A Day Set Apart: Revisiting the “No Recreation” Clause of WCF 21.8, Part 2

Before advancing to an exegesis of Isaiah 58:13-14, I want to make two points of practical application from the previous section. First, we must dispel the notion of the Sabbath as a day of oppression and restriction. The unconscious tendency for many Christians – and likely many ordination candidates as well – is to recoil from the idea that the Sabbath Day is the “best” day of the week. We are all too quick to misunderstand the Lord’s Day as a day defined by “what we cannot do” rather than the day defined by “what we get to do” as beings created “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” (WSC 1).

The fourth commandment expresses to us a positive blessing in its keeping. Instead of asking what types of activities I am restricted from on the Lord’s Day, we should be asking “what is the best way to maximize my joy in Christ by keeping the Lord’s Day holy, as the Christian Sabbath?” The Sabbath Day is called a “day of rest” (Gen. 2, Exod. 20). While it may seem obvious, the point in need of recognition is in the phrase that resting from our normal weekly activities for an entire day is positively a good thing. Such as been the case about this rest since God commanded it. It is imperative to view Sabbath passages with the perspective of obedience as a positive command.

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