XXII. Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

1. The light of Nature shows that there is a God, who hath Lordship, and Sovereignty over all; is just, good, and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the Heart, and all the Soul, aand with all the Might. But the acceptable way of Worshiping the true God, is binstituted by himself; and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be Worshiped according to the imaginations, and devices of Men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or cany other way, not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.

aJer. 10:7; Mark 12:33 bDeut. 12:32 cEx. 20:4–6

2. Religious Worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him aalone; not to Angels, Saints, or any other bCreatures; and since the fall, not without a cMediator, nor in the Mediation of any other but dChrist alone.

aMatt. 4:9–10; John 6:23; Matt. 28:19 bRom. 1:25; Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10 cJohn 14:6 d1 Tim. 2:5

3. Prayer with thanksgiving, being one special part of natural worship, is by God required of aall men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the bName of the Son, by the help cof the Spirit, according to dhis Will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a eknown tongue.

aPs. 95:1–7; Ps. 65:2 bJohn 14:13–14 cRom. 8:26 d1 John 5:14 e1 Cor. 14:16–17

4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men liv­ ing, aor that shall live hereafter; but not bfor the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned cthe sin unto death.

a1 Tim. 2:1–2; 2 Sam. 7:29 b2 Sam. 12:21–23 c1 John 5:16

5. The areading of the Scriptures, Preaching, and bhearing the word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs, singing with grace in our Hearts to cthe Lord; as also the Administration dof Baptism, and ethe Lord’s Supper are all parts of Religious worship of God, to be performed in obedi­ ence to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover solemn humiliation fwith fastings; and thanksgiving upon gspecial occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.

a1 Tim. 4:13 b2 Tim. 4:2; Luke 8:18 cCol. 3:16; Eph. 5:19 dMatt. 28:19–20 e1 Cor. 11:26 fEst. 4:16; Joel 2:12 gEx. 15:1–21; Ps. 107:1–43

6. Neither Prayer, nor any other part of Religious worship, is now under the Gospel tied unto, or made more acceptable by, any place in which it is aperformed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshiped everywhere in Spirit, and in truth; as in bprivate families cdaily, and din secret each one by himself, so more solemnly in the public Assemblies, which are not carelessly, nor willfully, to be eneglected, or forsaken, when God by his word, or providence calleth thereunto.

aJohn 4:21; Mal. 1:11; 1 Tim 2:8 bActs 10:2 cMatt. 6:11; Ps. 55:17 dMatt. 6:6 eHeb. 10:25; Acts 2:42

7. As it is of 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 aSabbath 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 bwhich 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.

aEx. 20:8 b1 Cor. 16:1–2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10

8. The Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy arest all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employ­ ment, and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties bof necessity and mercy.

aIsa. 58:13; Neh. 13:15–23 bMatt. 12:1–13

Elders' Comments Regarding Article 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

22 “Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day”

22.7-8 “the Sabbath”

We note that the command to observe the seventh day of each week as a Sabbath Day was instituted by God for the people of Israel, as a sign of the Mosaic Covenant given through Moses at Mount Sinai, involving the setting aside of one’s ordinary work (Ex 20:8-1, 31:12-17). This command was issued with a reference to God resting on, and blessing, the seventh day of creation (Gen. 2:1-3).

We note that the command to observe the Sabbath Day first appears in Scripture at the time of Moses and the Sinai Covenant; it is not found in the creation account or in the history of Israel prior to the institution of the Mosaic Covenant.

This fourth commandment of the Decalogue in a sense looks backward and forward. It looks back to the rest, as in peaceful, right relationship with God, enjoyed by humanity and creation prior to the fall into sin; it looks forward to the rest, as in restored, peaceful, right relationship with God, through the mediating work of Jesus Christ.

The New Testament makes clear, in passages such as Heb. 3-4, and Matthew 11:28-30, that we find true Sabbath rest in Christ, enjoyed to a degree in this life, looking forward to consummation in the next.

We acknowledge that Christians throughout church history have held varying views concerning application of the Sabbath Day command for believers under the New Covenant. The LBC follows the WCF in identifying a transfer of the Old Covenant Sabbath Day command to New Covenant Christians; thus the Confession speaks of a “Christian Sabbath”. Others have come to a conviction that the command to observe the Sabbath Day is no longer binding for New Covenant believers, as it has been fulfilled in Christ, with a yet future consummation (finding support for this in Col. 2:16-17; Romans 14:5-6; Heb. 3-4, and the absence of any Sabbath Day command in the New Testament). We would also commend that grace and love be extended to Christians who hold varying views concerning the Sabbath Day (Rom. 14).

We do affirm the New Testament command and practice of the church gathering weekly, on the first day of the week, the day of Christ’s resurrection, called “The Lord’s day”, for corporate worship (Matt. 28:1; John 20:19,26; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10; Heb. 10:24-25).