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Should Christians worship on the Sabbath (Saturday) or on Sunday?

Sabbath-keeping on the seventh day of the week was a provision of the Law among the Jews, as stated in the Third Commandment. It reads, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the Seventh Day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, in it thou shalt not do any work…. (Exodus 20:8-11)

If this is part of the Law whose control over us was removed by Jesus’ death, and which never was given to the gospel church, but whose righteousness (or right-meaning) is fulfilled in us, then all may see that, to any recognizing the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, there can be no bondage to the observance of any day. And in harmony with this thought is Paul’s statement that "one man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike: Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." (Romans 14:5) And if he shall make up his mind on this subject, from the foregoing statements of the Apostle relative to the Law, he will, doubtless, be persuaded with Paul and with us, that since Jesus has "blotted out the handwriting of ordinances which was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; …therefore, henceforth, no man should judge us in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come. …Wherefore, if we are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances?" (Colossians 2:14, 16, 17, 20.) To those in Christ there is no law on the subject except that of Love. They may celebrate any or no day according to their judgment as to what would glorify God and bless men.


The fact that the Law compelled a rest every seven days, and that mankind seemed to require it, is an excellent reason why such a day should be observed. And love to God and a desire to worship him and to commune with his children is one of the best reasons for observing such a day. As to which of the seven days should be the best to observe, the church very early in its history decided that the first day of the week would be very appropriate, since on it Jesus arose from the dead and met with them, causing their hearts to burn within them as he expounded the Scriptures unto them. (Luke 24:27, 32) Accordingly, we find that they commonly met on that day, even before they came to appreciate fully their liberty, and while they still frequently observed the seventh day also. For example, Pentecost came on the first day of the week (Acts 2:1). Other examples of meetings taking place on the first day can be found in Acts 20:7 and 1 Corinthians 16:2. Paul, as the Lord’s special agency in leading the other apostles -- and the Church in general -- into true liberty, practiced as he taught: sometimes he met with the Church on the first day, and sometimes he went into the synagogues on the Sabbath, or seventh day.


In western culture, we find that Sunday is the only day of the week that has not been claimed by business or commerce. We are glad that we have such a day where meeting with those of like precious faith is not in conflict with our employment. If our culture would permit two such days every week we would all the more rejoice to rest, to worship, to study, and to engage in consecrated activities apart from the cares of this world.

The question of Sabbath-keeping, like that of circumcision, is one that depends on the spirit or intent of the observer. As Paul testified to those who practiced circumcision in his day, so we testify to Sabbath (or seventh day) keepers now, namely: If they keep the seventh day or any other day as under "Moses’ Law," and in hope of keeping that Law and gaining its promised blessings, they are "fallen from grace," and at present Christ is "profiting them nothing," for the Jew did just so before Christ came. (Galatians 5:2-4.)

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