There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. —Hebrews 4:9-10
The soul rest that is available in Jesus is nothing less than glorious. Through Jesus Christ, there is a peace that passeth all understanding. It defies the troubles and storms of life and is deep and steadfast in the heart of the child of God. It comes not from our own works or righteousness but from the very presence of the Son of God.
This quarter we continue to build upon the foundation that was laid in Issue 18 concerning the two covenants that God established with mankind. Keeping the Sabbath day holy was one of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament. That was one of the few commandments which was not reinstated in the New Testament. It was a ceremonial, physical observance of a statute that laid the foundation for the blessings of the true Sabbath rest to come in Jesus Christ.
There are many people around the world who cling to the law of the Sabbath. They believe that worshipping on Saturday is required by God. The unfortunate reality is that they miss the essence of the true Sabbath. Many religious groups sin and live in disobedience to God’s Word, but they find security in keeping the Sabbath. We are no longer under the Old Testament dispensation and we have a greater standard of holiness and rest than what was ever given by physically resting and worshipping on the Sabbath.
An important lesson can be gained as we consider those who still today keep the Sabbath. There is great inconsistency in Seventh Day groups who purport to be keeping the law of God. Not only does the Old Testament teach the offering of sacrifices and the burning of incense, it teaches to keep many feast days holy to the Lord. Where is the consistency? With respect to the Sabbath, the Old Testament teaches that the children of Israel were not to leave their “place” on the Sabbath. It declares a penalty of death to all who labored on the Sabbath. Are Seventh Day believers still practicing these things? This is the reason it is vital that we not pick and choose what we will teach from the Old Testament. While we learn much from the Old Covenant, we have a better and more satisfying spiritual experience under the New Covenant.
While we have freedom of labor and freedom of worship in this dispensation, the enemy has taken advantage. Too many people right among the saints are getting so busy they fail to make collective worship with God’s people a priority. Service attendance becomes “hit and miss” depending on the labor of the day. It is very important that we not neglect the practical lessons of rest and worship that were taught in the Old Testament.
More importantly, may we ever strive to enter into the genuine soul rest that is only available in Christ as we seek to humble ourselves and find security in the righteousness of God.
Michael W. Smith