Pastor J. D. Greear on the Gospel and Resting on the Sabbath

J.D. Greear (Facebook)
J.D. Greear (Facebook)

In the Fourth Commandment, God established the Sabbath as a way for the Israelites to refocus on their relationship with Him, rest from their labors, and remember His work in creation and redemption (Deut. 5:12-15). That was the Sabbath law for Israel. But what does all this mean for Christians today? Clearly the Sabbath is treated differently in the New Testament than in the Old Testament.

Christ has freed us from the technicalities of Sabbath law.
The New Testament teaches us that Christ has freed us from the law because He has fulfilled the law. The laws of Israel, all of them—ceremonies and dress codes and special days of the week—were given as symbols of a greater reality. Well, Jesus was that greater reality; so after He came, we no longer have to observe all the symbols. And so, the early church believed that the resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the Sabbath in three ways:

First, in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, we see the fullness of God’s purposes for and promises to His creation. The resurrection of Jesus’ body from the tomb shows us that one day God is going to deliver this old, dying world from its curse. You see, the creation we live in is beautiful, yes, but it is cursed (Rom. 8:19-23). And God has promised one day to resurrect it.

We see the “firstfruits” of that new creation in Christ’s resurrection. So on Sunday, we reflect on the fact that God has purposes for us and for creation. And that is exciting! As a Christian, you know that God is going to raise your body from the dead, and that resurrection body is going to be much better than the current body you have now—no sickness, no deformities. The earth is going to go through the same resurrection process. Think about this—What does a resurrected Grand Canyon look like?

Second, in Jesus’ resurrection, we see God’s “rest” from redemption, or “new creation.” God declared the first Sabbath after He made the world and rested in it. But then Adam fell into sin, and so God got up from His Sabbath rest, and He started to work again—this time His work was not on creation but on redemption, toward a new creation. And when Jesus rose from the dead, that work was completed. So, Jesus’ resurrection was a new Sabbath, a rest from the work of redemption.

Third, in the resurrection, we see the proof of God’s promises to take care of us. God gave Jesus on our behalf and raised Him from the dead. Therefore, we can be sure God will take care of us, even more than the first Sabbath demonstrated God’s care for the Israelites.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Ed Stetzer

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