This page is to reveal the truth about the Spirit and the letter of the law.  Does keeping the law in the Spirit do away with the Sabbath?  The truth is revealed here.

The Spirit and the Letter

 

The spirit and the letter is a much confused subject concerning the Sabbath day.  Many Christians believe that the quotes by Paul concerning the letter of the law being replaced by the Spirit actually does away with the Sabbath commandment, and some even believe it does away with all Ten of the Commandments.  But what is the truth?  What is Paul really trying to say?  Let's look at some of these verses.

 

Romans 2:28-29 .....'For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.'

 

Romans 7:6 .....'But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.'

 

2 Corinthians 3:6 .....'Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.'

 

These verses show that the Spirit supersedes the letter of the law.  But does that mean the letter, ie. the commandments written on stone have been done away with?  Of course not!  It means that we keep the commandments in a spiritual way, in the heart, and not just in the flesh.  There is a structure to keeping the law in the Spirit, as follows:

 

Love God

Love your neighbour

Justice, Mercy, Faith and human need

Obedience to specific commands (Letter of Law), ie. No work on the Sabbath

 

Notice that loving your neighbour comes BEFORE doing no work on the Sabbath.  How does this fit into keeping the law in the Spirit rather than the letter?  We can see this structure in the many examples in the Bible:

 

Exodus 20:9-10 .....'Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.' ..... This is the letter of the law, which is pretty straight forward.  We are not to do ANY work on the Sabbath Day.  Now take a look at the next verse.

 

Exodus 23:4-5 .....'If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.  If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.' ..... Now what if this fell on a Sabbath Day, should we help that person?  Of course we should!  Even though it would be counted as working, loving your neighbour comes BEFORE the specific command saying that we do no work.  Jesus made this plain Himself that love and mercy came BEFORE the letter of the law:

 

Matthew 12:2-4 .....'But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.  But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?' ..... How did David do what was not lawful for him according to the letter of the law, and not be guilty?  Because there was human need.  He and his companions were hungry and in need of food, therefore mercy superseded the letter of the law in this instance.

 

What about the disciples plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath?  This would have been considered as reaping in a very small way, which was work ..... Matthew 12:1-2 .....'At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.  But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.' ..... But Jesus, after explaining about David eating the holy bread and the priests profaning the Sabbath (by the way, the priests profaned the Sabbath by doing MORE work through burnt offerings for sins, but they were guiltless, because they did it out of mercy for the people) said, "But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless." ..... You see, mercy and love is what God wants us to keep over and above the letter of the law.

 

Jesus also healed on the Sabbath many times, which would have been considered as working.  But as we now understand, love for another comes BEFORE keeping the letter of the law.  Now here's the big point;  Does this mean that the Sabbath commandment has been done away with?  Of course not!  We are to still keep the Sabbath commandment, BUT if someone is in need on the Sabbath day and helping that person would be considered as work, then your love and mercy for that person comes BEFORE the letter of that commandment which says "DO NO WORK".  And by helping someone in need, I don't mean someone who needs a wardrobe moving, or help digging the garden, that is not someone in need.  By keeping the Spirit of the Sabbath commandment you would be showing love and mercy to others over and above keeping the specifics (letter) of that command. 

 

Remember, keeping the Sabbath commandment is still on the list, because God commanded it, and your love for God comes first.  But loving your neighbour comes before keeping the specifics of that command.  This is what Paul means when he says that we should keep the law in the newness of the spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

 

www.the-bible-sabbath.com/the-spirit-and-the-letter.html

 

What is the correct way to worship God?  Find out HERE.