Was the Lord's Day Sabbath revoked by Jesus?
THOMAS: “No” would be my answer. In Sinclair Ferguson’s fairly recent book on sanctification, I believe there is an appendix on this very issue, which I would certainly recommend.
I think that Jesus put His imprimatur on the principle of one day in seven. We still believe in the operating force of ten commandments and not nine commandments. If there is no Sabbath at all, and there is just a utilitarian need to meet—but it doesn’t really matter when, or where, or how—then the conclusion is that we really only have nine commandments, not ten. There is nothing in the New Testament that even remotely suggests that to be the case. The pattern of the New Testament church was to meet on the first day of the week to commemorate the resurrection. So, the day has changed, but the principle of one in seven has not.
BINGHAM: Why do you think it is that, broadly speaking, there is little esteem for a Sabbath or the Lord’s Day in the church? They essentially have that view you said: “We just need to meet together once a week because it’s probably prudent and helpful.”
THOMAS: I largely suspect that it’s antinomianism. It’s just inconvenient. We have come to view the weekend in such a way that, from about four o’clock on Friday, we’re in freefall to the weekend, and Sunday has become a family day, or a shopping day, or whatever. The answer to that is not swinging 180 degrees in the direction of legalism; the answer to that is to see the gospel nature of the Lord’s Day.
To me, to have a day where I’m free from all of the stuff that occupies me is a blessing. It’s different for me because I’m a minister, so I’m involved in gospel stuff every day of the week. But for most people, to have a day that’s clear of their working week is an immense blessing. Work, and even leisure, can so legalistically bind you that you become a slave to pleasure or work rather than seeing the Lord’s Day as something that frees you up to worship and to be with God’s people.
This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Derek Thomas and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.