Are we obligated to keep the Sabbath today?
If you are saved “by grace” through faith in Jesus Christ without keeping the Sabbath do you need to keep the Sabbath to be saved? No.
Do you need to keep the Sabbath to be Spiritual or spiritually grow? No.
Jesus kept the Sabbath? True, but for what reason? He was born under the law and kept all the law, if he violated even the smallest point he would have been disqualified to be the Messiah.
Paul kept the Sabbath. True, but for what reason? He and the other apostles did not attend the synagogue to worship on the Sabbath by obligation under the law. The reason - this was the best way to reach their Jewish brethren. So they went into the Jewish synagogues to preach Jesus Christ to the Jews on their Sabbath day (Acts.13:14-43); Paul’s concept of evangelism (1 Cor.9:19-20). Acts 17:2 "And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures." Acts 18:4, 11 "And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath."
There is not one place in the New Testament that requires the church to keep the Sabbath AFTER the CROSS when the new covenant of grace was introduced.
Most of those who make an issue of the Sabbath day do not keep the SABBATH laws according to the Bible, they change it. Look at Leviticus 23:32, where the Sabbath is to be kept from SUNSET to SUNSET, or Jeremiah 17:21, do no work: and they are to stay in one place (Neh.10:31; 13:15-22; 28:9-1; Exod. 16:29), stay at home. If traveling, no long walks either, and they are to carry no loads. Jer .17:21-22 no gardening. In other words the Sabbath means to rest not worship.
Furthermore in the Sabbath law requirement according to the Bible is to work 6 days a week, not 5. Do you work for 6 days? Exod. 35:2: “Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.” Exod. 31:15 “Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. 'Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death” (also Num. 15:32-36).
To violate the Sabbath meant death. You cannot separate the punishment from the law if you break it. When have you last seen someone stoned for breaking the Sabbath? So they do not keep the law of God as they claim. You cannot have grace replace the punishment and not the law itself. So keeping the Sabbath the wrong way equals not keeping the Sabbath at all. Lets be honest, imperfect law keeping is not proper law keeping. Since when does God say good intentions count in keeping the law! It’s falling short no matter if one has good intentions or not. Obedience to the Law never saved anyone; and obedience to the Sabbath cannot save or preserve a New Testament believer. The fact that so many want to keep the Sabbath shows them to want to be under the Old covenant instead of the New.
The Sabbath was given as a sign between God and the nation of Israel (Exodus 31:13) that he personally brought out of Egypt. The scripture specifically says Deut.5: 3 “The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us.” It began with the Israelites of the exodus out of Egypt. Exod.31:17 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever.” Each covenant had a sign (seal) accompany it, this is the seal of the covenant made with Moses, it is part of the Old covenant. We have two main different covenants, the Sabbath was the seal to the Mosaic covenant. The Bible teaches that Jesus took away the first that He might establish the second, meaning they are not the same nor a continuation (Heb. 10:5-9); Paul made it clear “now the righteousness of God is revealed without the aid of the law” (Rom. 3:21-22). The law is not part of the New Covenant, it is about a righteous sinless man, God becoming flesh and dying for our sins.
What is the Old covenant? Let me cite just a few Scriptures:
Exodus 34:27-28: " And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments." the 10 are the old Covenant.
Ex. 31:23 "The Lord said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. And he wrote upon the tablets the words of the covenant, the TEN COMMANDMENTS." the 10 are the old Covenant.
Deuteronomy 4:13: "So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone." ." the 10 are the Old Covenant.
Deuteronomy 9:9- V11 "And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant." the 10 are the Old Covenant.
1 Kings 8:9, 21: 2 Chronicles 6:11: "And there I have set the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord, which He made with the sons of Israel." The Bible teaches that the tablets are the old covenant.
The writer of Hebrews (8:7-8) “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Vs.8 Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” Heb. 8:13 In that He says, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
Paul describes the Mosaic covenant in 2 Cor.3: 7 He identifies the Ten Commandments with the covenant "done away" in Christ." He calls it a ministry of death, written and engraved on stones. And then explains the ministry of the Spirit for the New Testament believer.
Once the “10 commandments “ are identified as the Mosaic (old covenant) we can understand why it is “done away” we are not obligated to keep it – we can have a better, superior covenant, a NEW COVENANT, one that operates by grace and not law.
Another point that needs to be answered - is the Sabbath a moral law (like the other 9 commandments written on the tablets)? An example of a moral law, is-- you shall not kill- this means there is no day that you are allowed to kill, no exceptions (just for clarification murder is not the same in meaning), killing is wrong on any day of the week. If the law said you cannot kill anyone except for one day then this would no longer be a moral law, but a ceremonial law.
The Sabbath is not meant to be the set day to worship above every other day of the week. It does not say to only worship God on a certain day. The Sabbath is the day of rest, it is a verb meaning "to cease, stop, desist; to rest" (sabbaton means rest). Can you rest on other days? Of course- then its not moral, its ceremonial and it was part of the old covenant that was done away with by Christ whom you are to have faith in.
Jesus never commanded anyone to keep the Sabbath after his resurrection and none of His apostles ever commanded anyone to keep it either. Not once in the New Testament teachings are we told to keep the Sabbath. There is no continuing command for the church to meet for worship on Friday night or Saturday before 6 at night, None. Without any exception, every mention of Sabbath keeping in the book of Acts is connected with Jewish worship on that day, not Church or a Christian keeping of law.
Paul who was once a strict keeper of the law writes in Col. 2:16-17 “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, (this means any Sabbath) which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” If you have Christ you do not need to return to the inferior shadows.
The Bible commands believers to gather together regularly for their corporate worship but the day of the week is strictly optional, it is a personal choosing. It can be Monday, Wednesday or even Sunday. And yes, it can even by Saturday. But it is not restricted to Saturday. By understanding what the difference in the covenants are we can keep from being confused and not become legalistic but grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.