Does weekly church attendance mean we are remembering the Sabbath?
Sunday is typically considered the Sabbath Day. It is basically considered the ‘go to church’ day. Religious tradition has carved this mindset in stone, after all it is one of the Ten Commandments! God commanded, “Remember the Sabbath, to make it holy.” (Ex 20:8) So we had better go to church every Sunday! If we don’t – He will be disappointed, we will be in sin, and guilt will haunt us.
But, is this the fullness of meaning that God intended in ‘Remember the Sabbath’?
Sabbath means “desist from exertion, cease, rest”. Looks like ‘remember the Sabbath’ means remember to rest. Do we even know what rest means? It sure doesn’t mean go to church on Sunday. Nor does our going to church on Sunday make it holy.
God rested after He finished creating, and said it was good. Then the fall of man marred that sanctified rest. (Gn 2:3) Not to worry, God already knew how to reestablish His rest for His creation. When Jesus said “It is finished” then He too rested because He fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets and became the perfect sacrifice for sin – once for all. (Mt 5:17 Rom 6:10) This greatest expression of love the world has ever known enabled Him to make us holy and grant us rest. In fact, He wants to rest in us! We are His building in which He dwells and rests. We are also His body on which Christ Jesus rests as the Head of His church. Hmm, maybe that is what Jesus meant in Luke 9:58 – “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” He was looking for a body to rest His head on!
We rest in Him and He rests in us. What a powerful dynamic. What fullness!
Yet, we can easily be like those spoken of in the book of Hebrews who failed to enter His rest because of unbelief. (Heb 3:19) Seriously? Some might say, “I thought this is about people not believing in Jesus, those not yet saved.” It is not, it is addressing believers.
Our ‘Christian’ unbelief that keeps us from His rest comes out of not being taught, believing, understanding, or receiving the fullness of His grace. Many Christians do not realize how much religious tradition and the Law effect their rest. For many Christians, one of those traditional requirements is you should go to church on Sunday in order to remember the Sabbath, to rest, to fulfill His fourth commandment, and please God. When we think we have to do then expect to NOT enter His rest.
Works are in opposition to rest. Our rest is important to Him, not our works. That is why He wants us to remember the Sabbath, but under the New Covenant (under grace) it takes on a fuller meaning. “For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” (Heb 4:10) Are you resting from works? Part of that resting is knowing and believing that we “…are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them”. (Eph 2:10) His good works for us will naturally occur. We don’t have to run around trying to figure them out, let alone run around doing them and getting worn out. There truly is rest in His good works!
Would you believe His good works do not include going to church on Sunday? Works aside, if you do go to church on Sunday and experience true body life and more revelation of who God really is – great! But if you go because you think you have to, or this is how you make His day holy, or this is how you are supposed to get your rest, or this is what He expects – then you are not living in grace or rest, but are under the law and religious tradition. There is no freedom or fullness under the law and requirements. Freedom and fullness are only in Jesus, not in doing. Just rest in Him and know you are holy – it makes you remember the Sabbath!
- God does not keep attendance on our ‘going to church’ every Sunday.
- Holiness does not come from doing something nor does doing something make it holy. Only He is holy and only He imparts His holiness into us through the finished work of His indescribable Son, Jesus Christ.
- Have you entered into His rest? It really is available for every aspect of your life. It is part of His fullness. Enjoy!
There is even more to this rest! Watch for the next post.