, Mary, Jane and the church. Let’s be clear. Today you have both peace, rest and life without measure seeking to be realised in you. The Sabbath has no relevance to Christians today because Jesus is our Sabbath and our new creation life. Below are the reasons why the Sabbath is not only irrelevant and a dead albatross around the necks of the mariners of life who could be living I the Spirit of Christ instead of living in the law.
o The Sabbath as part of the law of Moses joins us to the old covenant. It places us in Adam and outside of Christ. In the old covenant it was ‘obey and live.’ In the new covenant it is live and obey. Today Christ is our life. Christ lives in us. He is our grace, our righteousness and more to the point – our life. The life of the universe, the universal logos lives in you impart all that He is into you. In the new covenant we do not live from religious rules or holy rites. We live from life. This is the person of Jesus and the presence of Father and Holy Spirit in our being.
o The Sabbath is a law of Moses. It applied to Jews and no one else. Sabbath keeping was not mandated at creation, in the Garden or following the fall. The Hebrews received it as part of the law – and unfortunately because they refused to the invitation of intimacy with God at Sinai and opted for fear and separation. The notion that The Sabbath is forever comes from Ellen White mythology and not from the word of God.
o The Sabbath maintains us in separation and the old covenant alienation that Adam chose. The Sabbath today is Jesus in person. In Jesus we are continually at rest. We have been delivered from self-justification and from every attempt to gain union with God through our own efforts. We have the at-one-ment in Jesus. The gift of God is eternal life now and forever. In Jesus we have been given union with God. This union is always ours, always applicable and is the divine rest from human restlessness. Seeking such rest in the Sabbath or anything else dries the soul and separates us from the rest that is ours in fellowship with the trinity.
o The Sabbath is an element of the law. As such it immerses us in all of the law and places us under the curse of the law. The law of Moses is a sub-section of the law of sin and death that flowed from Adam’s eating of the fruit of the death tree. Not only are we cursed with non-life through remaining separated from God. Sabbath-keeping keeps us locked in the law of sin and death when we have an inheritance in Jesus - the law of the Spirit of Life. The latter is not a list of rules, it’s not Christian values and religious behaviors and it is not the Ten Commandments. The law of the spirit of life is His life as ours and Christ’s life becoming the life of the world.
o Sabbath-keeping ties us to Moses and to Adam. Paul assures us that the letter of Moses kills. Captivity in Adam’s regime denies us union with God and more. We are retained under the usurped authority of Satan stumbling along under the curse of sin and death, vitiated by separation from God and open to demonic influence and the doctrines of demons.
o Sabbath-keeping maintains us in the law and in the old creation of Adam and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Tied to the law we can erect a system based on these principles of pseudo-godliness. Spirituality carried out in the knowledge of good and evil is what white magic is to black. As self-impressed as we may be with our work and our system it’s source is iniquity and not the only God.
o In practice The Sabbath becomes a false grace. We know that we cannot shape up and be absolutely righteous and our hearts know that we cannot keep the law – even with Jesus’ help. So we quiet our anxiety and second-coming terror with the Sabbath and live in the illusion that we have appeased god, made a reasonable attempt to be righteous and hope that we are ready. Sadly in this Sabbath-grace we are not. We are covered only in Christ and covered in Him completely.
o The saddest impact of Sabbath-keeping is that as a false grace it become a false christ. We have positioned ourselves to look to the Sabbath, in reality to the law, for the fullness of life that only Christ can provide. In doing so we have muffled our relationship to Jesus and denied the inflow of His unfettered spirit by our attachment to Sabbath and the law.
o Books have been written that tell of the restorative benefits of Sabbath keeping to the body and soul. These are entirely mythical. We would be better off to have a barbeque or spend the morning surfing than in a contrived religiosity that is the child of law-mongering. As a child and youth I found these observances tiring and irritating. Many Adventists do but they dare not relinquish them for fear of missing out. You have a Sabbath in Christ, A Sabbath rest in Christ and a Sabbath life in Christ. You are guaranteed an eternal life courtesy of Jesus.
o As an externality the Sabbath cannot restore the spirit or the soul. Only Jesus can do that. In Jesus we have a SABBATH LIFE. Sabbath-keeping introduces a sacred/secular dichotomy that does not belong in the new testament age. In the Kingdom all aspects of life and activity are life-giving and capable of receiving spirit and life. You are incarnated with the life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As such you have authority and opportunity to multiply rest and life to every circumstance and every day of the week.
o Sabbath-keeping ties us to the law and denies the life of the Spirit. As such we are dead even as we speak of life. More insidious is the fact that in having the law as our husband we deny the spirit of Christ come in our flesh. As a result we deny ourselves spirit and life. Not only we are dead men walking and talking – we prevent the flowering of the fruits and gifts of the spirit and confine ourselves to a form of godliness while lacking the power of God.
‘You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?’ Gal 1.1-5