For modern people, rest is often a luxury.  Things that are not done nor completed on weekdays, we use our rest day to accomplish them to have peace of mind.  Then the tasks we move to our rest day make that day full.  As a result, the rest day becomes our busiest day!  It seems that it is easier said than done to have rest.  Perhaps the only times we would get extended rest is if we are sick or dead.  

      Thinking of this, how do we Christians respond to the command in God's Ten Commandments:

     “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11)  

         The Israelites made a big mistake in understanding this commandment. They thought that the Sabbath i was to be kept for God’s sake, because it is stated that a Sabbath is to be kept to the Lord your God.  In Psalm 46, the psalmist writes: "Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."  Resting then seems only to be done to satisfy the requirement of God.  In order to observe the Sabbath, the religious leaders back then also created many rules to restrict people's activities on the Sabbath, to ensure that people respect God and not violate God's holy day.  In the end, the Sabbath was no longer a day of rest, but became a moment to fear - for a little carelessness, you will be convicted of breaking the law.

        Christians are often asked: Why do you not keep the Sabbath (Saturday)? Even if it is replaced by Sunday, Christians do not necessarily stop working that day. Don’t Christians blatantly disobey God’s commandments? (For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.  James 2:10) The response of ordinary Christians is “We are now living under the grace of Christ, not the law.” (But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.  Romans 7:6) But we must honestly ask ourselves: even if we follow the "new way of the Spirit", do we enjoy "rest"?  

       Next week, I will write more in depth about "Resting”.



          想到這裡,我們基督徒怎樣回應神十誡中的命令: 出埃及記 20:8「當記念安息日,守為聖日。9六日要勞碌做你一切的工,10但第七日是向耶和華你神當守的安息日。這一日你和你的兒女、僕婢、牲畜,並你城裡寄居的客旅,無論何工都不可做;11因為六日之內,耶和華造天、地、海,和其中的萬物,第七日便安息,所以耶和華賜福與安息日,定為聖日。」    

          以色列人在這誡命上犯了大錯。他們以爲安息日是爲了神去遵守的,因爲是 “向耶和華你神當守的安息日。這一日你和你的兒女、僕婢、牲畜,並你城裡寄居的客旅,無論何工都不可做。”。並且詩篇46篇裡又說:“你們要休息,要知道我是神!我必在外邦中被尊崇,在遍地上也被尊崇。”  安息好像是爲了滿足神的要求。以色列人爲了遵守安息日,還發明了許多規條去限制人安息日的活動,確保人尊崇神,不至觸犯神的聖日。至終,安息日不再是休息的日子,反而是個提心吊膽的時刻;因爲稍一不慎,就會觸犯律法而被定罪。

         基督徒也常被問及:你們爲何不守安息日(星期六)?就算以星期天代之,基督徒也不見得那天不上班或不操活。基督徒不是明目張膽地廢掉神的誡命嗎?(雅各書 2:10因為凡遵守全律法的,只在一條上跌倒,他就是犯了眾條。)一般基督徒的回應是:我們如今活在基督的恩典之下,不在律法之下。(羅馬書7:6但我們既然在捆我們的律法上死了,現今就脫離了律法,叫我們服事主,要按著心靈的新樣,不按著儀文的舊樣。)但我們要誠實的自問:就算是按着「心靈的新樣」,我們有享到「安息」嗎?