Some today insist that Christians must keep the Sabbath day, that those
who worship on the first day of the week (Sunday) are in great error.
They reason that "Sun-day" comes from the pagan worship of the Sun god,
that Jesus and Paul kept the Sabbath day as an example for us to follow,
and that the Roman Catholic church is responsible for the change in the
day of worship. Those who continue to worship on Sunday will receive the
mark of the beast.
Let’s briefly look at these arguments.
First, nowhere does the Fourth
Commandment say that Christians are to worship on the Sabbath. It
commands that we rest on that day: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it
holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh
day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work
. . . For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all
that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed
the Sabbath day, and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8–11). Sabbath-keepers
worship on Saturday. However, the word "Satur-day" comes from the Latin
for "Saturn’s day," a pagan day of worship of the planet Saturn
If a Christian’s salvation depends upon his keeping a certain day, surely God would have told us. At one point, the apostles gathered specifically to discuss the relationship of believers to the Law of Moses. Acts 15:5–11, 24–29 was God’s opportunity to make His will clear to His children. All He had to do to save millions from damnation was say, "Remember to keep the Sabbath holy," and millions of Christ-centered, God-loving, Bible-believing Christians would have gladly kept it. Instead, the only commands the apostles gave were to "abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication."
There isn’t even one command in the New Testament for Christians to keep the Sabbath holy. In fact, we are told not to let others judge us regarding Sabbaths (Colossian 2:16), and that man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath was given as a sign to Israel (Exodus 31:13–17); nowhere is it given as a sign to the Church. Thousands of years after the Commandment was given we can still see the sign that separates Israel from the world—they continue to keep the Sabbath holy.
The apostles came together on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7). The collection was taken on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:2). When do Sabbath-keepers gather together to break bread or take up the collection? It’s not on the same day as the early Church. They tell us that the Roman Catholic church changed their day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, but what has that got to do with the disciples keeping the first day of the week? That was the Roman Catholic church in the early centuries, not the Church of the Book of Acts.
Romans 14:5–10 tells us that one man esteems one day of the week above another; another esteems every day alike. Then Scripture tells us that everyone should be fully persuaded in his own mind. We are not to judge each other regarding the day on which we worship.
Jesus did keep the Sabbath. He had to keep the whole Law to be the perfect sacrifice. The Bible makes it clear that the Law has been satisfied in Christ. The reason Paul went to the synagogue each Sabbath wasn’t to keep the Law; that would have been contrary to everything he taught about being saved by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8,9). It was so he could preach the gospel to the Jews, as evident in the Book of Acts. Paul had an incredible evangelistic zeal for Israel to be saved (Romans 10:1). To the Jew he became as a Jew, that he might win the Jews (1 Corinthians 9:19,20). That meant he went to where they gathered on the day they gathered.
D. L. Moody said, "The Law can only chase a man to Calvary, no further." Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law so we are no longer in bondage to it. If we try to keep one part of the Law (even out of love for God), we are obligated to keep the whole Law (Galatians 3:10)—all 613 precepts. If those who insist on keeping the Sabbath were as zealous about the salvation of the lost as they are about other Christians keeping the Sabbath, we would see revival.