Sunday Catechism: Holiness and Rest


Q: What does the fourth commandment require?

A: The fourth commandment requires us to set apart to God the times He has established in His word —specifically one whole day out of every seven as a holy Sabbath to Him.


Three extra reasons why we need to keep the Sabbath, as Christian parents: One, we need to model holiness, obedience, and devotion to our children; they need to see us following the rules as much as making them. Two, the busier life becomes, the more important it becomes to deliberately set aside time to rest from it. Three, we need to establish early on going to church as a habit and priority in the lifestyles of our families.

There are lots of problems with the way the Sabbath is observed in the modern American church. Sunday has been called on different occasions the most stressful, segregated, and self-absorbed times in America. Let us confess that this is too often true and resolve toward repentance.

We do not often relate rest to holiness. Rest is usually seen as an indulgence, a time to relax one’s sense of responsibility and slacken one’s awareness and sensitivity. In the Bible, though, the day of rest is the holiest day of the week, the one day when the focus turns from the work of creation to fellowship with the Creator. It is the least flexible day, the day that is set apart.

If we have a false sense of the Christ, we may be tempted to think he is simply a challenger to legalism, a dude who told all the Pharisees to chill out. But as the incarnate Savior, he is so much more. He is the fulfillment of the Sabbath, the fully accessible God to a fallen world. He is the key to freeing us from the work and duty of the law. He is the host and head of a new community of eternal feast and fellowship. He is, in his body and blood, the renewing sustenance of our spirituality and the touchstone of our worship and remembrance. Through him we can simultaneously let go of broken business and step onto shining paths of glory. He is our friend. He is our Lord. He is our rest.


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