[ -top- ] [ -prev- ] [ -next- ] [ -bottom- ]
by Dr. John Thomas
Under the gospel, or "law of liberty," he is subjected to no "yoke of bondage" concerning a sabbath day.
It is his delight when an opportunity presents, to celebrate in this way the day of the resurrection.
He requires no penal statutes to compel him to a formal and disagreeable self-denial, or "duty"; for it is his meat and drink to do the will of his Father who is in heaven.
The law of Moses was delivered to the Israelites and not to the Gentiles, who were therefore "without the law".
"What things soever the law saith, it says it to them who are under the law"; consequently the nations were not amenable to it; and though they obtained not the blessings of Mount Gerizim (unless they became faithful Jews by adoption), neither were they obnoxious to the curses of Mount Ebal.
The faithless Jews and Gentiles are equally aliens from the precepts of Christ and his apostles.
What these prescribe is enjoined upon the disciples of Jesus.
They only are "under law to Christ".
"What have I" says Paul, "to do to judge them that are without?
God judgeth them".
He has caused the gospel of the kingdom to be preached to sinners "for the obedience of faith".
When they are judged, it will be for "not obeying the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ," and not because they do not "go to church," or do not keep a sabbath instituted by a semi-pagan emperor of the fourth century.
The sabbath God requires sinful men to observe is to cease from the works of the flesh, as completely as He rested from the work of creation on the seventh day, that they may enter into the millennial rest that remaineth for the people of God.
Men frequently err in their speculations from inattention to the marked distinction which subsists in the scriptures between those classes of mankind termed "saints" and "sinners".
They confound what is said to, or concerning, the one, with what is said in relation to the other.
Relatively to the institutions of God they are as near or afar off as are "citizens" and "foreigners" to the laws and constitution of the United States.
"What the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law".
This is a principle laid down by Paul concerning the law of Moses, which is equally true of the codes of all nations.
"Citizens" are the saints, or separated ones, of the particular code by which they are insulated from all other people; while "foreigners" or "aliens" from their commonwealth are sinners in relation to it; for they live in other countries in total disregard of its institutions, and doing contrary to its laws, and yet are blameless: so that if they were to visit the country of that commonwealth, they would not be punished for their former course, because they were not under law to it.
Let them, however, while sojourning there continue their native customs, and they would become guilty and worthy of the punishment made and provided for such offenders.
It is a fact, that "God blessed and sanctified" or set apart, "the seventh day"; and doubtless, Adam and his wife rested, or intermitted, their horticultural tendance upon that day.
Yea, we may go further and say, that it is extremely probable that "the sons of God" before the flood, worshipped God according to "His way" upon that day; but in all the history of that long period, which intervened from the sanctification of the seventh day to the raining down bread from heaven for the Israelites in the wilderness, there is not the least hint of any punishment for breaking the sabbath day.
Guiltiness before God cannot therefore be argued against the Gentiles so as to entitle them to death or reprobation, predicated on the threatenings of the patriarchal code.