Is Sabbath Keeping Laboring under a Curse?

We continue to deal with the question: "Is the person who seeks to remember God's Holy Day laboring under a curse?" The ex-Adventist challenger we are dealing with infers this is the case, and he mixes many statements concerning righteousness by faith with the deceptive idea that the Sabbath DAY was but a shadow that has passed away.

We will continue-- his remarks are in black, while my comments are in blue.

He states: "In all of the religions of man, he never can, by works, enter into rest."

But obedience from a heart redeemed and indwelt by the Holy spirit is an absolute essential. For if we sin --[sin is defined and recognized by the commandments. Romans 7:7] If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgments and fiery indignation, which will devour all the rebellious. Heb. 10:26

Also the Bible tells us there is no rest nor peace for the wicked. (Isaiah 57:20) But Psalms 119.165 says "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them."

Does the challenger really think he can enter God's rest in the eternal kingdom while despising the sign of that rest here upon earth? Can a person who willfully turns His back on God's command to put aside earthly, secular things on the day God said to remember and rest in HIM, think he can then rest in Christ 7/24?

He continues: "To cease from works is the only possible ground of entering into rest. God ceased from His works of creation, and entered into that rest, all being finished. How much of this creative work that brought on this rest did Adam and Eve contribute? Nothing, of course, and none was possible or needed."

The writer is implying that the texts: "God rested on the seventh day from all His works... so he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:4,16) means we are to stop doing "dead works" of legalism.

Did God cease from dead works of legalism or did He cease from His weekly activities? It is absurd to think that God ceased from "sinful deeds" or from "dead works". God ceased on the seventh day from His creation work, so believers are to cease on the same day from their labors. This is a confirmation of the 4th commandment! So why don't we put aside our work on the seventh-day and rest?

No, Adam and Eve did not bring work to the Sabbath, they rested. Then they worked in the garden the six days, dressing and keeping it according to God's command.

Jesus doesn't say we must cease from ALL works of obedience. In John 14.12 he says:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the WORKS that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

And Paul himself told the Gentiles in Acts 26:20 "that they should repent and turn to God, and do WORKS meet for repentance."

So even though we can never be justified by our own works Eph. 2.9
"Not of works, lest any man should boast... " yet the very next verse tells us we DO NOT CEASE FROM WORKS
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for GOOD WORKS." In fact, Titus 2:14 tells us Christ "purifies unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

But now the challenger mixes several thoughts to confuse the issue: "And did not Christ finish His work of redemption? And has not God raised Him from the dead? "Who, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of God." All heaven concurs that the work of redemption is completed. The Redeemer has sat down, and God has crowned Him with glory and honor. All heaven shouts,
"Worthy the Lamb!"

God rested on the seventh-DAY from His work of creating man, and God rested upon the seventh-DAY from His work of redeeming man. But in neither situation did God rest forever after.

Note when the people of God sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. It is not till they enter the heavenly paradise! Rev. 15:2-4

Yet the challenger infers we've already been redeemed from the face of this earth and are already in the presence of Christ like Adam and Eve were before sin? And all is finished. Redemption is complete. That is not truth!

Revelation shows plainly that Christ's work IS NOT FINISHED, HE IS NOT YET CROWNED KING OF KINGS. There was and is yet considerable work to do before the story of redemption is finished. It will not be finished until IT IS FINISHED. We are still in a world of sin, we are still not in paradise with Christ.

There is yet a tremendous battle before us in which the dragon seeks to turn the worship of the whole world upon himself. He is very busy telling God's professed people to rest and sleep so he can catch them totally off guard and unprepared.
The deceptive message says, "Rest, go to sleep, rest in false assurance that everything is fine. But God says in
Mark 13.33-35 "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, Watch ye therefore: for you know not when the master of the house is coming back..Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

The challenger throws back his legalistic twist on obedience: "Consider the problem of anyone who, in face of this might say, "No! that finished redemption is not enough; it alone can never give me peace with God; I must add my good works, my righteousness, my perfection of character, etc."

The common attack is to always mix legalism with obedience. To do this they are saying character development is not essential to the Christian life. Yet, to deny the need for character development, is to deny the work of the Holy Spirit. And to continue to deny the work of the Holy Spirit results in eternal lose of salvation.

Christ is to be to us all wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. But let no one imagine that the gaining of eternal life through the finished sacrifice of Christ, will involve no struggle, no conflict. There will be constant battles against our own inclinations and hereditary and cultivated tendencies. The apostle declares, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:12,13)

We are continually to be found fighting the good fight of faith. We are to behold Christ, to study his character in the light of his word with fervent prayer, dwelling upon his attributes and virtues, until we shall become changed into his image. We are, by "beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Cor. 3:18)

"For God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing and I will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughter, ..Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor. 7:1)

The rebellious will never enter heaven, those that refuse to submit to God's will and insist on their own, doing things their own way will be like Cain.

Cain and Abel were both worshipers of God, both came with their offerings to worship God. Cain brought his own works, Abel obeyed the will of God. Cain's works brought him nothing but shame, but Abel was accepted by God. I won't doubt if Cain accused Abel of being a legalist for following God's exact commands. But it was not Abel who was relying upon his own works, he was obeying God. It was Cain who was relying on his own works, doing his own thing, setting aside God's commands so he could establish his own traditions and expecting God to smile upon him.

Now the challenger tries to prove his legalistic charges by asking: "Does God give us any lesson in the shadow (Sabbath) to inform us how He views this trying to supplement His perfected work -- which the shadow pointed forward to?
Remember the man caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath -- early in their sojourn in the wilderness? (Num. 15:32) Inquiry was made, what should be done to him. The Lord said, "The man shall surely be put to death."

And why was he put to death? Because he went out to gather wood in direct defiance, willfully and deliberately violating God's call to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. This was not a sin of thoughtlessness, or imagined necessity, or ignorance. It was presumption. But now our challenger says to obey the Sabbath is presumption?

Men may presumptuously deny the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the finished work of Christ.

People who presumptiously push back the Holy Spirit when he convicts them of sin and wants to write God's law in their hearts are grieving the Holy Spirit away.

Even though Christ's sacrificial work for our redemption is finished, His work is by no means finished. He is working now to change the hearts and lives of people. And the Sabbath is still the sign that God sanctifies!

But now the challenger says by keeping the 7th Day Sabbath we are breaking the Sabbath!

"They may think it a light thing to break that Sabbath, that rest, by only gathering a few of the rotten sticks of their own works. Think about this. If the shadow was guarded by the penalty of death, what will be the consequences to the soul who dares sin against the Holy Spirit, by despising the great salvation, the eternal Sabbath of rest in Christ!"

Now, is there not something very peculiar in the prohibition of all manner of work on the Sabbath? Here the wages of works is death; not only is the wages of sin death, but if works are done -- yes, if any manner of works are done for salvation, for rest, for peace, the wages of such works will be everlasting death.

This has got to be the ultimate twisting of truth. Yes, it is true that someone depending upon self and what he can do, will not make it -- he is self deceived into thinking he does not need Christ. But to twist God's prohibition from physical labor upon the Sabbath, into saying obedience to God's commandments deserves the death penalty is GROSSLY TWISTING TRUTH.

In fact it is this very type of reasoning that will bring the death penalty upon Sabbath keepers in the near future.

This is where the FALSE INVESTIGATIVE Judgment will be set up upon earth. And people will be judged according to human laws BECAUSE THEY OBEY GOD'S LAWS. Just listen to the challengers next words:

Can anything be so wicked, so cruel to one's own soul, as to bring in some other gospel of works for salvation, and thus deny the gospel of the grace of God?

This person doesn't seem to know what grace is all about. To obey Christ and seek to do His will out of a heart that loves Him and wants to serve Him is called wickedness? For this whole article is not really against legalism BUT AGAINST THE SEVENTH-DAY SABBATH as still binding upon Christians.

Works are destructive only if the person thinks they will earn him salvation, and thereby looks to self not to Christ for redemption. But to write such an article to tell the world that the Seventh-DAY Sabbath is fulfilled and done away with, just a shadow, and to infer that anyone who holds the keeping of it as binding upon the children of God's kingdom, is laboring under the curse of God and engaging in the most wicked of sins; to accuse people who believe God will hold us accountable for trampling upon his holy day, as being legalists trying to merit salvation, is doing a fearful work! A fearful wok indeed!


"Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.
A man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
Can't you see how faith combines with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? (James 2:17-22)

Yes, Paul says we are saved by grace without works, BUT he also shows works must still result for
"we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"Christ redeemed us from all iniquity, and purified unto himself a peculiar people, ZEALOUS FOR GOOD WORKS." Titus 2:14

But the challenge continues to say we are insulting God by obeying Him. Can anything be so insulting, so displeasing to God, by any manner of works, to deny God's Sabbath of rest in Christ? How striking a figure, then, is Christ, with the Sabbath in every aspect.

Remember all this is written to deny the Sabbath DAY which the Lord has asked His people to remember.

As the Sabbath-day shadow would admit of no burden and no works, so Christ -- the substance -- God's rest -- must stand alone.
Matt. 11:28-30 -- Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Yes, we must come to Christ and learn of Him. He wants us to yoke up with Him, He will work in us and give us a new heart and new motives. But none of this does away with God's law. No, it establishes, for indeed the 7th day Sabbath makes our weekly burdens light, as we come apart for an entire day, putting secular things aside and rest in Christ. But the challenger calls our special date with Christ a yoke.

This is "the heart of the gospel." This is Jesus offering to replace their yoke of the law which represented their righteousness and to replace it with His perfect righteousness if they would only believe on Him.

The heart of the gospel is not release from God's law. The heart of the gospel is release from sin, release from the bondage of sin, release from the carnal nature. It involves release from the condemnation of the broken law for everyone who comes to Christ in repentance. It is yoking up with Christ to do HIS will. Keeping the commandments of God together with Christ!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the POWER of God unto salvation to every one that believes.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall LIVE by faith.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Romans 1:16-18
Of course the new theology tries to tell us Israelites were saved, not by grace, but by keeping the Law.

Deut. 6:24, 25 -- The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees [Sinaitic Covenant] and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.

However, the Old Testament views the Law, not as a means of gaining acceptance with God, but as a way of responding to God's gracious redemption and serving Him. See how Deut. tells us they were to obey those commandments --

"O that here were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments always, that it may be well with them." Deut. 5:29

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your might. and these words, which I commanded you this day shall be in your heart." Deut. 6:5

"Seek the Lord your God, and you shall find Him, if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul ....for the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will not forsake you, " Deut. 4:29

"What does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him and to serve the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to keep His commandments... Deut. 10:12

"Circumcise therefore your heart, and be no more stubborn, For the Lord your God is a great God, a mighty God.....Duet. 10:16,17

"Diligently keep all these commandments which I command you to do them to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cling unto Him." Duet. 11:22>

Their righteousness had been based on their keeping of the law --an impossible task--

Is the writer saying that God required an impossibility of them, and then rained down His wrath on them because they couldn't do it?

It is true that without God and His Spirit, it is impossible to keep God's law. It is also impossible to earn any righteous standing before God, however we already saw in the texts above that God wanted them to serve Him with a heart which HE would give them if they just came to Him. It is God that makes them righteous.

Apparently God did not think it impossible for them to keep the commandments in Him, for how could it be said that Zechariah and Elisabeth walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless? (Luke 1:5)

And how was it that God could say "Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." (Gen. 26:5)

Their righteousness had been based on their keeping of the law --an impossible task-- one which no one but Christ was ever to fulfill. Not believing that Christ was who He claimed to be, they refused to accept this marvelous offer. I'm sure they considered it too easy and simple to be real. Paul says of these same Israelites:

God expects obedience-- a heart surrendered to His will, filled with His love, which seeks to obey His commandments, which is His will.

It is true that Christ was the only Human Being Who ever kept the law perfectly. God's children are not perfect in that they never sinned, but by God's grace they are blameless, obedient children.

Rom. 10:3, 4 NIV -- Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

And how does one establish their own righteousness? By rationalizations and excuses and thinking certain good works will compensate other bad works.

What does it mean to submit to God's righteousness. It does not mean throwing out His law. It means submitting to God's will for our lives. It means accepting His gift of salvation-- His atoning sacrifice-- we have no righteousness of our own to offer. But we do not resist His Will and lightly regard His commandments! We walk with HIM in the light, we don't walk in the darkness of disobedience to His commands. For this is how we know that we know Him, if we keep his commandments. (1 John 1:6; 2:3)

The Pharisees were rigid adherents to tradition. They were exact in outward ceremonies, diligent in washings, fastings, and long prayers, and ostentatious in almsgiving. But Christ declared that they made void the law of God by teaching for doctrines the commandments of men

But the challenger insists on getting rid of the law, instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to write it upon the heart. He says:
"Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."

Romans 10.4
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Again we see a twist in the text's rendering. Christ is the "goal" of the law, would be a better rendering. Christ is the goal of the law for righteousness. Without Christ the law cannot achieve the righteousness which it demands. Only with Christ can that be done. His forgiveness, cleansing, power for a changed life. It's all wrapped up in Christ.

The law is holy and we cannot attain righteousness by our own efforts to keep the law. God offers us, in His Son, the perfect righteousness of the law. If we would open our hearts fully to receive Christ, then the very life of God, His love, will dwell in us, transforming us into His own likeness; and thus through God's free gift we possess the righteousness which the law requires.

This text does not mean the law has ended.
The Sabbath DAY is not ended. If that text meant Christ ended the law it would mean we are now free to steal, lie, cheat, commit adultery, have other gods, swear, etc. THAT IS NOT THE CASE!

The righteousness that comes from God following the resurrection of Christ is a free gift to everyone who believes on Him. Anyone who tries to enhance this righteousness for salvation, whether by obedience to the law, Sabbath keeping or any other worthy cause, is in God's sight as guilty as the man picking up sticks in the era of the shadow. (Sabbath)

Somehow, in all this writing, the challenger failed to notice the Israelites were delivered by God's power, not their own. They were redeemed from Egypt and then asked to obey. We too are redeemed from sin and then asked to obey out of heart of gratitude and desire to please God If one does not obey God's commandments, they obey Satan's commandments. And we are the servants of whom we obey. Only the servant's of Christ will be in the kingdom.

The opposers of the Sabbath, with their belittling of God's law, which is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth, are acting in the same way as the unbelieving Jews. They defiantly harass those who keep the commandments of God, and they will continually accuse them. They have so thoroughly resisted the claims of the Sabbath that they feel it is a virtue in them, in order to justify themselves, to continually misrepresent as a legalists people without Christ, those who would honor Christ with obedience to His will. They virtually crucify the law of the Father, as the Jews crucified Christ.

Paul inquires, "Is the law sin? God forbid. No, I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, referring to one of the ten commandments, Thou shalt not covet." Paul did not commence a raid against the law in order to justify a His failure to keep the law; but when his mind was enlightened in regard to the claims of the law of God, he saw himself a sinner, a transgressor of the law. His sins were brought before him, and what was the result? Did he commence a tirade against the law which showed him that he was a transgressor? Is it in his heart to crucify that law? Oh no! he crucified the carnal mind, the man of sin, that OTHER law that reigns in the carnal flesh, which rises in enmity against the law of God. "Sin revived," says Paul, "and I," not the law, "died." Oh! when will professed Christians awake to see the brink of the precipice they are standing upon in refusing to acknowledge the claims of the law of God?

To continue reading about the Issues on Sabbath Rest click here
Did Christ do away with the Sabbath by commanding people to carry burdens on that day? Another visit to Colossians, Romans 14 and the rest in Hebrews

Page Four: Issues on Sabbath Rest
Does the rest in Hebrews mean the Sabbath is gone?

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