Sabbath observance is a topic of great controversy and debate among Christians. While some religious groups, such as Seventh-day Adventists, emphasize the importance of keeping the Sabbath, most traditional Christians choose to worship on Sunday. In this content, we will explore the reasons behind this difference and why many Christians do not keep the Sabbath.
The Meaning of the Sabbath in Christianity
Before we get into the reasons why most Christians don't keep the Sabbath, it's important to understand the relevance of the Sabbath in the context of Christianity. Saturday is the seventh day of the week, which begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.
In the Old Testament, Sabbath keeping was a fundamental part of the Law given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Sabbath commandment is found in the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, as the fourth commandment, and states:
"You shall keep the Sabbath day holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God; you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor any stranger from your gates within; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." (Exodus 20:8-11).
This commandment became a distinctive symbol of Jewish identity and was strictly observed by them. However, the arrival of Jesus Christ and the beginning of Christianity brought a new perspective on Sabbath observance.
Moving to Sunday
The change from Sabbath to Sunday observance can be traced back to apostolic times, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Several fundamental reasons contributed to this change:
1. The Resurrection of Jesus
Jesus' resurrection took place on the first day of the week, which is Sunday. This brought a new meaning to the first day of the week for Christ's followers. Sunday came to be known as the "Lord's Day", in reference to the day on which Jesus rose from the dead, conquering death and inaugurating a new covenant.
2. Celebrating the Lord's Supper
The first Christians began meeting on the first day of the week, Sunday, to celebrate the Lord's Supper, which commemorated Christ's sacrifice on the cross. This act of worship and communion became a regular Sunday practice.
3. The Influence of the Apostle Paul
The apostle Paul played a significant role in the spread of Christianity among the Gentiles. He often taught that believers were no longer under the Mosaic Law, including Sabbath observance. He emphasized that salvation was by grace, not by the works of the Law. In his epistles, he made it clear that Christians were not obliged to observe Jewish rituals, including the Sabbath.
4. The Persecution of Christians
The first Christians faced persecution and sometimes met secretly. This led them to meet on different days of the week, and Sunday became a convenient day as it was the day of Christ's resurrection.
The Ongoing Debate
Despite the historic change to Sunday, the debate about Sabbath observance continues among Christians. Some groups, such as Seventh-day Adventists, believe that Sabbath keeping is a vital part of the Christian faith and strictly observe it. They quote passages from the Old and New Testaments to support their position.
On the other hand, most traditional Christians argue that the New Testament teaches freedom from observing the Jewish Law. They see the Sabbath as a shadow that pointed to the reality found in Christ and believe that true worship takes place in spirit and in truth, not on a specific day of the week.
The Role of Tradition and History
Tradition and history also play an important role in Sunday observance. Most traditional Christian churches have a long history of worshipping on Sunday, which contributes to the continuity of this practice. In addition, Sunday has been officially adopted as the day of rest in Western culture, reinforcing its importance as a day of worship.
In short, Christians don't keep the Sabbath mainly because of changes in religious observance that took place at the beginning of Christianity. The resurrection of Jesus, the celebration of the Lord's Supper on Sunday and the influence of the apostle Paul played a key role in the transition from Sabbath to Sunday observance. In addition, tradition and history play a significant role in the practice of worship on Sunday.
Although the debate about Sabbath observance continues, it is important to recognize that for most Christians, Sunday is the day of worship and reflection, remembering the resurrection of Jesus and the freedom found in Christ. It is an example of the evolution of the Christian faith throughout history and the different interpretations that arise according to the traditions and beliefs of each denomination.
October 17th, 2023
With much faith and positivity, she writes for the Oração e Fé daily, bringing messages and Divine teachings to everyone.