Yesterday in Part 3, I have dealt with the forgiveness of sins.
I want to stress the point again – you have received the forgiveness of sins. You don’t have to ask for it! Forgiveness of all sins in the world has already been given on the day Jesus died on the cross. He is not giving out grace and forgiveness on a daily basis! He completed the task by shedding His blood once for all. (Study Hebr 9).
- The moment you accept Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the Cross through faith, this wonderful gift of grace and forgiveness of sins will be released in your live.
In Part 4, I want to deal with a very sensitive aspect and that is:
- We nullify the redemptive work of Christ and the grace of God in our lives by replacing the Law of Moses with a new set of church laws and rules.
- One example is where people still want to keep the Sabbath according to the Law.
First of all, I want to concur with the fact that the Church does need some rules and regulations in order to administer and lead, because the ministry of the Gospel could end up in chaos without any rules and guidelines. The essence of these rules should be to provide guidelines and strategy and not to rule over people or to exclude them from the Gospel or keep them from salvation.
In the book of Hosea, the Lord spoke the following prophecy:
- My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hos 4:6)
These were very harsh words and unpopular promises of God to His people and it is also evident that it is impossible to keep the Law – each and every one of the more than 2500 of them. Test this with yourself and see if you can remember on the spot what exactly the 7th commandment of the Law is – and what about the 9th commandment or specify exactly the strict dietary laws? I doubt it if you can still remember from your days back in Sunday school. How many of these laws have you broken the past week or so?
The forgiveness of sins is a gift and you cannot work for it or achieve it through the Law (10 Commandments) or other laws and practices that have been introduced into the Church over the years. If you truly understand the Grace of God and the forgiveness of sins that has already been given to you, you will not allow yourself to be manipulated or condemned any longer under:
- A denominational spirit – working through church regulations and practices; or
- A spirit of performance where you have to meet certain standards such as clothing; hairstyles and make-up.
In short, we are not to keep the Sabbath for the following reasons:
- The Law (including the 10 Commandments) has been fulfilled by Christ and you receive your rest (Sabbath) in Christ (Hebr 4) the moment when you accept Him as Lord and Savior.
- The Law and prophets were prophesying until the time of John and now the Kingdom of God is being preached. It is a complete new dispensation of Grace and Righteousness through Christ and not of the Law anymore. (Luk 16:16 )
- The complete Law and specific the 10 Commandments are based on the basic two foundations of love, which are:
- The love for God
- The love for your fellowman
- If the Law clearly stipulates that you have to keep each and every precept (article) of the Law, how is it then possible for these groups to only focus on the Sabbath but neglect or even ignore the other 9 commandments?
- You cannot combine the Grace of God from the new Church dispensation with the Law (keeping of the Sabbath) under the Old Testament.
- The Law (10 Commandments and other laws) with the specific rules of keeping the Sabbath was given to the people of Israel – and not to the heathen nations who accepted Christ (who were later called Christians).
- There is no scripture in the Word of God for the Church to keep the Sabbath according to the rules and regulations of the Law
- The 7th day belongs to the old dispensation of Law and the 8th day (or then also the first day of a new dispensation) proclaims the beginning of something new.
- Heb 10:19- 22 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
- Jesus rose on the first day
- Day of Pentecost which is the birth of the Church in the fire of God, took place on the first day of the week
- And many more reasons and scriptures in this regard.
Over the past 2 years, I have seen a tremendous push from a specific church group and other independent groups to promote the keeping of the Sabbath, based merely on the principle of separating the 10 Commandments from the rest of the Law. I am sorry to spoil their performance based endeavors, but the complete Law of God was given to Moses as a package and it consisted of the 10 Commandments, the moral and all other ceremonial laws. The book at the side of the Ark of the Covenant (which they refer to as the Law of Moses) was the complete Law and it also included the 10 Commandments (which they refer to as the Law of God) and it was used on a regularly basis when the priests read it to the people. (Jos 8:34)
Read in Philippians 3:4 – 9 (ISV) what Paul writes about the law and that he has more reason to place confidence in the flesh than anyone else:
- He was circumcised on the eighth day,
- He is of the nation of Israel, from the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews
- As far as the law is concerned, he was a Pharisee.
- As far as zeal is concerned, he was a persecutor of the church.
- As far as the righteousness that is in the law is concerned, he was perfect
Then in verse 8-9 he reveals his new perspective through faith in Jesus Christ:
- But whatever things were assets to me, these I now consider a loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I continue to consider all these things as a loss for the sake of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. It is because of him that I have experienced the loss of all those things. Indeed, I consider them rubbish in order to gain Christ
- and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through the faithfulness of Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and that depends on faith.
From this verse we see that the righteousness from God comes through Christ and not through our performance in keeping every precept of the Law. The only requirement is faith, and even that is given to you by God. Everything comes from God and you only have to accept it and grow in it. Praise the Lord that our salvation is not based on our performance anymore. Nobody would then qualify!
If you still need to find out more regarding the Sabbath and whether we as Christians need to keep it according to the Law, please feel free to complete the box on the Website for more information and I will respond to you as soon as possible.
Stay connected for the next portion on this subject which will follow in due course. Please give us some feedback on this topic in regard with any questions or concerns you may have in this regard.
Eric Heath is the Senior Pastor of End Time Pentecostal Ministries in Danville, South Africa and also the President of Galilee International Ministries (SA) and he is available to minister on this subject as well as other major subjects concerning our life in Christ. He can be contacted through this website by completing the box as provided below.