Sabbath and Training Wheels


My friend Scott Chiang wrote an excellent paper about whether the Ten Commandments are a necessary supplement to the New Covenant. They are not. I hope he posts it sometime to share with everyone. In any case, he uses a wonderful metaphor concerning the law: The law is like training wheels. They help you learn how to ride a bike but they limit your freedom, you can't go as far or as fast as you were meant to, and most of all, they were meant to come off. I shared that metaphor on Sunday when I preached on the Sabbath commandment. The Sabbath is a faith endeavor. Israel rested to remember God's work of creation. As Christians, we rest to remember Christ's work of redemption and our new creation as his children. I emphasized Jesus, as Lord of the Sabbath, is less interested in how we celebrate the Sabbath (what day and and what our rest looks like) than our attitude towards the Sabbath (faith and freedom from the factory mentality). After the service, I asked a junior high kid to help with lunch clean-up and he responded half-joking "But its Sunday, aren't we supposed to rest?" I kinda gave him a dirty look and told him he hadn't been listening to me. Later, I felt kinda bad about my response. Faith is an inward process. It is so much easier and more tangible to take Sabbath as a day where I do not do "work". I wonder if most people (including myself) are not ready for the New Covenant principle of Sabbath. Perhaps the principle of Sabbath-rest in Hebrews 4 is too abstract for us to understand and live out. I wonder if very few of us are ready to ride without training wheels.

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