Summary and Application
The Fourth Commandment
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:8-11
Of the ten, this is the only commandment God specifically commanded man to remember! Before Moses brought those holy, sacred tables containing the very handwriting of God down from the burning mountain top, God said, “Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you” (Exodus 31:13).
In this fourth precept the Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution but as having been founded at creation. It is to be remembered and observed as the memorial of the Creator's work. Pointing to God as the Maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day signify by this act that they are worshipers of the only true God, the God who created and the God who longs to recreate them in His righteousness. Thus the Sabbath is the sign of man's allegiance to God as long as there are any upon the earth to serve Him. And it is also our weekly reminder of God’s pledge to deliver us from the bondage of sin, to recreate us in His image.
The fourth commandment is the only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the title of the Lawgiver. Without this commandment there is no hint as to who wrote the law or why we should listen to or obey its claims. It is the only one that shows by whose authority the law was given. In this sense it contains the seal of God, affixed to His law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force. God asks us to remember the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, which He has blessed, hallowed, and sanctified. He longs to have a holy people that will serve Him because they love Him. He set aside one day, the seventh day each week, as holy time when we could enjoy a special time of fellowship with our Creator. Only His presence in our lives brings holiness. Those who worship God on His holy day—who worship Him in “spirit and in truth”—are showing by worshipping on the seventh day Sabbath in obedience to His command that they, through His power, are obedient to His commands every day. They are not just “seventh day Christians,” but are “seven day Christians”—God is their God, their Ruler, their Salvation, their Redeemer and their Sanctifier every day of the week.