In Matthew Henry’s commentary on The Whole Bible, we read these words:
Whatever supports religion tends to establish the civil interests of a land. (Jeremiah 17:19-27, subsection III, eSword module).
Though this is far from all that Matthew Henry expounds upon in this particular section of the book of Jeremiah, it holds an inherent truth that has been realized throughout generations of those who seek the Lord in truth and spirit.
It is a well known fact, in church history, that the magisterial arm of civil government was considered as a part of the church, though such was never the case in the church of Jesus Christ in the New Testament; however, that we do our civil duties as to God and not as to man; as pleasing God, and not as men-pleasers, is always a part of worshipping Him in spirit and truth, and even more so, on the day set aside by Him for the express purpose of thinking of, speaking of, and doing those things which pertain to His glorious holiness, and not the cares and concerns of our daily lives by our own mandate.
Where, then, is this line drawn; where is it that we stop that which is decisively not of service to, and worship of, the One True God, on this day?
Shall we do that work which provides for us, by His provision, on this day?
Shall we go to the store to buy as we have need, on this day?
Shall we indulge in entertainments which are decisively not of the worship of God in spirit and truth on this day?
These are questions which have been in dispute among those who call themselves by the name of the Lord throughout the history of the church, and continue unabated to this day.
To these things we may refer to the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647, regarding Chapter XXI., subsection VIII:
VIII. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.
And of the London Baptist Confession of 1689, Chapter 22, subsection 7:
7 As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God’s appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord’s day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished. (Exod. 20:8; 1Co 16:1-2; Act 20:7; Rev 1:10).
Recognizing, then, that various of many men of God have considered these things, and after due prayerful deliberation, have constructed these commentaries we call Confessions of Faith, as also with the various Creeds and Catechisms of the orthodox church, regardless of whatever faults these various men may or did have and partake of, we should at least be given to as strong a contemplation of these things as they were, if not more so (though we could have mentioned other Confessions and Creeds and Catechisms which support such as these two quoted have mentioned, these are considered enough).
This article is not to give men who profess themselves of God and Christ our Lord the opportunity to argue the position; rather, it is to give them the opportunity of seeing how it has been so in the church from not only the Reformation, but before, as it is mentioned in the Holy Scripture (let the reader search the Scripture on these matters), from before that time the church had become infected with various devices of men and worship of men and objects unrelated to the Lord’s Day, and which, by His grace, we recovered such true worship of the Lord our God; therefore, this, instead of being a complete treatment of these matters, is to give pause to reflect, to meditate, to study of that which is spoken of, which, put simply, is this: Keep the Lord’s Day Holy, as unto Him, and Him alone.
Regardless of how each man might understand these things at this time, this is an invitation to understand exactly what many men of old, and many now alive, understand, concerning these things, and to ask what it is that we do in regard to such understanding.
There are those who say the Sabbath is everyday in the Lord Jesus Christ; well and good. Keep every day holy unto the Lord as He instituted and continued the Sabbath.
There are those who say that the Sabbath was abolished in the death of Christ; I dare say we shall find more of the world and man’s imaginations than the holiness of God and worship of our Lord in such a case.
As for this writer, I am convinced of the Scripture that there is a day when we stop pursuit of all things but those prayers, worship, and activities which bend the mind and body to God alone. Let every man be convinced in His own mind of such, and if there are any who think different, let them learn of God (Philippians 3:15-16).
To God’s glory alone – Bill Hier