God’s Laws and Policies in a Fallen World – Sabbath Day and Lord’s Day Outside the Gospels

Peter Barnes | Colossians 2:16-23; Acts 20:1-16


1. The Lord’s Day is instituted.

– this was not instituted by the emperor Constantine in the fourth century. It is there in the New Testament – Rev.1:10. Ignatius of Antioch wrote of Christians as ‘no longer sabbatizing but living according to the Lord’s Day, on which also our life arose through him and through his death’.

– Acts 20:7; 1 Cor.16:1-2. Tertullian regarded Sabbath-keeping as ‘strange’ – it is part of ‘their peculiarities’, he said, referring to the Jews – and in its place called the Lord’s Day ‘the day of joy’.

2. Other New Testament texts show that faith is more important than days.

– Rom.14:5-6. The emphasis is on the faith, not the days.

– in two other texts, Paul is strongly against holy days – Gal.4:10-11; Col.2:16-17. J. Gresham Machen said that ‘It concerns the question not of this doctrine or that, but of the importance which is attributed to doctrine as such.’ A right sense of proportion is important.

3. The Sabbath is not simply a moral law.

– Robert Murray M’Cheyne: ‘The murderer who is dragged to the gibbet, and the polished Sabbath-breaker are one in the sight of God.’ There is truth in that, but as it stands, it is very capable of being understood in a wooden way, and so should be regarded as injudicious.

(a) Slaves in first centuries. They never appealed to Acts 5:29.

(b) Living in a society where Sunday is a work day. Some flexibility is allowed.

(c) Working on a Sunday in modern Western society.

(d) Can a Seventh Day Adventist be saved?