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Why the Sabbath Still Matters—And Why It Doesn’t

Who is the Sabbath?

Jesus has not only fulfilled the Sabbath in a legal sense, he has also fulfilled it in a deeper sense. Jesus is the ultimate source of true Sabbath rest, relieving our burden of sin and providing peace to our souls.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,” Jesus said, “and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Our work is finished in Jesus, and this great truth echoes throughout the remainder of Scripture:

In Romans 4:5, Paul teaches that our salvation comes not in our labors to achieve it, but instead in our resting in Jesus by faith. In this way, the Sabbath is a time of remembering the truth of the gospel.

In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul reminds Christians to “let no one pass judgment on you in questions of … Sabbath. These are a shadow of things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” The purpose of the Sabbath was to help us recognize true rest in Jesus.

In Hebrews 3:12-19, we learn that God’s people wandered in the desert for 40 years because they “heard and yet rebelled” (3:16). Due to their unbelief, “they would not enter his rest,” or Sabbath (3:18-19). The implication is that those who “fall away from the living God” will never enjoy rest in life or eternity (3:12).

Hebrews 4:1-13 pleads with us to be careful that we do not fall short of salvation by failing to respond to the preaching of the gospel with faith and thereby miss out on rest in this life and the life to come.

Our rest in this life comes in our security in Christ, confirmed by our faith, as we “strive to enter that rest” when the entire plan of God for all of human history is completed and he again makes all things new

Note: This article originally appeared here on the Mars Hill Church blog.