Pristine Grace

Who Keeps the Sabbath?
Hebrews 4:3
by Don Fortner

     We do not yet keep the Sabbath perfectly, because we do not yet trust our Savior perfectly. We do not yet perfectly rest in him, but we do keep the Sabbath truly and sincerely by faith. Our Sabbath observance is not a carnal, literal thing. We do not keep a Sabbath day. God forbid that we should ever do so! But all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ keep the Sabbath by faith, because we have entered into his rest. "We which have believed do enter into rest". That word, "rest", means "Sabbath".

     I have told you before that the Sabbath day was ordained by God in the ceremonial worship of the Jews for two reasons:

  1. It was a symbol of God’s rest after the creation of the world and
  2. It was a worshipful remembrance of Israel’s redemption from Egypt. The essence of Sabbath observance was self-denial and consecration to God. This is exactly the way we observe the Sabbath spiritually by faith in Christ, not one day in seven, but all the days of our lives. The believer’s life is a keeping of the Sabbath!

     The Lord Jesus Christ gives rest to every sinner who comes to him by faith (Matt. 11:28). In the mind and purpose of God, the works of redemption and grace were finished before the foundation of the world, but this blessed rest of salvation must be apprehended and entered into by faith and it is written, "That some must enter therein". God has an elect people who must come to Christ by faith and enter into his rest. What is that rest which Christ gives to sinners when they come to him by faith? He gives us the blessed rest of complete pardon (Isa. 43:25; Eph. 1:6), perfect reconciliation (Col. 1:20-21), absolute security (John 10:27-30), and his providential care (Rom. 8:28). Coming to Christ by faith, we find rest. In this way we keep the Sabbath, but our Sabbath of faith is more than a ceasing from our own works and a remembering of our redemption. It also involves, in its essence, the consecration of our lives to God our savior (Matt. 11:29-30). We keep the Sabbath of faith and find rest for our souls when we willfully, deliberately, wholeheartedly surrender to Christ as our Lord. Keeping the Sabbath is more than going to church on Sunday and keeping one day in seven for religious exercises. It is ceasing from our works, trusting Christ alone for acceptance with God, and consecrating ourselves entirely to Him. In doing so, we find rest!