“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8)
Why is keeping the Lord’s Day holy glorious?
* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is an opportunity to please and glorify God in obedience to His commandments.
* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is a privilege and blessing of the Covenant of Grace.
* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it can remind us that the Lord Jesus created it, kept it, and fulfilled it, and gave it to believers as a way of imitating Him.
* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is an opportunity for growth and maturity in Christ.
* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it can be a time well spent that helps us not to live overly busy and distracted lives.
* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is a way of joyfully, peacefully, and graciously witnessing publicly to whom it is you belong, and to whom it is you ultimately submit!
* Keeping the Lord’s Day holy is glorious because it is part of our confessional heritage as particularly Reformed Christians.
- Keeping the Lord’s Day Holy is glorious because it is a privilege and blessing of the Covenant of Grace.
While the Old Covenant saints enjoyed a blessed holy day on the last day of the week, New Covenant saints that confess and believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead are blessed to keep the Lord’s Day on the first day of the week (Rev. 1:9-10). It is a privilege and blessing of the Covenant of Grace to have a Christian Sabbath that is also the Lord’s Day. This is a particular privilege and blessing of the Covenant of Grace because only God’s people who are recipients of His saving grace can properly keep the Lord’s Day holy from a pure heart (Matt. 5:8; cf. 1 Tim. 1:5).
God gave the Old Covenant saints the last day of the week as the Lord’s Day or Sabbath to point them to the Promised Messiah and Hope that was to come. Now that Christ has come and has been resurrected according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Luke 24:25-27; 44-47), the Lord’s Day or Christian Sabbath is on the first day. This first day of the week reminds us that we are part of a new creation, the first fruits of the resurrection in Christ Jesus—Hallelujah!! (1 Cor. 15:20ff). Although the day has changed now for the commandment to be kept (from last day to first day), the commandment remains the same in substance and in the goal to promote the glory of God and the good of His people!
The Westminster Larger Catechism, Q&A 116 teaches us: What is required in the fourth commandment? A. The fourth commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath,(1) and in the New Testament called The Lord’s day.(2) (1)Deut. 5:12-14; Gen. 2:2,3; 1 Cor. 16:1,2; Acts 20:7; Matt. 5:17,18; Isa. 56:2,4,6,7 (2)Rev. 1:10
We should reiterate again that believers in Christ can never keep any of God’s laws in order to merit salvation or the favor of God (that is as a covenant of works), but we can keep it holy and set apart from all other days with a sincere heart that desires to please God. As God’s people in Christ, it is a privilege and blessing to be those who are set apart for the LORD’s own chosen possession to be a holy people, and to be different from the world in order to glorify God (Titus 2:11-14; 1 Peter 2:9-12): “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable…they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12; cf. Matt. 5:13-16).
What a blessing the Lord has given to us as a gift this special day! What a mercy and kindness of God that we as believers can have one day in seven to freely honor and joyfully worship God, and that we can be reminded of our everlasting rest that is yet to come (Heb. 4:9-10), that we can worship and serve Christ, knowing we are united to Him in his death and resurrection (Col. 3:1-4), and that we can receive the means that the Spirit has provided for our growth in Word, Sacrament, prayer, and fellowship (cf. Acts 2:41-37).
Suggested Questions to Ponder and Ask Yourself to Help You to Keep the Lord’s Day Holy:
Is this activity on the Lord’s Day going to glorify God above all things? / Is this activity a work of necessity or mercy that I lovingly desire to do to love God and neighbor? / Is this activity going to hinder me (or others) from publicly worshipping God and attending to any calls to worship that God calls me to through his ordained servants? / Is this activity loving and the best use of my time for myself, my family, my guests, my neighbors, and those who look to me for leadership? / Is this activity going to be consistent with God’s Word, and particularly His clear teaching on how he desires the Lord’s Day to be remembered? / Is this activity work that I normally engage it on other days, and can it wait? / Is this activity a distraction from my taking time to grow up in God’s Word? / Is this activity something that will not be conducive to remembering what I learned in the morning worship sermon and meditating upon it and hiding in my heart so that I won’t sin against God? / Is this activity properly living a godly example before a broken and lost world?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I want to keep the Lord’s Day holy, please help me. Grant me your wisdom and discernment. Amen
In Christ’s love,
(To read the entire study on why keeping the Lord’s Day is glorious, click here: From Your Pastor.Why Keeping the Lords Day is Glorious.March 2016)