Two truths direct the fabric of the universe: Creation and Sabbath. They are revealed on the first page of the Bible. As creator, God made everything in six days. Having finished his work of creating, he rested the seventh or Sabbath day. He set apart the Sabbath day as holy (Gen. 2:4). This is before the Ten Commandments and before the ceremonial law. This is his normative example. Hallow the Sabbath.
That we are created by God reveals our origin and purpose; that he has given us the Sabbath shows us the way to rest and peace. We were made for him. We were made for meaningful work, to subdue the earth for his glory. The Sabbath gives us one day in seven to be renewed for this purpose. When the pursuit of life is escape from maturity into entertainment and sports, or these are allowed to crowd out our main purpose, Sabbath is no longer sought or valued. God’s Sabbath rest is ignored or a hated embarrassment to unfaithful men; it reminds them that they are living out of according with God.
The purpose of Sabbath rest is to contemplate God’s works, as he did. God’s works at the time of Genesis 2:4 were his glorious works in nature. Now, his most glorious works are the salvation of sinners. Through Jesus Christ the Redeemer, we have Sabbath, or rest (Heb. 4). He has finished the works required for us to be at peace with God through his righteousness imputed to us and his blood cleansing our sins. Through faith in his mediation, we enter into the rest of redemption accomplished. We celebrate his rest by keeping his Sabbath (Heb. 4:9).
We are his image on the battlefield. Full rest is coming, but now we fight. We need Sabbath. On the first day of the week, the day of resurrection, we hear God’s word of grace and enjoy the fellowship of the saints (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1). We sing the songs of Zion, and God dwells in our midst and rejoices over us with singing (Zeph. 3:17). Jesus Christ comes by his Spirit and preaches in our midst (Heb. 2:12). The Holy Spirit forms us into God’s temple, his dwelling place (Eph. 2:21-22). Weekly Sabbath restores purpose and perspective. Without Sabbath, Christ’s glory and heaven’s hope grows dimmer. Sabbath rest reminds us that “our labors are not in vain in the Lord.”
Be sure your children understand these truths, so that they can understand God and themselves. God has made us. God made us to serve him through dominion (Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11). God made us to rest with him in worship. Families and denominations rise and fall around the issues of Creation and Sabbath, for they are the foundations upon which the flag of Calvary is raised. Jesus Christ restores and strengthens us to the creation purpose of godly work and dominion under his Lordship (Heb. 2:9). Jesus Christ gives true rest (Matt. 11:29).