Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marsha's Musings: A Sabbath Rest (Hebrews 4:1-13 ESV)

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:1-13 ESV)

This passage is confusing to me.  It is confusing because there are differing views on it.  Sabbathtarians  use this passage to say that we are bound to keep the Sabbath and we are in disobedience if we don't.  

Some use it to argue Saturday worship services over Sunday worship.

Others say it is pointing to the fact that a work's salvation is not necessary because Christ has already done the work of salvation on our behalf, allowing us to enter into rest just as God rested on the seventh day.  They say that the Sabbath Day rest of the Old Testament is used as an example and it was a foreshadow of the rest from meritorious works.

Some say that the Sabbath commandment is more of a memorial tucked inbetween the other nine commandments.  All the other commandments are "Thou shalt not..." with the exception of "Honor your mother and father...".   And then you have "Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy."

The argument to that is, if all the other commandments are binding today, why not Sabbath keeping?

I've been in both camps and frankly, I think the jury is still out on this.  I don't think we will know for sure until we reach heaven whether or not this is teaching a dogmatic adherance to Sabbath Day keeping or if it's simply using the Sabbath Day as an example of what salavation is to be...a resting from our own works to merit salvation and resting in Christ's work instead.  Certainly this later part is taught quite plainly here, but I'm not sure about the former.

I'm not saying that a Sabbath...a period of rest one day in seven and a time of  worship isn't necessary.  I'm just saying that I'm not sure this passage is teaching that.  

I'm thankful to God for the gift of His Son who did the work of making peace between me and God and for bringing me into His Sabbath Rest so that I don't feel the need to try to work to earn merit with God.  I think this is the main meaning of this passage of Scripture.

No comments: