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In the Gates


The Fourth Commandment

 Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy


Deuteronomy 5.12-15

“‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.’”

Isaiah 56.1-8; Isaiah 58.13, 14

The motive for Sabbath-keeping, as it is declared here, reflects on the redemptive work of God. The Lord’s Day is a time to remember God’s work of creation and providence, by which we are so abundantly blessed each day. But we must also remember – “actively attend to” – His work of redemption.

We were slaves to sin, lost and without hope in the world, when the Lord came to us in the Egypt of our sin and brought us out by a powerful redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. We can never plumb the depths of the richness of Christ’s saving work. The Lord’s Day offers us a weekly opportunity to reflect on all facets of His saving grace, and to look forward – through worship, meditation, prayer, and singing – to the final great work of redemption that is yet to be.

Thus, once a week, the Lord invites us to become immersed anew in His saving mercy and grace. We look back to what Jesus has done, forward to what remains, and around at how we must live out our redemption in the week to come.

Guard your Lord’s Day against anything robbing you of this great privilege and essential delight.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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