BY CHRIS LEE
Thank you for the concern many of you have expressed since I began my life after Adventism. However, I thiTnk there are some misperceptions that I need to correct. You may be surprised to hear that I agree with many of the things you’ve pointed out to me. For instance, I agree with you that grace is never a license to sin; being obedient isn’t legalism, and holiness is an expectation of the Christian life.
Secondly, I agree with you that the Bible never changes the Sabbath to Sunday and that the fourth commandment isn’t merely a principal of keeping one day in seven. Israel was commanded to keep one specific day as the Sabbath, the seventh day, and observing that particular day was definitely an obedience issue. So, if keeping the Sabbath is commanded to Christians, then it’s not optional, it’s not legalism, and it’s not Sunday.
Here’s the issue, though. I think we also agree that at least some of the things commanded to Israel are not commanded to New Covenant Christians. For instance, we wouldn’t call Christians “disobedient” for failing to offer animal sacrifices or for not observing annual Sabbath festivals or monthly new moon Sabbaths. Because we agree that there are some differences post cross, I think it’s vitally important for us to read what God said to the fledgling church about these issues.
Hopefully, we can agree on the need to study God’s instructions to the church. All too often though, we spend a lot of time looking at texts commanding Israel to keep the Sabbath or emphasizing the need for obedience—when we already agree on both of those points. Let’s get beyond that discussion. We don’t have to guess what we as New Covenant Christians should believe about Old Testament commands or Christian practices; we merely need to read and accept the instruction we’ve been given in God’s word.
The issues of holy days, the Sabbath, and the law did come up in the early church, and the Holy Spirit addressed these issues through the authors of the New Testament. Because these issues are primarily our areas of disagreement, it would seem most productive to spend our time studying some of the differences between the two testaments, or covenants, rather than rehashing those things on which we already agree.
Look, if I’m misunderstanding the instruction that God gave to the church, then I want to be corrected. If Christians really are commanded to keep the seventh-day Sabbath, then I want to be doing so. I’m just asking that we spend some time looking at the Scriptures written directly to the earliest Christians to better understand these issues. If you’re interested in what I believe the Bible has to say on this subject, then please check out “A Study of the Covenants”. You might also enjoy Jerry Rector’s study “Understanding the Sabbath”. God has spoken through His Word; now we just need to listen and obey.
Sincerely and with love,
Chris Lee lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife, Carmen, and daughters, Ashlyn and Alyssa. They attend the Lincoln Berean Church. Chris is a self-described “theology junkie” whose mission is to proclaim the unfathomable grace of Christ in a clear, understandable, and Biblical way. You may contact Chris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.