The Sabbath Rest

1. The Sabbath is more than a day of physical and mental rest. It is more even than a day of worship. The Sabbath has a redemptive significance, a distinct connection with the gospel.

2. God set aside the Sabbath as a day of rest to signify His perfect and finished work of creation (see Genesis 1:31; 2:1-3; Hebrews 4:4). God rested only when His work was perfect and complete. Adam and Eve, on the other hand, spent their first whole day of life resting on God's Sabbath. Only then did they take up their work.

3. Like creation, salvation begins by resting in the perfect, finished work of Christ — not by doing something.

4. Just as Christ finished creation at the end of the sixth day and rested on the seventh, so He also finished redemption on the cross on the sixth day and rested in the tomb on the seventh day.

5. When sin came into the world, it destroyed God's original significance for Sabbath rest. Humanity rebelled against God and demanded to depend only on self. Mankind introduced his own rest day — Sunday. But his substitute could not point to a finished, perfect work — either of creation or redemption.

6.The final showdown in the great controversy will take place between salvation by faith (symbolized by God's Sabbath) and salvation by works (symbolized by man's Sunday).

7. All who receive the gospel by faith once again enter into God's saving rest, of which the Sabbath is a sign (see Hebrews 4:2, 3; cf. Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12; Isaiah 58:13, 14).

8. Anyone who is keeping the Sabbath in order to be saved is perverting the very nature of Sabbath rest. If we make Sabbath keeping a requirement for being saved, we are not entering into rest. We are not pointing to a finished, perfect work. We are making the Sabbath into a means of salvation by works—a burden.

9. In the final conflict, the issue will not be between two groups of Christians, or even between two rest days, but between two opposing methods of salvation. The conflict will be between the seventh-day Sabbath, signifying salvation by faith alone, and Sunday, signifying salvation by human effort.

10. When the two opposing methods of salvation come clearly into focus, the true importance of the Sabbath will also be clearly seen. At that time, Sabbath keeping will become a test of faith.

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