RESTING ON THE LORD’S DAY IN HOPES OF THE GREAT REST TO COME
“I will cause you to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob” (Isa 58:13-14). In that way is the Sabbath to be sanctified — withdrawing the mind from temporal things, abstaining from all secular work and fleshly gratification, not allowing ourselves that liberty of speech as on other days, but setting our affections on things above, performing holy duties, and rejoicing in what that day celebrates (Psalm 118:22-24). Then shall we be lifted above this world, anticipate Heaven, and be favored with blessed foretastes thereof. The saint should be most in his element when he is wholly at leisure to joy in the Lord” Arthur W. Pink (ref#216).
“There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9). In our glorification, we will finally and fully rest from our sin and the weariness of laboring in a creation that is suffering the effects of the Lord’s curse. Resting on the Lord’s Day is an anticipation of that glorious reality and a means by which we can live in the present that life we will enjoy fully in the future” (ref#215).
“…the new-born heart lives habitually above. Its whole employ flows in a holy course. But when the Sabbath comes, God is not only mixed in every thought, but God and His work alone are present. The Scripture is the only Book. Things heavenly are the only converse. God’s service is the one concern” William Law (ref#214).
“The Sabbath…provides leisure to gain grace” William Law (ref#214). Sabbath, in the end, isn’t something to be observed but something to be celebrated” R.C. Sproul, Jr. (ref#213).
THE SABBATH COMMANDMENT COMMANDS US TO WORK
…NOTE: I hesitate to quote a single author extensively in this blog post but R. C. Sproul, Jr. writes such wise remarks I can’t resist. Consider reading every word carefully and if you want to read his entire article, see: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/rest-story/
“First, believe it or not, the Sabbath commandment commands us to work. “Six days shalt thou labor” isn’t an interesting prelude designed merely to set the context for the command to come. It is a command in itself. We’re supposed to be busy with the work set before us. We are to be passionately pursuing the kingdom of God. We are to recognize that we live in the not-yet of the kingdom. Not all enemies have yet been made a footstool. We have not yet fully exercised dominion over the creation. The reign of Jesus is not yet universally recognized. The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks, “How does Christ execute the office of a king?” Its answer: “Christ executes the office of a king in subduing us to Himself, in ruling and defending us and in restraining and conquering all His and our enemies.” As we rule with and under Him, this is the work we are called to — seeking His kingdom, making manifest His reign.
“Second, as the Sabbath commandment moves to the day of observance, it does not command that we refrain from work — it’s far more profound: we are to rest. We think we are keeping the commandment if we refuse gallantly to do any of the work that is piling up and causing us to lose sleep at night. Instead, we are sinning. Rest isn’t just ceasing from working; it is also ceasing from worrying. It’s not easy. Indeed, in a manner of speaking, rest, especially ceasing from worry, is hard work. It takes discipline and fortitude to let go of all that has us worried.
“We have not succeeded if our worries are more pious, either. That is, we aren’t failing to keep the Sabbath when we worry about the big meeting at work on Monday, but successfully keeping it when we are worried about our persistent failure to mortify that particular sin that so troubles us. Worry is worry, and it has no place in our Sabbath celebration. The Lord’s Day is a feast day and should be treated as such” (ref#213).