Friday, March 14, 2008

A Puritan Catechism: Question 51

Q. 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 (Lev. 23:3), and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God's worship (Ps. 92:1-2; Isa. 58:13-14), except so much as is taken up in the works of necessity and mercy (Matt. 12:11-12).

7 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Interesting...does that mean it's wrong for me to grocery shop on the Sabbath, even if it's something I enjoy?

I like, too, that it talks about works of mercy being an exception--something the Pharisees surely failed to understand (as Matthew 12 references).

Jacob said...

What observing the Sabbath means is something I'm still working through. The guiding principle in all considerations of it needs to be Jesus' statement that "the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." The idea of taking a whole day off for rest and worship should not be something we dread, but something we look forward to.

Laura said...

Hmmm... how does this apply to pastors who have to preach four services on Sundays? ;)

The book of Hebrews somehow manages to clarify and complicate this issue. If, in fact, Christ is our Sabbath rest, then we rest in him, not merely on Sunday (or Saturday, I suppose), as an imitation and reflection of how God rested from his labors.

I have lingering questions about the inauguration of a new salvation-historical period after Jesus' resurrection and ascension and how that impacts our understanding of "sabbath." I guess we don't have a clear picture of how "sabbath" worked out in the apostolic and post-apostolic periods.

Jacob said...

There is a tension, I think, between the idea of setting aside one day exclusively for the worship of God, and the idea of worshiping God in all things that we do. I think this is something Mark Driscoll hit on in that sermon on the Regulative Principle you blogged about, Laura. If we are worshiping God in our thoughts and actions, both individually and in a community, monday through Saturday, how exactly are we to make Sunday set apart other than abstaining from inconsequential matters?

Laura said...

Well, and to what extent are we to set aside "inconsequential matters" in all of life? You're right about that Regulative Principle sermon and the whole idea of Worship-As-Life being a controlling principle of this discussion.

So how do I address this with my kids someday (Lord willing)?

Jacob said...

Were I one of those bloggers who thinks he knows all the answers, I'd probably say something foolish. Thankfully, I have just enough humility to know that I don't know the answer to that one myself just yet. While there are some things I feel gutsy enough to offer speculation on, I'd much rather wait until I have a slightly more educated opinion on this one. Hopefully that happens before I have to address it with my kids someday (Lord willing).

Jacob said...

Here is the link to the chapter on the Sabbath and Lord's Day worship from the 1689 London Baptist Confession
http://jdouvier.blogspot.com/2008/01/lbcf-1689-chapter-22-of-religious.html