In today’s fast-paced society, it’s not uncommon for people to work seven days a week. Many individuals find themselves working on Sundays, whether it’s due to personal or professional reasons. As Evangelical Christians, it’s essential to understand what the Bible teaches about working on Sundays, and whether it is permissible according to God’s word. In this blog post, we will explore various biblical perspectives on working on Sundays, drawing from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.
The concept of a day of rest originates from the Creation story, where God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh day. The Sabbath was then established as a day of rest for the Israelites in the Old Testament, serving as a time for them to honor God and reflect on His goodness. While the Sabbath has historically been observed on Saturdays, many Christians now observe Sunday as their day of rest, aligning with the day of Jesus’ resurrection.
In the following sections, we will examine biblical passages that address the issue of working on Sundays, discuss the role of the Sabbath in both the Old and New Testaments, and explore how these teachings may apply to modern believers. As we delve into this topic, it’s crucial to remember that our understanding of the Bible should be rooted in love, grace, and a desire to seek God’s guidance in our lives.
The Sabbath in the Old Testament
The establishment of the Sabbath is first mentioned in Genesis. After creating the world in six days, God rested on the seventh day:
“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3, NKJV)
Later, God made the Sabbath one of the Ten Commandments given to Moses:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.” (Exodus 20:8-10, NKJV)
The Sabbath served as a sign between God and the Israelites, a reminder of their covenant relationship:
“Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:16-17, NKJV)
The Sabbath in the New Testament
In the New Testament, Jesus often confronted the religious leaders of His time regarding their legalistic approach to the Sabbath. They had added numerous man-made rules and regulations, which obscured the true purpose of the Sabbath. Jesus emphasized the importance of mercy and compassion over rigid observance:
“And He said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.'” (Mark 2:27-28, NKJV)
Christians often point to Jesus’ resurrection on the first day of the week as the basis for observing Sunday as the day of rest:
“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.” (Luke 24:1-2, NKJV)
The early church also met and worshipped on the first day of the week, as noted in Acts and 1 Corinthians:
“Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.” (Acts 20:7, NKJV)
“On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.” (1 Corinthians 16:2, NKJV)
Understanding the Sabbath for Modern Believers
The New Testament teaches that Christ has fulfilled the requirements of the Old Testament law, including the Sabbath. The Apostle Paul warned against judging others based on their observance of days:
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17, NKJV)
“One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.” (Romans 14:5-6, NKJV)
While the New Testament does not explicitly forbid working on Sundays, believers should prioritize their relationship with God and seek His guidance in all aspects of their lives, including work and rest. Observing a day of rest can provide an opportunity to worship, fellowship with other believers, and recharge physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
In conclusion, the Bible teaches that the Sabbath was established as a day of rest and reflection on God’s goodness. While the Old Testament focuses on the Sabbath as a Saturday observance, the New Testament emphasizes the fulfillment of the law through Jesus Christ, which includes the Sabbath. Many Christians now observe Sunday as their day of rest to honor the resurrection of Jesus and participate in worship and fellowship with other believers.
It is essential for modern believers to understand that the New Testament does not explicitly forbid working on Sundays. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of personal conviction and prioritizing our relationship with God. While observing a day of rest can provide numerous benefits, such as worship, fellowship, and rejuvenation, it is crucial to remember that legalism should not overshadow grace and love in our faith walk.
As we navigate our lives in a world that often demands our time and energy, it is vital to seek God’s guidance and wisdom in matters of work and rest. By doing so, we can find balance and ensure that our priorities align with His will, fostering a deep and meaningful relationship with the Lord. As Evangelical Christians, let us remember to approach this topic with grace, understanding, and a heart that seeks to honor God in all we do.