This article is our fourth in our series on the Ten Commandments and has been abbreviated for posting. Be sure to read and study all the scriptures quoted.
“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)
“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.”Exodus 31:13
“It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:17
The Hebrew word translated sign means “mark” or “evidence.” The Sabbath day is the mark God gave His people to identify them as His own. By it, the people of God would know the Source of their sanctification (separation).
Obedience to God’s eternal Law plays a crucial role in bringing about this sanctification. It is not that a people become sanctified (somehow, by God’s grace) and, as a result, start obeying God’s law. God’s Word does not support the Protestant concept that sanctification is imputed by God’s grace and mysteriously empowers one to obey His commandments. They have it backwards.
Rather, obedience to the eternal moral Law of God causes sanctification. Law-keeping and sanctification become intrinsically connected: To obey God’s Law is to be sanctified. By its nature, Law-keeping brings about sanctification.
God states that obeying His Laws creates a people unlike any others on the earth, a people set apart from others, a holy nation – “A people dwelling alone, not reckoning itself among the nations” (Numbers 23:9).
If commandment–keeping separates us from the world while connecting us to God, disobedience of God’s Law has exactly the opposite effect (John 14:15). Commandment-breaking separates us from God, and connects us to the ways (Philosophies, doctrines, traditions, etc.) of the world. Individuals who disobey God’s eternal Law become like the world (I John 2:15).
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