The difference between living shackled to the law or free in grace?
The Sabbath Lifestyle.
Just because Christ has come and inaugurated the New Covenant doesn’t mean we can toss the Sabbath to the roadside. The rhythm of Sabbath is woven into the creation of this world. A principle as old as the beginning of heaven, earth, and time.
The message for us? We need Sabbath like we need our next breath. The gift Christ bought for us on the cross is the gift of rest: rest from guilt and condemnation, rest from the mandates of the law, rest from the punishment of hell.
Christ fulfilled the letter of the Sabbath law to provide for us an opportunity to enter fully into the lifestyle of the Sabbath. Every day. Rest for our striving souls.
The author of Hebrews, echoing the Psalmist, expounds:
“‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’ Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.”
Do you hear the warning? By recalling the sins of the Israelite’s–who failed to accept God’s gift of rest–the author of Hebrews encourages us to press in to the Sabbath lifestyle because therein lies promises and all the gifts of grace we need to live a godly life (read Hebrews chapters 3 and 4).
Do not resolve to live the Sabbath life this year, for what good is our own resolve? It flourishes for a little while–or for those with greater discipline, a longer while–but eventually our discipline sputters out and leaves us aching in our failure. So do not resolve (conjure up from your own strength).
Rather, accept and abide. Accept that God has offered you more than you could ever have earned. Abide in the presence of Jesus, your Rest.
The Sabbath lifestyle recognizes that nothing we do is enough (need), that all that He does is more than enough (provision), and that resting in his enough overcomes our not enough (grace).
Let this be our mantra for the New Year: that Sabbath is available to us every day, in the midst of all circumstances, and triumphing over all emotional states.