Pencil, from the Latin, pencillus — “little tail”, dates to the Roman Empire. The lead pencil has no lead (led) because lead is harmful to us all. The black substance inside the pencil is graphite, and graphite is harmless if consumed. When graphite was discovered, it was lumped in with lead- ore, thus we call it lead to this day, even though it has not been, is still not, nor will it ever be lead. Interestingly, it hasn’t been too long ago that the “leadless” pencil, really did contain lead and made for a dangerous device. The lead was not on the inside however, it was on the outside, contained in the paint used to coat the surface. What is a pencil worth, if is not a chewable device?
In matters of faith, we have many such misnomers and contradictions as the pencil and lead.
We insist on keeping some alive, though they are incorrect and misleading at best? Here’s one for example:
The Sabbath is on Sunday. To this very day, many people in churches, (ministers too) within and without will refer to the Sabbath as something observed on Sunday. But Sunday is “the Lord’s Day”, not the Sabbath, and it is the day Christians observe weekly in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Saturday Sabbath cannot not be “Christianized” and kept on Sunday. The Sabbath is a day of rest for the Jew and for the Gentile convert to Judaism. The Sabbath is the only one of the Ten Commandments not brought forth and reinstituted into the New Covenant/Testament established by Christ. Jesus taught us,
“One Sabbath (Saturday) Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?” He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. (Mark 2:23-27)
So then, the Sabbath does have value. It was made for us. There are benefits derived in our resting, ceasing from our labors. But this is different from Sabbatarianism, which was at the root of our “Blue Laws” enforced by penalty up until the latter part of the 20th century in this country. The Blue Laws restricted work on Sunday just as Jewish law prohibited activities on the Sabbath (Saturday).
Yes! In America! If the social/moral code (Blue Law) was “Christian” then denying pluralism and democracy was just fine. The secular component used these laws to “protect the workers of this country”, while the religions used it to try and stop people from drinking, cussing, chewing, smoking and running with “friends in low places”. On at least one day per week, you were required to ACT like their version of a Christian, whether you were one or not.
We were acting and living for the Judeo-Christian belief what the Muslim calls “Sharia Law”; Which is essentially, “Behave yourself according to the way we (the Qur’an) say you will, or pay an exacting price”. Now that the Muslim communities are growing in the “Christianized West” (note I did not say Christian West) we see that the Qur’an behaves as our former Blue Laws did. We call this morality by fear and demand. Such do-good-or-else is no morality at all. It is deadening religiosity at its finest. The fruits of such can be seen in Jesus’ encounter with the high-moral leaders of His day.
The matter of eating without washing one’s hands came up. Here’s what Jesus said to them and to us if we will listen.
“You ignore God’s commands in order to follow your own teaching. “And you are nothing but show-offs! Isaiah the prophet was right when he wrote that God had said, “All of you praise me with your words, but you never really think about me. It is useless for you to worship me, when you teach rules made up by humans.” (Matthew 15:7-9)
Such are the rules we make up in pretense of religiosity and the desire to control others. If God is gracious, the United States will never again see Blue Laws of moralists, or the Sharia Law of the Qur’an, or any other religious doctrine forced upon those who do not want it.
We call this freedom! We are free, just as God created us to be. Free to sin and pay our price. Free to do good or veer from vice. Free do disagree with a law and have it changed if we can. Free to deny God as well as receive Him and love Him the way He loves us. We are free, even to believe that Saturday or Sunday is to be a day of sabbath rest for the Christian. All good if we create no laws attempting to force others to do the same against their will.
We must become good at knowing when the lead poison is on the inside core, or on the outside coating of superficiality, or both.
Any person outside of Christ is lost. No amount of “good works” or quitting this or that will change his heart. It is a corrupted heart that needs regeneration, and being forced into “proper behavior” will not fix the problem.
A pig kept away from the pigsty is still a pig. Without salvation and new birth, I am a man without hope in this life as well as the hereafter. With Christ in me, I am as the bible says, “justified.” “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:8-9)
You and I can be born Catholic or Protestant, Jewish or Muslim. We can be born right handed or left. We can be “born to run” or “born under a bad sign” or “In the USA”. But no one can be born Christian.
To become a Christian, Jesus said that we must be born again. (John 3:1-21) “Born once-die twice. Born twice-die once”. “God has no grandchildren”.
After you receive Christ and are born again, then rest on any day you like, but rest. The principal remains as the body has need. (Colossians 2:16-17)
And worship, not just on the seventh day or the first, but seven days a week.
Worship, not to appease a god or fulfil a law. Rather, worship to please Him and to build up your fellow Christian. The nature and depth of my private worship reflects and determines where and how I worship with others in corporate worship.
Sabbatarianism, designating Saturday as the day of public worship and private rest for the Christian disciple of Jesus Christ, (much-less non-Christians living among Christians) is like a Muslim turning towards Rome for its daily prayer instead of Mecca and all Non-Muslims being required to observe as well.