The first major debate within the new Christian church was between a group called “Judaizers” (who advocated becoming a Jew as a requirement for alll new converts) and the Apostles. The result concluded that new converts were NOT required to observe Jewish customs or rituals. Salvation was clearly through FAITH in Christ ALONE.
Paul was so disturbed by the Galatians ignorance of these facts that He wrote the following to them regarding their return to being under the Mosaic LAW. He spoke in reference to the FAITH of Abraham in direct contradiction to the LAW (established 400 years AFTER Abraham). The 10 commandments which included sabbath restrictions, is clearly the LAW, NOT faith in Christ through grace, upon which biblical Christianity is truly established.
Paul stated to the contrary:
“Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by the works of the LAW, or by FAITH in what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the LAW, or by your FAITH in what you heard? So also Abraham “BELIEVED God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Understand, then, that those who have FAITH are true children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by FAITH, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on FAITH are blessed along with Abraham, the man of FAITH. For all who rely on the works of the LAW are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do EVERYTHING written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the LAW is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by FAITH.” The LAW is not based on FAITH; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the LAW by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the GENTILES through Christ Jesus, so that by FAITH we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” Gal. 3:1-14.
Although the sabbath rest is a principle dating back to Creation (God rested on the seventh day) the regulations for a seventh day observance as part of the LAW was issued to the Israelites (NOT Gentiles) and as with ALL the LAW, it was a part of the covenant established between God and Israel only.
In order to become a Christian, there is absolutely ZERO obligation to become a Jew first (and surrender under the LAW of ritual and sabbath observance). In fact, such heresy was the topic of the council in Jerusalem recorded in the book of Acts when the Judaizers attempted to bring all new Gentile converts under the LAW and submit to its rituals.
The Apostles concluded that Gentiles are NOT required to submit to any such regulations. Further clarification of these conclusions resulted in Paul’s numerous decrees against the LAW, and even the sabbath, teaching that by the sabbath God was referring to a REST that all true believers enter into when they stop trusting in their own works and hopes to appease God, but instead we are to accept and fully surrender to Christ’s works on our behalf.
If anyone is trusting anything other than a sincere and ABSOLUTE trust in Christ to save them, they have NOT rightly interpreted scripture’s declaration of salvation, and although they may claim to be “Christian” they would do well to re-examine their beliefs.
Contrary to many popular doctrines, true Christians are NOT “completed Jews”. Biblical Christianity is NOT an “extension” of Judaism. While many Jews have become Christians after recognizing that Jeus was in fact the prophesied Messiah, Jews are a distinct MINORITY of professing Christians, of which the over-whelming vast majority are Gentiles who were NEVER under the LAW nor ANY sabbath obligations.
The sabbath was a big deal to the elders who were always trying to put Jesus into their “box”. They wrongly interpreted the significance of the sabbath and went so far as to declare Christ guilty of breaking it.
“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” In. 5:18.
Paul saw that sabbath obligations were based upon religious false beliefs and so admonished true believers to comprehend the sabbath diferently.
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.” – Col. 2:16.
The author of Hebrews also reminds us that it is the SPIRITUAL SABBATH (entering into God’s rest through Christ’s COMPLETED WORK) that establishes and honors the sabbath declared in the LAW (which was merely a SHADOW of the REAL to come).
“Therefore, since the promise of entering HIS REST still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s REST also rests from their own works, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter THAT REST, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience” – Heb. 4: 1-11.
A prayerful study in the WORD (reading each related passage in its original full context) will lead to a right interpretation of the various terms which are Old Testament SHADOWS (meant to be understood FIRGURATIVELY) of New Testament values and principles. It should be blatantly clear to every truly born again believer that it was ONLY the Jews to whom the Law was given, and ONLY the Jews were ever under obligation to it. Sound Christian doctrine teaches emphatically salvation by GRACE through FAITH in Christ — NOT observance to obligations or works of the LAW.