( foror for )
|Keep Holy the Sabbath|
We say that "Conservative Christians profess to believe" because in actuality they are great at enforcing passages of the bible that don't apply to them on others, while they are very good at ignoring the bible's teaching when it would interfere with their own lives.
Have you noticed what great bible scholars so many "straight" Christian Conservatives are when it comes to finding passages of the bible that condemn homosexuality? (They had good teachers in their elders who knew all about passages in the bible that white Christians could use to bless their possession of dark skinned slaves.) What happens to all their bible scholarship when it comes to the bible's teaching on adultery and divorce for heterosexuals? An even better test, however, of the genuineness of what "Conservative Christians" profess to believe about "God's Word", is what they do about the bible's teaching regarding the 4th of the "Ten Great Commandments".
When Moses returned from his personal audience with God Almighty on Mount Sinai, the very first divine requirement that he announced to the people was the following:
"Moses assembled all the congregation of the Israelites and said to them: These are the things that the Lord has commanded you to do: Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy sabbath of solemn rest to the Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire in all your dwellings on the sabbath day."
"The Lord said to Moses: You yourself are to speak to the Israelites: "You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the Israelites shall keep the sabbath, observing the sabbath throughout their generations, as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."
When God finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God."
"One day while the people of Israel were in the wilderness, one of them was caught gathering wood on the Sabbath day. He was arrested and taken before Moses and Aaron and the other judges. They jailed him until they could find out the Lord's mind concerning him. Then the Lord ( this is the Father in the Holy Trinity, is it not?) said to Moses, "The man must die – all the people shall stone him to death outside the camp." So they took him outside the camp and killed him as the Lord (God) had commanded."
"Keep the Sabbath day holy. This is my command. Work the other six days, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God; no work shall be done that day by you or by any of your household – your sons, daughters, servants, oxen, donkeys, or cattle; even foreigners living among you must obey this law. Everybody must rest as you do."
Now on one occasion, in only one of the four Gospels, when people who knew the bible teaching above, and thought that Jesus should join with them in enforcing that teaching, Jesus didn't set a very good example for those who believe that God inspired every word in the bible. Instead,
"The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath."
Do these few words of Jesus justify any believer ignoring everything else the Bible says about the Sabbath?
Now Liberal Christians have minds and consciences that are open to many possibilities. That makes it possible for them not to feel guilty themselves about doing things that Conservatives consider "sinful" or the like. But when Conservative Christians insist that there is no room for choices, no room for doubt, then it is hypocrisy for them to absolve themselves of guilt when they make choices that only Liberal Christians can make in good conscience.
According to Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus warned his disciples:
"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven."(cf. Matt 7:12; 22:40; Lk 16:17)
How can Christian Conservatives not be hypocritcal when they fail to condemn themselves and their fellow Conservatives for opening any business that they own or control on the Saturday, or when they do business with any such enterprise, or go to work and earn money in any such enterprise on Saturday, and that includes recreational enterprises?
Since Conservative Christians' are influenced by Paul's teaching more than anyone else's, here's what Paul had to say on the matter, taking a very liberal approach to the application of long-standing sabbath and dietary laws to different times :
"Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own Lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
. . .10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.' So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
If your brother or sister is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let your good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat; it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble. The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
15:1 We who are strong ought to put up with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, 'The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.' For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God."