Karen Connell

This is supposed to be the holiday season of “peace and joy,” but for many it is a time of “stress & frustration”—due to being caught up in all the trappings of the season. When thinking about how this used to be my  situation, I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to share some insights that have brought a great “rest” into my life. As one who truly loves God and wants to be and to do all that pleases Him, I seemed to always be “striving” to be “righteous” enough for Him. Striving creates stress and I truly needed to learn how to “enter into His rest.” Most Christians do not realize that “keeping the Sabbath Day” means just that. We are commanded to REMEMBER[1] and KEEP HOLY the Sabbath DAY (Literally: sanctify ourselves at a specific time) and we do this by “remembering” the great sacrifice of the body (the bread) and blood (the cup) that Jesus provided for us as a way of acknowledging our sin by self-examination at the communion table of the Lord. By the symbols of the BREAD and the CUP we acknowledge and make known our sin and partake of the bread and the cup as a sign that WE ARE cleansed by our faith in His broken body and shed blood, from all sin and declared righteous (justified) before God. Thus, no more striving… we can truly enter God’s rest. The word SABBATH[2] means “to put down or get rid of,” WHAT? All SIN! If we confess, He forgives—this results in “rest”—no more striving or condemnation! 

When we come to the COMMUNION table, we are told to examine ourselves before we partake of the “symbols” of the body and blood of Christ, which cleanses us from ALL sin (1 Cor. 11:28). Understanding that Jesus is our Sabbath (not a certain day of the week) and that all old Testament Sabbaths & feast days have been fulfilled by his birth, death and resurrection—is not something that most professing Christians are being taught. Not understanding this truth keeps people “striving” to practice laws that Jesus fulfilled. Striving to be righteous and holy keeps us feeling guilty & we never enter the true rest that comes through faith in the sacrificial life and death of Jesus Christ our true Sabbath.

Come unto me, all ye that labor (are striving) and are heavy laden (stressed) and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28) (Why? He is our Sabbath).

This is why the Apostle Paul told us not judge one another when it came to keeping the Sabbath or any of the Old Testament feasts

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths… For these laws are only shadows of the reality that was yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality… Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial… (i.e. those who do) Their sinful (i.e. erroneous) minds have made them proud… and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it… You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the laws and ways of the world… They are mere human teachings … These laws and ways may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in (holiness or) conquering a person’s evil (carnal) desires. (Col 2:16-22) (Parenthesis mine)

May this season be a true time of SABBATH rest, peace and joy, as you truly make Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior EVERDAY over all areas of your life!

[1] REMEMBER OT:2142 zakar (zaw-kar’) CWSD: the act of acknowledging, bringing to the memory or to the attention of, to make something known, by means of a memorial sign or symbol.

[2] SABBATH OT:7673 shabath (shaw-bath’) to cease, celebrate,  leave, put away (down), rest, get rid of.

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