Seven Good Reasons to Stop Breaking the Sabbath Right Now

(Inspired by Tim Challies)

1. THE COST TO YOUR SOUL
If you are consumed with secular activities and unwilling to devote merely one day a week to God, you have every reason to be concerned with the state of your soul. God promises that if he has saved us we will gain new passions and new affections. We will have not only the ability but also the desire to replace sin with holiness, to replace worldliness with sanctity.

2. THE COST TO YOUR NEIGHBOR
Even those who know next-to-nothing about the Christian faith know this: Christians are commanded to “love God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind.” Just like Jesus, Christians are to serve their heavenly father. Of all people, Christians should know that violating the Lord’s Day exacts a high cost — the cost to their bodies, to their souls, to their mental well-being, to their dignity, to their future. A vast amount of the worldly activities you enjoy on Sunday is done by people against their wills.

3. THE COST TO YOUR CHURCH
At a time when the Christian church is crying out for more and better leaders, an entire generation of young men and women are infantilizing themselves by not setting the Lord’s Day apart. They constantly choose secular activities over God and their spiritual growth is stunted. For the sake of your church, stop breaking the Sabbath.

4. THE COST TO YOUR FAMILY
There is scarcely a pastor ministering today who has not seen a family crumble and fall under the weight of treating Sunday like Saturday. Men are tearing apart their families for the sake of fun; women are shunning God’s word to create family moments. Children are being exposed to worldliness through the trails their parents leave behind. Fathers are inviting Satan into the home by their commitment to what God forbids and what Satan loves. For the sake of your family, stop breaking the fourth commandment.

5. THE COST TO YOUR MISSION
The Lord’s commission is an urgent commission because it is a matter of eternal life and death. Time is short and hell is forever, which makes the Christian’s business an urgent business. And yet so many Christians are distracted by something as trivial as the NFL or a trip to the beach. Their attention is arrested, their energy depleted, their usefulness undermined. Don Whitney says it well: “If there are any regrets in Heaven, they will only be that we did not use our earthly time more for the glory of God and for growth in His grace. If this is so, this may be Heaven’s only similarity with hell, which will be filled with agonizing laments over time so foolishly squandered.” For the sake of your mission, keep the Lord’s Day holy.

6. THE COST TO YOUR WITNESS
Christians are called to be different, to stand out from the rest of the world by their desires and by their behavior. Christians are to put sin to death and to display the power of God in removing and destroying all competitors. And yet so many Christians have had their witness shattered when the sordid truth comes out and when others learn that they profess faith in Christ on the one hand, and are worldly minded on the day devoted to the Lord. Parents undermine the gospel they have been telling their children, pastors undermine the gospel they have been preaching to their congregations. For the sake of your witness, stop breaking the Sabbath.

7. THE COST TO YOUR SAVIOR
By making light of the Lord’s Day you are making light of the death of Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian, you acknowledge in your profession of faith that the cost of forgiveness was nothing less than the death of God’s beloved Son. Jesus suffered and died for your sin. How can you, as a Christian, then toy with your sin and take it lightly? How can you cling to it? As Spurgeon says with his customary eloquence, “Sin has been pardoned at such a price that we cannot henceforth trifle with it.” For God’s sake, keep the Lord’s Day holy.

Of course, the New Calvinist, Challies, did not write about the Lord’s Day. His subject was pornography, which is a sin that has enormous implications for our society. But are violations of the seventh commandment necessarily more heinous than those of the fourth commandment? The history of Israel (think David and Bethsheba) suggests otherwise. In which case, the New Calvinists may exhibit a moralism (or understanding of sanctification) that is remarkably ignorant of the markers of Reformed Protestant piety.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Challies has no point about pornography. But I do wonder if porn would be less prevalent in Christian circles if the Lord’s Day received more attention. As I understand the broken windows policies that turned New York City around, if you police the small stuff like trash, graffiti, and broken windows, people notice that little things matter and so big crimes like murder and theft go down. If the church had more of a corporate sense of holiness by keeping the Lord’s Day holy, attending two services, removing American flags from the church, singing more Psalms, avoiding business activities, enjoying a day of rest in simple ways, maybe other incidents of violating God’s law would decrease. That analogy, of course, breaks down if the fourth commandment is more basic to Christian devotion than the seventh commandment. But no one said sanctification would be easy.

129 thoughts on “Seven Good Reasons to Stop Breaking the Sabbath Right Now

  1. Couldn’t agree more Darryl. In my short pastoral career thus far 95% of the serious pastoral problems I have dealt with are in people who have a low view of the Lord’s Day. Especially in those who ignore the called worship of the evening service. Appreciate your posting this.

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  2. In What is Presbyterian Law as Defined by the Church Courts, JA Hodge writes:

    “Petitions were sent to Congress in 1812, 1814, and 1884, protesting against all unnecessary work on the Sabbath in the post-offices and in the army and navy; and Sessions have been urged to exercise discipline on their respective members whenever guilty of violating the sanctity of the Sabbath. The most important of these deliverances were made in 1812, 1814, 1826, 1836, 1838, 1863, 1873, 1974, 1876, 1879, 1884, and 1885.”

    Things have changed.

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  3. Now THIS is the good old life at it’s finest! God’s blessings and curses are tied throughout Scripture to Sabbath-keeping. “There remains therefore a Sabbath keeping for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9)

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  4. According to the WCF, the ten commandments (re-)delivered at Sinai were previously the rule of righteousness for Adam. WCF 19:1, 2. Being from the Midwest and all, I kind of like the Big Ten.

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  5. Complete with a new day and a new compulsion, and mediated to us through the hand of Christ and not moses. The discontinuities just keep on coming.

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  6. Even Reformed behemoths can have trouble with the first table…Cathedral de Sproul.

    The Stained Glass Windows

    The five stained glass windows at the front of the sanctuary depict the Apostle Paul and the Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew is symbolized as a man because his Gospel begins with the human ancestry of Christ. Mark is symbolized by a lion because a lion is the roaring creature of the desert, and his Gospel starts with the story of John the Baptist, “the voice crying out in the wilderness.” Luke is symbolized by an ox, a sacrificial animal, because his Gospel begins with the offering of Zechariah. John is symbolized by an eagle, a bird that soars high into the heavens, because his Gospel “soars into the heavens” at its outset. Jerome (c. 347-420), interpreted the symbolism of the “four creatures” in Ezekiel 1:5-10, Ezekiel 10:14, and Revelation 4:6-7 to represent the four Gospel writers.

    Each transept of the sanctuary features a rose window. One rose window contains an image of a chair or throne, and the other rose window contains a crown and scepter. The images in each rose window are meant to communicate the rule and reign of Christ. The Alpha-Omega symbols are located on each of the stained glass doors on the left and right sides of the sanctuary. Our Lord identifies Himself in Revelation 1:8 as the Alpha (the first letter of the Greek alphabet), and the Omega (the last letter of the Greek alphabet). He is the One Who created all things, sustains all things, and will usher in a new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21).

    The Organ

    The pipe organ at Saint Andrew’s consists of a variety of new and existing components designed specifically for the sanctuary…

    The Paraments

    Liturgical colors have an instructive purpose and point us to the life of Christ and the great acts of redemptive history. These colored hangings, called paraments, are seen on the pulpit, communion table, and lectern. White represents purity. It is displayed for festivals of the Lord Jesus, primarily used in celebrating Christmas and Easter. Purple represents royalty, repentance, and suffering. It is displayed during Advent and Lent, times of preparation and penitence. Red represents the fire of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost. On Good Friday it signifies the blood of Christ, and it also signifies the blood of the martyrs. It is also displayed for All Saints Day. Green represents spiritual growth and world missions. It is displayed during “ordinary time,” which is the period from Pentecost to the beginning of Advent and the period from Epiphany to the beginning of Lent.

    The Torah Scroll

    The scroll on display in the narthex contains the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. This particular scroll, estimated to be 300 to 400 years old, is a hand-written manuscript on many panels of leather which have been sewn together and wrapped around wooden rollers. It was produced at a 2,400 year-old scriptorium in Yemen, which is the oldest continuously operating scriptorium in the world. It is possible that this scriptorium produced some of the scrolls that Jesus and His followers would have read from in the first century.

    The Paintings of the Work of Christ

    The paintings that adorn the narthex were created in the 1970’s by Richard Serrin. Mr. Serrin has been acclaimed as one of the greatest religious painters of the twentieth century. He is an American who paints in Florence, Italy and uses the style of Italian Renaissance painters, making his own paints and glaze as was done centuries ago.

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  7. Chortles-

    Because they’re flawed in their understanding of the law and Reformed theology. But the two tables shouldn’t be put against each other as if getting one right will result in getting the other. We need to be endeavouring to obey all the commandments, not just our pet ones.

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  8. Chortles, plus it’s easier to de-christianize the second table. It’s tough to side step the christian cult when engaging the first table. But I can get atheists, mormons, JW’s soccer moms and everyone else to play ball on pornography. Of course, it’s a little tougher if you tell them it’s of no value not mediated through the hand of Christ. Nothing particularly Xian about establishing your own righteousness through the law.

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  9. I’m thinking the 2nd table is more popular because it’s easier to have outward conformity while wagging your finger at those who don’t. For such folk the first table is as interesting as tax regulations.

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  10. Alexander, and to avoid legalism at the same time. I’m sure you’ll agree, but speaking of pet virtues, when you tell us reading secular literature and viewing films isn’t spiritually healthy one has to wonder if your sabbatarianism isn’t just as high octane.

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  11. Great post. I do wonder how the One Way Love folks get this one right without, you know, actually reading the fourth commandment aloud (law and grace being antithetical, and all).

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  12. Great point. It is difficult to imagine that love for worship could be anything but inversely related to sinful desires. The converse sure seems to be true, as true as heavenly mindedness being antithetical to worldly mindedness.

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  13. zrim: but speaking of pet virtues…

    agreed, zrim

    Nearly every nut I came across who went around pointing their plastic finger at everyone’s lower level of “virtue” would up getting really badly exposed, some rounded up in a mall bathroom by the vice squad.

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  14. I’m thinking the 2nd table is more popular because it’s easier to have outward conformity while wagging your finger at those who don’t.

    Except the 4th commandment is the easiest from the first table to achieve and show off outward conformity…

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  15. Speaking to both issues – Pornography and Sabbath-keeping:

    Pornography: I understand the issues and the concerns here, but it’s practically impossible to earn a degree in curriculums of the fine/visual arts, architecture, building science, cinema, or photography – without encountering nudes (including life drawing class models) in painting or sculpturein many educational institutions. Many of these artifacts/examples of art can be found within near proximity of, or as part of, a church building or it’s campus/grounds in Europe. Would some or nearly all of these examples qualify as being pornographic? How about ‘The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus’ by Peter Paul Rubens? I saw it while visiting the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, and it is a huge painting as I recall, as big as Rubens’ ‘Fall of the Damned’, which is where some in Reformed circles would place me for studying and enjoying the arts, along with so many others who share this interest. Clearly, there are places where the line has to be drawn, but how does one define what is pornographic, or even more so, how far should one take the pornography argument among Reformed circles (extreme view – seeing a nude body – at anytime, anyplace, anywhere)? I remember a story told (I was in situ on this one) by a missionary in South America who was walking along the river to get back to the missionary compound when he unexpectedly happened on the native women washing clothes in the river – ‘au natural’ and the women were very cordial and greeted him with a wave. The next time, he altered his path, only to experience the same result. And even again, and again. He told us that what he finally ended up doing was just reciprocating their greeting and waving back to them while going about his business/way. To close out this section, how do those in the Gospel Reformation Network camp who love ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’, or any of the other Clint Eastwood ‘Dirty Harry’ series get around what is depicted in those films (not the TBS/TNT versions on cable)? – these are (excellent) but very graphic films which try to honestly depict the world of crime and vices.

    Sabbath/Lord’s Day: We desire and seek to honor the Lord’s Day, the Sabbath, Sunday, as a family; we have heard/known such strict teaching about Sabbath-keeping – but at the same time, ironically, on the part of those espousing such strict views & inclinations…….Subway sandwiches were bought on the Sabbath for the Singles group, the Pastor watched ‘The Masters’ on television on Sunday afternoon, Elders and Deacons went to sales events, and the Counselor (who was known to admonish about taking Sundays for vacations) was found to be in a beach condo on a Sunday morning and not at worship in a nearby church near the Gulf. To boot, Missionaries were taken to airports to catch planes on the ‘Shabbat’, too. All of this after hearing such demanding preaching about why we shouldn’t work on Sunday or make anybody else work for us.

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  16. Clarification – probably not needed, but given nonetheless:

    Semper Reformanda: Clarification

    “Clearly, there are places where the line has to be drawn, but how does one define what is pornographic, or even more so, how far should one take the pornography argument among Reformed circles (extreme view – seeing a *nude body – at anytime, anyplace, anywhere)”

    *You all know what I mean – internet, media, graphically depicted or represented, but at the same time, the case of the missionary, the student in the life-drawing class, etc.

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  17. Semper, it is a heart matter

    Exposure to CP is a given in my field of forensic work, seized computers are always going to have something objectionable on them, a few times a year have illegal contents

    When you prosecute bad people you have to gain evidence of what makes them bad before the law

    You are not embracing it. Often it becomes a matter of how much exposure one can handle, some more than others

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  18. Mikelmann,

    Thanks so much for your note ~ mine was a narrative about my experiences being under those in the obedience camp, while also trying to highlight the legalism that those in that camp engage in over what they consider ‘pornographic’ or ‘not keeping the Sabbath’.

    The ‘Therefore’ was implied, but stated as per below:

    I was also hoping that the readers would think through these issues for themselves, and, prayerfully decide what is right for them, based upon the scriptures and confessions.

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  19. Kent,

    Many thanks – I agree. Well said.

    One of my main points is that it is impossible to be ‘totally removed from nudity and similar imagery’ in the arts as some of those in the ‘Obedience Camp’ say that we should be. At the same time, those pointing the finger have 3 or 4 pointing at them also…….and I like Josey Wales, too.

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  20. Meredith Kline—-in its original intent, WCF 19:4 must also have placed the “four first commandments containing our duty towards God” (19:2) under the jurisdiction of the state, whatever precisely is meant by saying that the judicial laws given to Israel “expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.” The question that would have to be faced today is whether WCF 19:4 retains its original sense. Did the 1788 revision of the Confession in explicitly modifying 23:3 implicitly modify the meaning of the unchanged wording of 19:4?

    http://www.meredithkline.com/klines-works/articles-and-essays/comments-on-an-old-new-error/

    Stillman’s Dual Citizens, p 9—- “God never deals with us as individuals” When not yet justified participants in Sabbath worship hear the clergyman absolve their disobedience to The Ten Commandments, are they to hear Christ forgiving their sins?

    Or should we assume that those for whom God is not yet Father are not listening to the clergyman and don’t care about their sins? Stillman claims that there is no death penalty for non-Christians for Sabbath-breaking but Stillman does not make any distinction between any of those in the visible congregation participating in the sacraments. Sanctions and curses still intrude into the cult.

    Otherwise Stillman would have to speak to the that visible congregation as if it were the world. “”Even if there is no faith, is there no blessing?” (see p 14, Dual Citizens)

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  21. “Stop Writing Books that Tell me to Stop Doing Something!”

    And, stop writing posts that tell me to stop stop telling people to stop writing books that tell us to put the stopper on doing something. Full stop.

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  22. In my life, I have had so many gaffes, errors, and omissions, but with all kindness and respect, if I ever had a Reformed Theology web-blog site, I don’t think that I would use a subtitle that could come across as-per-below:

    ……………….’higher theological intelligence condescending to enlighten the laity’…………….

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  23. But are violations of the seventh commandment necessarily more heinous than those of the fourth commandment?

    I’m not sure about more heinous, but doesn’t Paul put sexual immorality in its own class?

    Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

    On the other hand, I think you are right that neglect of the fourth commandment is at the root of a lot of the nonsense weighing down the church. Like the Israelites of yore, we are convinced that we know better and are ready to do it our own way. We never seem to learn and it never seems to end well.

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  24. David C. Noe,

    Thanks for your reply. Here it is – referring to the moniker subtitle – http://www.challies.com/
    I know that research ‘informs’ a thesis, and working in a bakery ‘informs’ one on how to bake a cake, but this one (Informing the Reformed) gives an impression like I described above. No offense is intended, but only as someone who is responding to the phrase. I think I would reword it differently. Challies means well, I believe, though I don’t see eye to eye with him on a number of things.

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  25. Question:

    Does anyone have any reliable information on how………

    one-on-one accountability discipleship (my theory – 17th century Wesleyan or Navigators)
    small groups/small group discipleship (my theory – 17th century Wesleyan or either an American innovation from around 1940’s, 50’s, or 60’s)

    ……….got started or originated? I don’t believe that these were anywhere in Luther or Calvin’s writings, as I know (and I don’t know much by comparison with you all). I do know that Calvin said to find someone ‘suitable’ to confess to (and I am all right with that.

    Anyone? Many thanks ~

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  26. Two services on Sunday, eh DGH? Some of the Reformed clergy around don’t hold 2 church services each Lord’s Day, and others urge the moribund second service’s merciful demise. What, you never, say, watch Sunday TV sports either? That’s not my impression from this site. Remember this legalistic jibe–“keeping the Sabbath holy–horizontally?”

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  27. Keeping the day Holy is still part of our fellowship with the Father. We must sanctifying it. Yet, I would posit that Sabbath requirements are more than diminished by Christ. The Sabbath is a sign according to Exodus 31:16-17. Like circumcision, all Mosaic law obligations are fulfilled and we now celebrate the spiritual truth and leave the “Jewidh Law” behind. The perpetuity of the Mosaic aspects of the Sabbath law changes in the New Testament which is why Jesus spends so much time modifying the commandment.

    Love the pastor counsel in the article, but Sabbatarianism after the work of Jesus fails to understand His Law fulfillment.

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  28. Exodus 31:16-17 King James Version (KJV)

    16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

    17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

    It is a sign like circumcision is a sign. Jesus fulfilled and ended all Mosaic Signs.

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  29. Zrim- I just go by what the Westminster Standards say on how we should obey the commandments. They’re the confessional standards of my church .

    Semper- Well the fault obviously lay with those persons who were breaking the Sabbath and not with the principles of Sabbath keeping.

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  30. Semper, I don’t know but I’d bet somewhere among pietists and experimental Calvinists during the seventeenth century. That’s a big ballpark.

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  31. hfnaar, I don’t think you’re getting enough rest on the Lord’s Day. “keeping the sabbath holy — horizontally” is not something you heard from OL. You must be confusing that with the neo-Calvinists you read.

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  32. @ Pr. Locke:

    Having held that view myself in the past, I’m very sympathetic. What changed my perspective was the recognition that the Sabbath, like circumcision, has a dual history. Part of it was codified into the ceremonial law, and has passed away. Part of it came before the law was given, and endures, and has been transformed in the New Covenant.

    That said, “Let no man act as your judge in regard to … a Sabbath day.”

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  33. Thanks Dr. Hart ~ that makes sense. I’m so thankful for Luther and Calvin, and similar, without the accoutrements.

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  34. One day of seven to The Lord is a creation ordinance like marriage is. Neither the Mosaic Law nor the New Covenant annul either one.

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  35. Those who dump the fourth (by whatever exegetical or interpretive means) are often dismissive of the second (with improper worship) and third (with irreverent worship). Do we really believe the second is just about totem poles and the third is about swearing? Disregard for or sloppiness in worship shreds the first table. May as well be a Mormon or a Muslim if you don’t get the first four right.

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  36. I understand the concern of those who perceive a moralistic tone in Challies’ post. The imperatives of the Christian life must always be set in the context of the indicatives of the gospel, otherwise the imperatives produce either despair or self-righteousness. But many strong imperatives are there in Scripture, including in the writings of the Apostle Paul, so I don’t quite get the allergic reaction some seem to have to biblical imperatives. We ignore the imperatives of Scripture to our peril, just as we ignore the indicatives to our peril.

    Balance is the key, balance.

    “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Rom. 13:14, ESV)

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  37. Numbers 15:32-36:—-While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. 35 And the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the LORD commanded Moses.

    But like which day, this is the ceremonial part of “the covenant”. How do we know? Which part is “intrusion” (suspension of “secular grace”) and which part is continuity? Because this part is not “the moral law” portion of “the covenant”. And how do we know that? Because this part is the ceremonial part….

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  38. Mitchell, I’d like to see the exegesis that seperates the sabbath from the cult. Certainly I’ve read the ‘one day in seven’ principle, I haven’t seen any good exegesis of the same. And again, how do you seperate it from cultic practice? Or how exactly is the unbeliever to practice it, if in fact it’s a creation ordinance available outside the cult, like marriage, for example.

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  39. Going to church every Sunday would not be so toilsome if you could be assured that unity was in process there by a constant hounding from the pulpit on what the Gospel is. A much better environment is created than being scolded at all the time. The Spirit brings life when the righteousness of Christ is the main focal point. And then everyone seems to get along better too. You might even start liking to go each Sunday because your comfort and assurance get increase as you grow in grace together. You might find you start liking the people you fellowship with better too.

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  40. If I have a choice between watching the Sports Reporters or Between the Lines or reading a good Dostoyevsky novel rather than going to church and get scolded at, I know which ones I would pick.

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  41. Geoff, agreed. But going after porn is a lot like shooting the proverbial barrel fish. Who really thinks it’s okay? And does Challies advance the cause by giving arguments that are more talk radio than theological or pastoral. You could likely make the same case about any number of sins or unwholesome outlooks — think materialism. So singling out porn is hardly prophetic.

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  42. Semper Reformanda,
    I know the following comment will likely get all the OL’ers here all riled up. But, let us be thankful for the Wesleys and for Navigators! The roots of one-on-one, or small group, discipleship are found in the New Testament. Jesus had His twelve, (with Peter, James and John perhaps being in even a smaller circle with Him). Paul had Timothy, Silas, et al. 2 Tim 2:2 To fulfill and work out the ramifications of all of the NT texts to exhort/encourage one another often requires smaller group venues that are far more personal in nature than larger corporate church worship services. As your moniker “semper reformanda” indicates, God’s refinement of His church did not end, thankfully, with Luther and Calvin.

    —————-

    Sincere question: Is there a P&R (or, OPC) guidebook for what “proper” Sabbath observance is supposed to look like? Given Romans 14:5 (and I’m the guy who “regards every day alike”) I’m always surprised how animated the OL crowd here is when it gets the chance to trumpet the virtues of sabbatarianism.

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  43. Sean—how do you separate sabbath from cultic practice? Or how exactly is the unbeliever to practice it, if in fact it’s a creation ordinance available outside the cult, like marriage, for example.

    mark—-amen. Exactly my questions. I mean rest is a good thing, even for those who are not justified before God, but is that the law by which they know themselves guilty before God?

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  44. from Matt T–

    http://matthewtuininga.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/whats-the-difference-between-jesus-and-the-law/

    If the law established Israel as a nation called to wage war against its pagan neighbors, as the expression of the judgment of God, Jesus called his disciples to love their enemies, to turn the other cheek, and to suffer rather than inflict vengeance on others.

    If the law tolerated a certain degree of mistreatment of captives, slaves, or wives, because of the hardness of human hearts, Jesus, both in example and in word, called his disciples to serve one another, recognizing that greatness takes the form of humility and self-sacrifice.

    If the law stipulated capital punishment for thirty odd cases of impiety and injustice, including adultery, Jesus, the messianic king himself, refused to decree death on a woman caught in adultery, taking instead the curse of the law on himself, and calling her to go and sin no more.

    If the law warned that suffering was a sign of God’s judgment for disobedience, and promised that obedience would be rewarded with earthly prosperity and peace, Jesus declared that suffering was the sign of God’s blessing for being identified with him, and promised that it would be a means of our being conformed to his image.

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  45. Petros, that’s usually the first sign that legalism is afoot–an imperative is issued and some want specific lists of do’s and dont’s and others are willing to indulge it. Beware the list…

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  46. Petros,

    Re. Reformed worship

    http://www.amazon.com/With-Reverence-Awe-Returning-Reformed/dp/0875521797/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404227265&sr=8-1&keywords=with+reverence+and+awe

    The reason guys here get fired up about the Sabbath is because it’s one of the ten commandments. Exactly how it gets worked out in modern church life is up for some debate, but it would be a bit odd to keep 9 commandments and throw out 1, no?

    The Reformed Confessions (especially the Westminster) also have a lot to say about the Sabbath. Many men here take vows to uphold those Confessions.

    Honestly, what are your Sabbath views (or lack thereof) grounded in besides your own opinion?

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  47. Erik – both operate under God’s authority. And, you’ll find that Wesley was an ordained minister in the Anglican church, and the Navs have a board to whom they are accountable in accord with the stated mission of their organization.

    Can you advise under what authority the White Horse Inn operates?

    It’s obvious where you’re going with the “whose authority” question, which is far less troubling to me than it seems to be to you and OL’ers. It’s a question that certainly did not seem to be of any concern to Paul: “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice” Philippians 1:18. Any idea why Paul wasn’t so concerned?

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  48. Petros- The Larger Catechism on the 4th Commandment- as well as various commentaries on the Shorter Catechism, like Fisher or Vincent- give detailed descriptions of what’s required in Sabbath keeping.

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  49. Darryl, materialism — pshaw. Pimping the popular porn issue will get you lots more retweets and Facebook mentions. And people love how-to’s and lists. Certain things (did not Paul say?) should not even be spoke of openly. Quiet, pastoral counsel — situationally applied — and consistent, patient teaching of all that the bible says about, well, everything is clearly wiser. But it doesn’t drive web traffic in the same way.

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  50. I think Lloyd-Jones (who was wrong about a number of important things) rightly said that thinking as little as possible about certain besetting sins or temptations was often the best approach. Raising the porn subject on a big platform will actually provoke some people. We need a rethink of the Dr Phil and Oprah therapeutic-talking cure approach.

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  51. Erik – as regards to Sabbath observance (if such a thing is even required under the New Covenant, and I’m dubious that it is) Romans 14:5 and Col 2:16,17 are the first texts that come to mind, without going into a more full-blown analysis. However, I’m not the least bit critical of those who are sabbatarians, even if I am not persuaded by their arguments.

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  52. CW,

    Never thought of it that way, but may very well be true. To paraphrase from Michael Crichton’s “Sphere” novel, it’s hard not to think about an octopus when someone brings up octupi.

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  53. Petros, there is no definitive theological view that the Sabbath is a creation ordinance

    Many believe it is and they are entitled to their view for their lifr

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  54. From an article on Vos’ view:
    ____________
    The Sabbath principle is a creation ordinance (p. 159/143) antecedent to theocratic Israel and hence embodied in the Decalogue as an intrusionary reflection of a perpetual historical Sabbath. What is transient passes away (theocracy); what is permanent and perpetual remains (weekly Sabbath)….

    Hallowing of the Sabbath day is based “on something done in the creation of the world” (ibid./139). Vos is sensitive to the moral perpetuity of the Sabbath command reflected twice over at significant junctures in the history of redemption: creation and new creation (exodus liberation). Indeed the Sabbath has an over-arching redemptive-historical significance. While “a world-aged observance,” it has been mirrored from creation to new creation in Christ Jesus: “. . . the Sabbath . . . has passed through the various phases of the development of redemption, remaining the same in essence but modified as to its form, as the new state of affairs at each point might require” (p. 155/139). In short, Vos is affirming the traditional notion of the perpetuity and change of the Sabbath. A perpetual moral ordinance modified to the creation state, the patriarchal state, the theocratic state, the apostolic state.
    ___________________
    http://www.kerux.com/doc/1601A4.asp

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  55. MM, I get cultic perpetuity, and I get seventh day crowning and covenantal signature. But the very covenantal marker is what excludes. This is one of those:..” but the fall happened” opportunities. Sabbath enrichment was forfeited by the culture at large. I have yet to see, “moral ordinance modified to the creation state”-postlapsarian.

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  56. Sean, you’re the smart guy. I only have dumb things to say like “hey, ain’t there 10 commandments?” “hey, didn’t God rest on one of them days?” and “hey, didn’t Presbyterians used to keep the Lord’s Day?” The contrary just looks like recent indifference, and “recent” is not synonymous with “new” and “improved” to me.

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  57. MM, we don’t differ on cult member obligation, so “presbyterians do this” works for me too. And cult members prelapsarian and post do it too. I struggle with it’s application outside the church, as in how, why, what for, and they don’t have the right to it.

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  58. Sean, I probably don’t understand what you are saying to MM, but if they (unbelievers?) don’t have a right to a creation ordinance, that would include marriage, as well as the one day in seven of rest, no?

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  59. Since your post on novels may be tempting a teacher of literature like me to mortal sin, I will only quote the last section of it here on the sabbath thread.

    “activities that Christians share with non-Christians. In other words, being spiritual (as some Christians understand it) is as noted before not a way to be fully human but one that reduces our creatureliness to cardboard cutout proportions. I still don’t see how the transformationalists of whatever variety are comfortable with the goodness of creation if culture (literature, politics, and food) needs to be redeemed before Christians can properly appreciate or engage it. ”

    mark: would this apply to Sabbath activity and non-activity? I am merely asking Sean’s question again. Is Sabbath common for non-Christians? Is Sabbath-breaking sin for non-Christians?

    Rest is a common good, even if not transforming?

    When non-Christians attempt Sabbath, that will be nothing but reducing life to a “creature-cardboard-cutout”?

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  60. Tim and his peers at GC stick to broad, big targets, even when they are legitimate ones like pornography. This is probably in order not to offend their friends and big buddies in the GC. Would we ever see Challies, Keller and DeYoung ever making a clear defence about the Sabbath as it is clearly outlined in the Westminster Confession? Not a chance. They would be risking their broad base appeal and influence by doing so, however much they have being tagged as Reformed.

    Can we look forward to seeing Challies, Keller and DeYoung writing clearly about worship as Calvin wrote so extensively and specifically about it as Terry Johnston so cogently outlines in his new book Worshipping with Calvin: Recovering the Historic Ministry and Worship of Reformed Protestantism? Fat chance, as it would tread on the toes of their best buddies in charismatic circles (who are not noted for psalm singing and liturgy), and hence their influence, conference numbers and book sales would be affected.

    Homogenised theology which is found in the juggernaut known as The Gospel Coalition comes from its para church peer appointing leaders who are indeed earnest and then fall down on vital matters of historic Protestantism which are vital out workings of the Gospel they are supposed to be so passionate about.

    Finally and on another matter, Cathy Keller if it was you who fired off a reply on an OL post recently about Celebrity Wives, your rather pointed, nasty words were offensive to this mild mannered English man and perhaps to many others too.

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  61. Its application outside the cult….

    No apostrophe needed….

    Outside worship time?

    Outside where there are those without a parent visibly professing?

    Outside where there are those without the promise of the gospel?

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  62. Bob, it wouldn’t include marriage because marriage wasn’t a cultic endeavor. Sabbath coronation and observance was always cultic and extended into eternity even after the fall. Marriage never had the same eternal aspects, either pre or postlapsarian. It’s a point of departure from RC’s and Mormons among others. This obviously assumes a probationary edenic arrangement and graduated state.

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  63. Thank you Petros for sharing.

    I myself do feel the need to assemble, fellowship, confide in, and learn from those who I feel comfortable with, or as Calvin said, someone ‘suitable’, whether it is with our Sunday School class, or alone with our Elder who teaches our class, or our Pastor and another friend; these gatherings are more natural and organic in character, and there is tremendous trust and respect.

    They are not mandated or forced – as in – “you are assigned to so and so’s group, and they will be your spiritual authority and who you will be accountable to”. I could never open up to those I did not feel comfortable with, especially if I am assigned to someone. These types of situations (mandated) can become ‘confession upon demand’ and ‘lording over’.

    I was raised in the Methodist Church, and came to Christ there. I respected Wesley’s initial theology (Reformed) before he turned to the ‘Dark Side’ of ‘A Serious and Devout Call to a Holy Life’ by William Law. Also, I cut my teeth on the Navigators, and actually was very into the Nav-27 discipleship for a good while when I was younger, but I think a good experience with the Navigators depends on whether the person you’re meeting with is Reformed and shares the same theological tenets that you do.

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  64. MM-

    The breaking of any of God’s laws is a sin whether done by Christian or non-Christian. However, since you asked, non-Christians are under as much obligation to keep the Sabbath as Christians. They should, after all, be attending to the means of grace. All men are required to attend to the means of grace.

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  65. Ok sean, we’ll have to agree to disagree in that it seems pretty clear what was cultic was added afterward, but was not there in the garden originally.
    cheers

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  66. Simul Justus Et Peccator?

    Rev. Richard Phillips disagrees with Luther (link below) and supports the idea that there is no total depravity in us after Justification – does Challies agree with Phillips on this idea? Naturally, if there is no longer any ‘total depravity’ in us, then believers could make incredible progress in all areas of holiness, without the ‘tainting effect’ of indwelling sin. The remaining indwelling sin would not be the ‘totally depraved type’ based upon Rev. Phillips assertions, so it would naturally have to be a ‘kinder, gentler,’ form of sin that is easily defeated by just saying ‘Boo’ to it…………overcoming it both on our own and with divine assistance (since sanctification is 100 percent God’s work and 100 percent man’s work – the latter meaning getting ‘the stick’ from one-on-one or small group accountability discipleship – ‘no carrots’). The 100%-100% Sanctification Plan and Moniker language is found on the Gospel Reformation Network website.

    Is the Gospel Reformation Network trying to develop a new addendum to the Westminster Confession with this daunting and terrifying Affirmations and Denials document? It does not look like the ‘Good News’…….it looks like the platform for an Inquisition or a ‘Gotcha’ trap. How does Rev. Phillips deal with those in his congregation who hold to a Luther’s (and Calvin’s) view of Justification, among so many other Reformers from antiquity? The ‘straw man’ in their argument is ‘the Book of Concord’, as I so understand.

    http://theaquilareport.com/the-gospel-and-total-depravity/

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  67. WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM Q. 60. How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?
    A. The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days;b and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship,c except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.d

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  68. You’re criticizing Challies because his article was about sexual immorality and not the Lord’s Day? This isn’t kind to your brother.

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  69. Seth, the view is that partaking in the means of grace available at church is the best defense against sin.

    Any sin.

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  70. If you are still under the law then you are not under Grace. Read the book of Galations again..

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  71. This article fails completely because it assumes that which it concludes. By starting with an assumption that the Sabbath command is still in effect, it concludes that all kinds of damage is done by not keeping the Sabbath holy.

    I have noticed, as a former Sabbatarian, that my reflection on the Sabbath was all about whether I was keeping it, not any sort of mission or purpose. This sort of navel gazing is more destructive than any sort of pretend issue in the list of seven.

    Important! DG Hart wrote a fine article about evangelicals, confessional Presbyterians and the church in the February 2014 issue of New Horizons, the OPC magazine. He is quite a scholar. Don’t let this grade-school logical error (of this article) detract from DG Hart’s general scholarliness.

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  72. Let’s see how this works:

    What should Christians and other believers do in the face of this heightening repression? They must go on the offensive — charitably but vigorously — and fight the battle on several levels. When leaders fade into the woodwork — even when the stakes are basic constitutional liberties and civilized norms — the people have no choice but to step up.

    First, they must persistently speak up about the realities of homosexual behavior Sabbath desecration, the coming consequences for our culture, and especially the totalitarian mindset and repressiveness of the homosexualist commercial movement.

    Next, they must constantly let cowering public officials know how they oppose their buckling to pressure and will remember it at the next election.

    Third, continued and intensified legal resistance is necessary. The organizations providing legal defense are crucial, but others must be formed to take an offensive posture. The lame discrimination complaints by homosexualist organizations business owners against believers in human rights commissions Chambers of Commerce and the pressuring of corporations to dump executives and employees who dissent at all from the homosexualist agenda free market principles should be met consistently with lawsuits for abuse of process and defamation. That would put financial pressure on the well-heeled homosexualist organizations companies.

    Fourth, they should organize well-targeted boycotts of companies that buckle under to the homosexualists Sabbath profaners and well-publicized showings of support for those who won’t. The Chick-fil-A episode of a few years ago showed what’s possible in this regard. Weak-kneed, utilitarian-minded corporate leaders might then get the message that religiously oriented citizens are more of a force to be reckoned with than a small cadre of well-placed homosexual activists.

    Fifth, it’s time for frequent, perfectly legal public rallies against the totalitarian schemes of the homosexualist movement pro-market ideologues and the state bureaucrats who run interference for them. There’s a need to take to the streets to clamor against tyranny and for religious liberty.

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  73. The Pharisees in Matthew 12 agree with you. They were plotting to kill Jesus because he had violated the sabbath by healing on the sabbath. Jesus is Lord of the sabbath, it originated in him, how dare men tell Jesus he violated his own Sabbath. Sabbath was made for men, not men for the sabbath. The work of men is to believe in him, and through the change that takes place in their heart they will know Jesus’ heart. If another man is suffering, and it requires my working, even on the sabbath, I’ll go it. That’s the heart of God. Everybody has sin, It may less unacceptable to us than our own Sins, but in Gods eyes it’s all the same. There isn’t an acceptable sin. Remember the Pharisee that thought he was justified for keeping all the laws, he was thankful he wasn’t like the other guy. The other guy acknowledged himself as a sinner. In the Bible the center they knowledge she was a sinner was justified not the Pharisee that’s why God sent his son to die on the cross, to sacrifice himself symbolizing the lamb without blemish. The whole of the Bible leads up to the most important event, Jesus dying on the cross for the remission of our sins. It often helps me to read the words and read, these are Jesus its own words and his own heart where we can get the most perspective of where our heart should be. I’ve never seen a person that tries to regulate other human beings be at peace with himself, they always seem to have unrest. Sabbath was on Saturday, which day you wanted on Saturday or Sunday? What do you consider works, if theyre works of God are they justified?

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  74. I apologize for my phone’ auto corrections. It was hard to proofread on my phone. I find when I’m in doubt about works, I read the words of Jesus in red, it’s humbling and great teaching moments for me.

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  75. Lisa
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink
    The Pharisees in Matthew 12 agree with you. They were plotting to kill Jesus because he had violated the sabbath by healing on the sabbath. Jesus is Lord of the sabbath, it originated in him, how dare men tell Jesus he violated his own Sabbath. Sabbath was made for men, not men for the sabbath. The work of men is to believe in him, and through the change that takes place in their heart they will know Jesus’ heart. If another man is suffering, and it requires my working, even on the sabbath, I’ll go it. That’s the heart of God.

    Awesome.

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  76. and? He inspired you, right? Anyway,is that germane to the discussion or just more deflecting from another difficult topic harming families, including likely some sitting right next to you in the pew.

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  77. Jeff, I’ve been part of a community church associated with the SBC for about a year now,which affirms with the Baptist Faith and Message (2000), which says: “The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.”

    I haven’t heard my pastor personally preach on it to date. I believe the above; also that Jesus is our Sabbath rest; John 4:23-24; Heb 10:25; Rom 12:1; and probably more relevant Scripture not coming to mind right now.

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  78. Ali, it’s a blog that features lots of ads and promotes lots of stuff to pay the overhead. But you’re suspicious of Old Life.

    It is does go to Challies’s reliability.

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  79. Ali: Jeff, I’ve been part of a community church associated with the SBC for about a year now,which affirms with the Baptist Faith and Message (2000)

    Sorry for my confusion. I think I misunderstood an earlier exchange.

    Ali: The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord’s Day should be commensurate with the Christian’s conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.”

    … also that Jesus is our Sabbath rest; John 4:23-24; Heb 10:25; Rom 12:1;

    Amen. So your concern seems to be that porn is harmful and prevalent (both true), while Sabbath non-observance is neither?

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  80. The Pharisees in Matthew 12 agree with you. They were plotting to kill Jesus because he had violated the sabbath by healing on the sabbath…If another man is suffering, and it requires my working, even on the sabbath, I’ll go it. That’s the heart of God.

    Awesome.

    What?

    Lisa & TVD The Westminster Confession of Faith states the following regarding the keeping of the sabbath:
    This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. WCF 21.8

    Everyone has always understood duties of necessity and mercy to include things like helping the sick and dealing with emergencies.

    @Ali you don’t see a connection between the church’s lax take on keeping the sabbath and the general worldliness afflicting the church. I’m pretty sure hitting up starbucks for a caffeine fix on the way to worship then swinging by costco for that 5 gallon bucket of mayonnaise don’t quite count as either acts of mercy or dealing with an emergency. Blowing off church so your kid can hone her skills on the travel team probably doesn’t fit either. Perhaps there is a connection between the church’s impotence in getting her members to take the seventh commandment seriously when we more or less ignore the ones grounded in the created order. Maybe there is a connection between dismissing concern for the sabbath as being pharisaical and dismissing concern about porn as expecting women to walk around in burqas.

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  81. In response, I don’t believe anyone with a true heart of God trying to follow God’s commandments is pharisaical, however, works can be deceitful. The bible teaches us there are many men that are doing the works, but their hearts are far from God. Only God our creator knows the whole heart of a man, we being the creation cannot fully dictate what motivates another man’s heart. Jesus often rebuked the Pharisees in his teachings. Matthew 15:8 “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Different sins have been highlighted in this discussion as if they were more severe sins than any other sin. God is not a respecter of persons or sin. Paul the apostle was a murderer of christians. David was an adulterer, but God referred to David as a man after his own “heart”, 1st Samuel. David had “human sin” but a “heart” of God. What are “the works” of the sabbath? What is the “heart” of the sabbath? What’s the difference? Why are we seemingly esteeming the works above the grace that God extended to us when he shed his blood on the cross? The foundation and the cornerstone of our faith rests in the scripture of “the bible” and the ultimate price Jesus paid, not our works. If the foundation falls, then the blood Christ shed on the cross is all for naught.

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  82. @Lisa
    I think you might be a bit confused… For example, you write that, “Different sins have been highlighted in this discussion as if they were more severe sins than any other sin.” But there are more severe sins than others. As Jesus told Pilate, the committed the greater sin (John 19:11). Further, there are greater commandments implying that there are lesser commandments.

    You are correct that the scriptures teach that only God really knows our heart, and doing “good” works without faith doesn’t accomplish anything. But then you write, “David had “human sin” but a “heart” of God.” This is gnosticism. David had a heart of God because he was repentant of his sin.

    Works don’t justify, but our justification necessarily leads to our sanctification that results in our doing good works and keeping the law now written on our hearts. This is why Paul can write, that you were once [lots of examples of breaking God’s law], but now you are [lots of examples of living congruently with God’s law]. Part of walking in the light is keeping the sabbath. I’m no trained theologian or church officer, so I have a pretty simple view of these things and always found the Heidelberg Catechism a helpful summary. It puts the relationship as follows,

    Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
    A. That I am not my own, but belong — body and soul, in life and in death— to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him,
    Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
    from now on to live for him.

    Note here that our saving faith comes by the work of the Holy Spirit who also bring assurance of our salvation and makes ready to do good works. Neglecting Sunday worship (as we are explicitly warned against in the epistle to the Hebrews) is to in effect excommunicate yourself from the means of grace. This is a perilous thing to do. When Christians don’t sanctify the sabbath as was established in the creation itself, we send a very important message to a watching world about what we really believe.

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  83. Jeff Cagle: Amen. So your concern seems to be that porn is harmful and prevalent (both true), while Sabbath non-observance is neither?

    Actually, I did think it was a good post for the most part. I had to check twice to see if it was a guest poster because of things said such as below* .

    It’s just there was that predictable pattern 1)personal jab at the author’s faith “New Calvinists may exhibit a moralism that is remarkably ignorant of the markers of Reformed Protestant piety”; 2) make unhelpful comparisons “but are violations of the seventh commandment necessarily more heinous than those of the fourth commandment” ; 3) never get around to actually truly speaking to the actual post content

    *
    -If you are consumed with secular activities you have every reason to be concerned with the state of your soul.
    -God promises new passions, new affections, the ability and desire to replace sin with holiness/worldliness with sanctity.
    – an entire generation of young men and women are infantilizing themselves
    – Children are being exposed to worldliness through the trails their parents leave behind.
    -The Lord’s commission is an urgent commission because it is a matter of eternal life and death.
    -Christians are called to be different, to stand out from the rest of the world by their desires and by their behavior.
    -Christians are to put sin to death and to display the power of God in removing and destroying all competitors.
    -Jesus suffered and died for your sin. How can you, as a Christian, then toy with your sin and take it lightly? How can you cling to it?
    -If the church had more of a corporate sense of holiness…

    DGHart: If there are any regrets in Heaven, they will only be that we did not use our earthly time more for the glory of God and for growth in His grace.

    true.1 Cor 3:14-15

    DGHart: But I do wonder if porn would be less prevalent in Christian circles if the Lord’s Day received more attention.

    Isn’t it more like…One generation (has not) praised Your works to another, declared Your mighty acts. Ps 145:4 and failure to do this: “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up”. Deut 6 6 -7
    bottom line, isn’t the lack of ‘ Sabbath-keeping’ just a symptom –as the Lord says “ these people hearts are far from Me, return to Me, that I may return to you

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  84. To clarify I was differing David’s carnal heart as a human to David’s heart that was after God’s own. I think there needs to be more elaboration than just David asking for forgiveness.If David wasn’t convicted he wouldn’t be asking for forgiveness. A good explanation I’ve read of explaining a man after God’s own heart is the act of being in harmony with God; what hurts God, hurts us; Where God would find compassion, we find compassion. I certainly believe God fearing Christians of a sincere heart obeying the Sabbath will help us live a more rewarding Christian life. This doesn’t exclude the other 6 days of the week, we are to obey the word of God every day. Where we fail, grace prevails. I agree wholeheartedly that the lack of sabbath keeping is a symptom, not the cure. I also believe God knows his own and his own will come to him.

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  85. Lisa, some repented when confronted with their sin, David and Peter, while others could not such as Esau, Saul, and Judas Iscariot.

    It’s complicated and often heartbreaking watching people drift away, and even the steadfast have sloughs of despair and sin.

    And good stuff lately, sdb!!!

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  86. Ali: Actually, I did think it was a good post for the most part. I had to check twice to see if it was a guest poster because of things said such as below* .

    oohh…. I finally did click on the link and saw those good words were actually Tim Challies words. That explains it.

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  87. @Lisa
    “There aren’t varying degrees of salvation, we are either saved or not.”
    I think I know what you are getting at, but I would add a few important caveats. It is true that God has either chosen us or not. We are justified or not. We will live eternally with him in heaven or not. But I don’t think I would say that there aren’t varying degrees of salvation. First, salvation has several aspects – in our justification we were saved from the penalty of sin, in our sanctification we are being saved from the power of sin, and in our glorification we will be saved from the presence of sin. Clearly we aren’t all saved yet. We are being saved and will be saved. Further, it is pretty clear that we do not all achieve the same level of sanctification. Finally there are hints in scripture that there is some degree of rank among the saints in heaven. I don’t know what to think about that, but at the very least it is not clear that salvation is not a simple binary state.

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  88. some final good thoughts about Sabbath rest here….

    “But we have not yet reached the goal. We still struggle to rest from our labors; we still must “strive to enter that rest” (Heb. 4:11). Consequently the weekly nature of the Sabbath continues as a reminder that we are not yet home with the Father. And since this rest is ours only through union with Christ in His death and resurrection, our struggles to refuse the old life and enjoy the new continue.”

    “But one may ask: “How does this impact my Sundays as a Christian?” This view of the Sabbath should help us regulate our weeks. Sunday is “Father’s Day,” and we have an appointment to meet Him. The child who asks “How short can the meeting be? ” has a dysfunctional relationship problem — not an intellectual, theological problem — something is amiss in his fellowship with God.”
    “This view of the Sabbath helps us deal with the question “Is it ok to do … on Sunday? — because I don’t have any time to do it in the rest of the week?” If this is our question, the problem is not how we use Sunday, it is how we are misusing the rest of the week.”

    “This view of the Lord’s Day helps us see the day as a foretaste of heaven. And it teaches us that if the worship, fellowship, ministry, and outreach of our churches do not give expression to that then something is seriously amiss.”

    “Hebrews teaches us that eternal glory is a Sabbath rest. Every day, all day, will be “Father’s Day”! Thus if here and now we learn the pleasures of a God-given weekly rhythm, it will no longer seem strange to us that the eternal glory can be described as a prolonged Sabbath!”

    from Sabbath Rest Sinclair Ferguson http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/sabbath-rest/

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  89. sdb, I’d add that in Reformed there is a specific sanctification at regeneration (I forget the exact term… immediate???) and then the life lived thereafter is a progressive sanctification for the believer. You are set apart at rebirth and then expected to walk the path of a believer thereafter.

    And one is clearly riding and falling on their walk of progressive sanctification

    The more you are entrusted with, the more you are expected to produce…

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  90. Follow-up, DEFINITIVE sanctification is the term at rebirth?

    You are set apart, are adopted and entitled to the benefits of union with Christ, and hopefully soon get on the path of learning what pleases God and doing it.

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  91. @ Ali:

    I think you have several criticisms going on at once. If I could tease some things out:

    (1) Part of the point of the original post is that the fourth commandment is of at least equal importance to the seventh, since it touches on loving God more than loving neighbor.

    (2) Part of the point is that while Christians are rightly concerned about the depressingly prevalent violations of the seventh command, they are oftenly blithe about the prevalent violations of the fourth.

    (3) And part of the point is that if sinning by violating the seventh has spiritual consequences (which was Tim Challis’ point), then should not sinning by violating the fourth also have spiritual consequences?

    A fourth point that I would raise that seems to lurk in the background is this: What is the exact connection we are postulating between disobedience or obedience and spiritual growth? And that question gets to the heart of New Calvinism v Historic Protestantism. But it’s a more theoretical question in comparison to (1) – (3). Does that make sense?

    In other words, the point is not to criticize Challies, but to ask, Why not worry about the fourth command also?

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