After reading The Holiness of God by Dr. Sproul I was overwhelmed by the last chapter, “Holy Space and Holy Time.” This chapter gave me a vision for how I wanted to live my life. I want the holiness of God to affect every encounter, every action, and every thought. Fundamentally, we are creatures made in the image of God. In the beginning, He set apart one day in seven to be holy to Himself. This day sets the stage for the rest of our lives. As a Christian, I want the Lord’s Day to be the regulating force in my life.
God made this world by speaking it into existence, and on the sixth day He created mankind. After the creation of the man and woman, God rested on the seventh day from all His work. God did not need to rest because He is immutable and never grows tired, but He set apart this day for the proper rhythm of life on earth. Indeed, Adam was perfect when He was taught to rest. He did not grow weary but life on this earth required pause and worship.
In Genesis 3 the Lord was walking in the cool of the day and expected company with Adam and Eve. The relationship they shared with God was worshipful and perfect. But in the fall, mankind lost intimate communion with God. Worship was still required but now there was a huge impediment. Mankind was sinful and had no ability to stand in the presence of a holy God.
God was gracious and established a covenant nation. Israel was given sacred festivals and days to govern their life as the covenant people, but these events were surrounded by the need for sacrifice. Even in their rest they were not holy. Throughout Israel’s history they were charged with spiritual harlotry and breaking of the Sabbath. When Israel forgot who they were and who they worshiped, they became just like the pagan nations that surrounded them. They lost their identity when they neglected the principles of worship that God had given them.
In the gospel, Christ came and died for the sins of His people. Our imperfection and impurity had to be dealt with. We were unable to worship rightly. But through faith in Christ, God declares us righteous and holy so that we can enter into His presence and not be consumed. He also gives us the Holy Spirit to help us grow in our own holiness and love of holy things. I am a redeemed creature, made in the image of God and being remade into the image of Christ. I can now walk with God without guilt and shame. In Christ, I remember not only the pattern established at creation but also am reminded of my salvation purchased on the cross and proved at the resurrection, as Dr. Sproul mentions. I am even able to look forward to the day when I will enter into my eternal Sabbath rest and dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Today I am called to do more than passively watch life fly by. I am called to work. I am called to do all that Christ has called me to vocationally, six days a week. I am to strive for excellence in my work because I am reminded of who God is and what He expects from me. My work is defined by my character. My character needs to be defined by the God I worship. I am called to work hard and effectively. My weekly duties can be energized because now they have a purpose. The regulations that order my life allow me to throw myself into each task knowing that even the hardest task has a limit.
In the new covenant, our day of rest is the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. I am to rest and to lean not on my own strength but to depend on the work of Christ on my behalf. The transition to the first day of the week reminds me that it is not my work that earns my rest. I have the opportunity each and every week to remember these things. This stresses the importance of being part of a local church. As a believer I am attached to Christ as part of His body, the Church. The local expression of the church may be imperfect, but it is where we are able to hear the preaching of the Word, have the right administration of the sacraments, and receive pastoral care. If I hope to obey the command to rest and worship one day in seven, then I am called to be involved in the local church.
Dr. Sproul directs us to look at sacred space and time in order to recapture a vision of the holiness of God. This chapter challenged me to look at my life and at what I want for my future. I want my work to have purpose, not to be mindless striving. I want to be fulfilled and not exhausted. I want to reflect the character of God and accurately to point the world to a better Way. The holiness of God demands that I keep the Sabbath. I am convinced that ordering my life by the pattern set by God will change my life.
— Savannah Brenyo is a student at Reformation Bible College.