Hieronymus Zanchius (Operum, Tom. iv. lib. i. c. 11), Maintains at large, and by several arguments, that we Christians have nothing to do with the moral precepts, as they were given to the Israelites by Moses; but only in so far as they agree with the law of nature, common to all nations, and confirmed by Christ, whom we acknowledge to be our king.
Witsius, Economy of the Covenants, 2.179.
Is it correct to say, though not under law and bound to its penalty since we been set free from it, we are now slaves to righteousness, which is embodied in the moral law, i.e the Ten Commandments ( Rom 6:13-19)?
Yes, I think so. Zanchi was affirming the abiding validity of the moral law, which is substantially the same in the Decalogue and the natural law.
Since the 4th commandment was inaugurated as a creation ordinance and is in the Decalogue I assume it is included as moral law. Would it fall under natural law though since it seems a divine precept had to be given from God for the children of Israel to know to keep it, ie not gathering manna before the giving of the law? It seems the other commandments are self evident and natural as written on mans heart but I’m not sure the sabbath is.
We know from Exodus 20:8 Mark 2:27 that the Sabbath was a creational institution. Both Moses and Jesus intentionally affirmed that a 6/1 and work/rest pattern is built into the nature of things, and hence natural law. The Saturday Sabbath was a Mosaic institution but it is essential to the Sabbath itself. It was part of the typological system. I do not assume that the creational Sabbath was a Saturday Sabbath. I may have been. Who knows? What is essential is the pattern. What is essential is that the Sabbath was made for man (for rest, worship, and works of mercy) not man for the Sabbath.
See the chapter in RRC.
Agree. Thank you.
This week we are studying the 4th Commandment in Lord’s Day 36 of the Heidelberg Catechism. Your Heidelcast 82: The Holy Law Of God (6)—The Fourth Commandment clarifies God’s purpose for this day of rest.
What does it mean when a person disagrees with the essential pattern of the Sabbath and therefore does not observe Sunday as a day of rest and mercy but worships morning and evening?
I would say that they are halfway home! The idea of “sabbath” in general is very difficult for Americans, who are exceeding busy, and difficult for American evangelicals who tend to so identify the Sabbath with Moses (“the old covenant”) that when Moses was fulfilled they think that the Sabbath went away with it. They need to be convinced that the Sabbath pattern is built into creation and is renewed in redemption, in Christ’s resurrection.
As a practical matter, many American evangelicals have never seen the Sabbath in practice. They have no idea how observe the Sabbath. Here is where the example of the pastors and elders is so important and where patient, gracious Christian education is so important.
Here are some resources:
There is a chapter on the Sabbath here:
There is some audio on the Sabbath:
Hit refresh to get the updated page.
The links on the page for the resources on the christian sabbath do not work.
Fixed & updated
What about those who believe it is the Christian Sabbath and attend both Lord’s Day services, yet they disagree with the strict recreation clause in the WCF. They say it is fine to go to a park or ride bicycles with the family, read social media etc?
What about those who believe it is the Christian Sabbath and attend both Lord’s Day services, yet they disagree with the strict recreation clause in the WCF 21.7
VIII. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations,but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.
They say it is fine to not just have holy thoughts and deeds but recreation like go to a park or ride bicycles with the family, read social media etc?
See RRC and the resources page.
The Sabbath is a day of rest but the Sabbath is for man not man for the Sabbath. There is necessarily Christian liberty in defining rest. If a family wants to go for a walk or a bicycle ride, that seems to be a matter of Christian liberty.