In Christ and His Righteousness, E. J. Waggoner presents the Sabbath as a help in visualizing the help that comes in the Christian life. Waggoner begins by seeing a connection between creation and redemption. He sees Creation and Redemption connected in Colossians 1:9-19. Jesus is the redeemer becuase he is the Creator. Waggoner quotes Hebrews 1:3 where it is stated that all things are held up by the Word.
Waggoner then quotes ISa 40:26 and notes that Christ’s power is in fact the ability to create something out of nothing. Jesus brings strength out of weakness. Creation is an illustration of Christ being able to do this. And the Sabbath is a day to remember Christ as creator. So as the Sabbath reminds us of creation we are reminded of God’s ability to take something from nothing. As we remember that our weakness and our infirmaties become less in light of the greatness of the Creator’s power.
Finally Waggoner quotes Romans 1:16 where the Gospel is the power unto salvation. Waggoner states, “Therefore the Gospel simply reveals to us the power which was used to bring the worlds into existence, [is] now exerted for the salvation of men. It is the same power in each case.”
Does the Sabbath remind us of God’s creative power? Can such a Sabbath remind us that that same power that created the world is now seeking to work for us and through us? Often when we speak of the Sabbath it is within the context of God giving us a much needed physical rest, but what are the spiritual ramifications of the Sabbath? Can we be more practical in our presentation of it? Was Waggoner Practical enough? Many questions and so little time. We ill come back to some of these questions eventually.
The other day I was reading Christ and His Righteousness by E. J. Waggoner of 1888 fame. In it Dr. Waggoner states, “Every doctrine of the Bible is for our practical benefit, and should be studied for that purpose. I immediately thought of The Homiletical Plot by Eugene Lowery which encourages us to ask the question “What bind does a doctrine get us out of?” I like the question and have come back to it often in the past as can be shown in this post from the past.
I will also come back to the question in the future. Answering that question will force the sermon and teaching to be practical and has the added benefit of helping the congregation to understand what good is a doctrine for daily living.
After stating that we must look for the Practical benefit Dr. Waggoner then tries to tackle the Sabbath doctrine and seeks to point us to a practical basis for understanding the doctrine. In the next couple of posts we will look at this attempt.
At the Baylor Christian Ethics Center there is a series of articles on the Sabbath. In the study guide Richard Lowery writes: ?By celebrating a hoped for world of abundance, self-restraint, and mutual care, the Bible?s sabbath traditions critiqued ancient royal-imperial systems that created scarcity, overwork, and gross economic inequality,?
The Bible Sabbath is a critique of the “always trying to get more” mindset of our world. It reminds us that our worth is not determined by what we do or how much we do, but simply by being created by a loving Creator.
While the faulty assumption behind much of this work is that Sunday takes on some of the meaning of the Sabbath for Christians, it is still interesting and profitable to see theological treatments of the Sabbath.