A Short Study of Colossians 2:16-17
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”
What is wrong with setting aside the first day of the week and requiring God’s saints to keep it as a sabbath to the Lord?
We do not, and must not, observe the sabbath in a literal way for the very same reasons that we dare not observe the Jewish passover, or any other ceremonies of the law.
The sabbath day which God required the Jews to keep was only a temporary, typical ordinance, which represented Christ and our redemption by him.
WHEN GOD INSTITUTED THE SABBATH HE GAVE TWO REASONS, ONLY TWO, FOR HIS PEOPLE TO OBSERVE IT.
The sabbath day was to be kept, first, as a symbol of God’s rest (Exodus 20:8-11). It represented the completion of God’s creation and the satisfaction of God with his work. Though God’s creation has been marred by the fall of man and the entrance of sin into the world, the sabbath portrayed a day of restitution in the end of time, when all things shall be restored to God (Acts 3:21; Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 1:20).
And, secondly, the sabbath day was a constant reminder of Israel’s redemption out of Egypt, which was a picture of our redemption by Christ (Deuteronomy 5:15). The sabbath, like all other aspects of the Mosaic law, was a picture prophecy of our perfect redemption by Christ. As the Jews rested on the seventh day from all their works through the week, believers find perfect rest in the Lord Jesus Christ.
WE DO NOT OBSERVE A LITERAL SABBATH DAY BECAUSE CHRIST IS OUR SABBATH, AND WE REST IN HIM.
In the New Testament the sabbath day is frequently mentioned in connection with the Jews and Jewish worship in the temple, or in the synagogues. But it is only mentioned twice, after the Book of Acts, in the Epistles. And the two places where it is mentioned are very instructive.
In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul forbids the observance of a legal sabbath day on the basis of the fact that in Christ we are entirely free from the law (Romans 6:14; Romans 7:4; Romans 10:4).
In Hebrews 4:3, 4, and 9 the Apostle tells us that all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ keep the sabbath in a spiritual way, truly keep the sabbath, by faith in him.
Trusting Christ alone for our entire, eternal acceptance with God, we have ceased from our own works. We have quit trying to save ourselves by the works of the law. We rest in Christ. And our sabbath rest shall be brought into perfection when it is consummated by the grace of God in heaven’s eternal glory.
By D. Fortner