An Introduction to the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath Day

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar and truth is not in him.” – 1 John 2:4

The Bible and the Ten Commandments

Through the writings of faithful men, God has given us a Holy Book telling us of His love and faithfulness to His people. In His good pleasure, He has shown us the way of salvation through his son, Jesus Christ. The Old Testament gives men the ceremonial, civil, and moral law.  However, only the moral law was written in stone, signaling its everlasting importance. The moral law, or otherwise referred to the Ten Commandments, shows us the how far man has fallen from his perfect state in paradise with God. God has been gracious to us, allowing His glory and lustre shine in the blood sacrifice of His Son.

The Bible is a teaching book. It must be acknowledged to be the true and perfect Word of God. We cannot read the Bible accepting certain scriptures but disregarding or omitting scripture that does not satisfy and make us happy.

When God created Adam He created him perfectly, upright and in His own image. The law was written in Adam’s conscience. God, by His grace, has supplied us with a conscience. We are all born with an innate knowledge of good and evil. Sin can harden our conscience but with His goodness, we have the Bible “to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105). When speaking of the Gentiles, the apostle Paul says “the work of the law written in the hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts of the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:15).

No man can keep any of the commandments perfectly. We are all so polluted with sin, however, that does not give us a way to blatantly disregard and ignore any of the commandments. Our salvation is not of keeping the commandments but rather keeping the commandments is a fruit of our salvation. Love the commandments, keep them and give all the glory to God.

Remember, the commandments are not requests from God but rather demands from Him.

The Fourth Commandment

The fourth commandment reads, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep in holy. Six days shalt though labour, 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, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor they stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).  It is essential to remember that the commandment itself is to keep it holy. The specific instruction of the commandment is holiness. Our chief desire and aim should be keeping the Sabbath day holy.

The Sabbath day is a day for God’s glory and honour. It is a day to spend with Him. To look to Him. To plead with Him. It is the closest glimpse that man can receive to the eternal Sabbath. I urge you to spend the day showing your respects to the highest God of heaven and earth. He is sovereign and deserves so much more than our sin-filled hearts can ever give Him.

Why the Sabbath?

The Sabbath commandment is often considered the easiest and the first commandment to forget.  On the seventh day, after God created the earth, He took the day to rest and to glory in himself. It pleased God to reflect on His own holiness. It must be the same for us.  We must rejoice that God has given a day to us to worship Him.

God made time to keep the Sabbath day. Are you busier than God? He has given you six days for yourself and only requires one day for Himself. Take this day that He has given you and worship Him. Take this day for your soul and feed it, nourish it. Spend time in corporate and private worship. Pray, read, study, and sing to the LORD. We have so much to be thankful for. He gave us our daily bread, but the greatest gift he gave us was salvation through his Son.

In Exodus 20:10 it says “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God.” The Sabbath day does not belong to us. This day belongs to God. When we take this day for ourselves, we take it away from Him. Thomas Watson says “It is not only a day of honour to God, but a day of blessings to us; it is not only a day where we give God worship but a day wherein in he gives us grace. On this day a blessing drops down from heaven.” May God drop blessings on your soul every Sabbath day.

Honouring and observing the Sabbath day may seem challenging and contrary to everything around you. But, as a closing encouragement, remeber the words of Scripture: “And be ye not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2


Further Readings

The Bible: Hebrew 4

The Bible: Romans 8

The Ten Commandments by Thomas Watson

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