Of late, a heavy debate has been going on in the press as to whether there should be closure of shops on Sundays. Some writers have even brought in the issue of the observance of the Sabbath to support their argument for keeping Sunday as a Sabbath day. Still others have brought in the issue of Prophets who condemned the nonobservation of the Sabbath to support their arguments!
Let us therefore go to the Bible for clarification of what the Sabbath day is and what Sunday is.
1. Sabbath: The observation of Sabbath was part of the Old Testament Covenant and laws. In Exodus 20:8-10, the Israelites were commanded to strictly observe the Sabbath day as a holy day where not only they, but even their servants and the sojourners in their midst were to completely abstain from doing any kind of work. Prophets who spoke on God’s behalf also pronounced many blessings on those who strictly observed the Sabbath day (Isa. 58 13, 14 etc). This Sabbath observation was on the seventh day of a week.
2. Sunday: However, with the coming of Jesus into the world, a new covenant was ushered into the world changing the meaning of the Sabbath and its observance. The old covenant was the dispensation of the Law and Justice. This new covenant was the dispensation of Grace and Mercy. In this new covenant, Jesus said: “The son of Man (Jesus), is Lord of the Sabbath” (Lk.6:5). Then in Rom. 10:4 the Apostle Paul said: “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believes.” If one reads the whole chapter of Romans 8, one will understand that to be found righteous before God is not through observation of days and rituals but faith on the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Paul further went on to state in Romans chapter 14 that the meaning and observation of the Sabbath is no longer binding on the believers. As for observation of sacred days, in Rom. 14:5 Paul says: “One man considers one day as more sacred than another; another man considers everyday alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” This means observation of a day as a day of worship is left to the individual believer to decide. Also in Galatians chapter 4:8-11, Paul is scolding the Galatian Christians for observing days, months, seasons and years. He scolded them by saying: “How is it that you are turning back to all those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
In summary and conclusion, Sabbath was commanded to be observed in the Old Testament dispensation and covenant. But this Sabbath observation is no longer binding on the Christian believer of The New Testament covenant. Whereas Sabbath was observed on a Saturday which was the seventh day of the week for Jews; Sunday is the first day of the week where the new believers used to gather for prayer and worship (1 Cor. 16:2). As for any Christian, every day of his/her life should be a holiday where every believer should walk in obedience to God’s laws and standards. Also, observation of Sunday as a day set apart for rest and worship is no problem for me. But no Government or Church can dictate on a believer on this issue.
Kaka D Iralu