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Is it a Sin to Not Keep the Sabbath?

Jeff:
We’re just going to jump right into it. Today is actually from our Facebook group, a question, and that is, is it a sin not to keep the Sabbath? Now, this is a fun question, an interesting question, and this answer would depend on if you ask maybe some … a Jewish person, or ultra-orthodox Jewish person, a Seventh Day Adventist. There’s lots of different answers to this one.

I would say, and I think Jeremy, me and you would be on the same page, but I’m interested to hear what you say, I think the scripture seems pretty clear, specifically when Jesus is saying that it was made for man. Meaning, it is a gift to us that is a blessing to us. Like he was actually answering some of the more stringent parts of the Sabbath by saying, “No, it’s made for you,” but he didn’t say do away with it. Right.

There’s this middle ground of, like, it’s a gift, it’s a blessing. So I like to think, I don’t think I would use that language, that it’s a sin not to. The language I would use, I think it’s to your peril. I mean, I think not living in that goes against your design. I think, no one says, is it a sin to not breathe oxygen? You would just be like, no, it’s not a sin, but you’re going to die. Right. And yeah, I think you might die if you don’t ever take a Sabbath. I don’t think it’s good for you. I think it will absolutely break you down and burn you down and beat you down.

Or another one is like, is it a sin to not have a steak dinner once a week and have a huge party and celebration? No, it’s not a sin, but I think you’re ridiculous if you don’t want that. Right. So I put it in those kinds of contexts, but I don’t know, Jeremy, what you would think about it. Because to me, that’s really the heart of Sabbath, right.

I’m making light of it a little bit in that last part, but it’s a delight and a gift, and that’s so clear from the Genesis mandate. It is in the Torah, but let’s also remind ourselves it’s actually woven into the creation narrative, and that’s really important because that means it’s almost like this is how it was supposed to be. This is from God’s mind, heart and design, and it’s a blessing and a gift that we can step into and learn the practice of over 20, 30, 40, 50 years. That’s not overnight, but it’s a delight. What would you say?

Jeremy:
Yeah. So anytime people are really wrestling, and sometimes when you’re trying to recapture the Sabbath and try to keep the Sabbath, this becomes a really big question, do I have to do it? Now, there’s a verse in the Bible. Every time you have a question, there’s not always a verse that answers the question directly.

There’s actually a verse that directly answers this question. It’s Colossians 2:16, and Paul specifically says, “Let no one judge you with regards to a Sabbath day or a holy day or festival.” So Paul is being very clear. Sabbath is a no judgment zone. You are not to judge other people in the way that they keep the Sabbath. You are not to be judged by other people, other believers, in the way that you’re keeping the Sabbath.

I really like this because it really … creating a no judgment zone, completely changes the tenor and makes it into what Jeff was describing. It’s a gift. It’s something that has woven into creation, and it’s also a taste of the kingdom of God. We want our Sabbath to be the zenith of the week. Isaiah talks about those who speak of the Sabbath as a delight. I would much rather have people speaking about the Sabbath as a delight than as a command, as a rule.

So I think that this is the reason why I think Paul is saying just stay away from judging. I know this is really hard for people. They’re like, “It’s in the 10 Commandments. If it’s in the 10 Commandments, doesn’t that make it a sin to break, like the rest of the 10 Commandments?” This is the only commandment where you literally have a verse in the New Testament that says you are not to judge other people if they break that commandment.

So I do think that something has shifted. I think the problem is that people tend to go one way or the other. They tend to be very legalistic about this if they begin to keep the Sabbath, or they become very dismissive of it, if they’re like, “Well, we don’t have to do it, so why would we ever do it?”

Like Jeff is saying, it is woven into creation. This is not just a Jewish tradition. This comes from Genesis Chapter One, the creation of the world. So the seven day rhythm was woven into creation on the very first week, and we keep the Sabbath because we are created beings who are living into the seven day rhythm that God has put into all of creation.

So for your flourishing, for your enjoyment, and as we talk about in this podcast, especially for the rootedness of your own family, for the relationships in your family, for making sure that you’re thriving as a family, we just encourage you guys to keep the Sabbath.

We’re not judging you if you don’t. We don’t think that you absolutely have to. We think it’s such a beautiful gift, and we think that if you try this out, begin to cultivate this, not in a judgemental way, not in a guilty way, but in a way of really wanting to thrive, and flourish, and enjoy, and open up, and receive this gift, we think it will bless you and your family.

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