The Lord’s Day and the Kingdom of Grace

Jesus’s resurrection changed everything. It proved he was the Son of God, confirmed all of his teaching, and brought hope of the same resurrection to his followers.

The resurrection of Jesus also changed the day of worship for God’s people. New Testament believers began to regularly gather and worship on the first day of the week instead of the seventh. This was no small change! God’s people had been set apart through Sabbath practice since the exodus from Egypt. That weekly worship shifted to Sunday highlights the massive importance of Jesus’s rising from the dead.

This shift to Sunday worship helps us think about rest and grace. With seventh-day worship, God’s people worked six days and then rested, following the pattern of the Creator himself. With first-day worship, God’s people rest and then work six days. This seems wonderfully consistent with the nature of the New Covenant.

The day of rest is a gracious gift. It is not given after six days of obedience. Instead simple membership in the kingdom grants a day of rest and worship before any weekly work is accomplished. We don’t earn the day of rest, and we cannot lose it.

This is not to say that the Old Covenant or the Sabbath practices therein were not gracious! God has always been loving and gracious to his people.

My simple point is that the shift to first-day sabbath practices (worship and rest) for followers of Christ makes God’s grace abundantly clear. Sunday sabbath emphasizes God’s grace to his people, preparing them for the good works he calls them to in the subsequent six days.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

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