Christian history has shown that in each generation the issue of the role of God’s law in the Christian life always resolve itself into a crucial question, especially for those who wish to affirm the integrity and on-going authority of the Ten Commandments as a God-given ethical norm for Christian behavior. The question: what about the fourth commandment? Most believers have no doubt concerning the other nine commandments of the Decalogue. But under the terms of the New Covenant, does God require his people to keep holy a Sabbath day? This question never proves simple, but the answer given in some cases defines a group of Christians as much as their answers on other disputed points, such as church order, baptism, or spiritual gifts. Here is an honest attempt to answer this question biblically.
Table of Contents:
Part 1: The Sabbath in the Old Testament
Part 2: The Sabbath in the New Testament and in the Early Church
Part 3: The Day Observed
Robert Paul Martin (1948-2016) served for many years as Dean and Professor of Biblical Theology in Trinity Ministerial Academy, Montville, New Jersey. Subsequently he served for twenty years as pastor of Emmanuel Reformed Baptist Church, Seattle, Washington and for many years as Professor of Biblical Theology in Reformed Baptist Seminary, Taylors, South Carolina.
“Robert Martin has crafted a razor-sharp argument that God’s moral law requires Christians to keep the Sabbath holy. Here is law without legalism—joyful obedience to Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath. Martin interacts with authors both old and new, including our evangelical brothers who mistakenly believe that only nine of the Ten Commandments are for today. His conclusions affirm the first-day Sabbath stance of the Westminster Confession and the 1689 Baptist Confession. But his arguments are not a mere recitation of classic Reformed theology. Instead this book is an exposition of the Word of God on which those confessions stand. Everyone who loves the Scriptures yet has questions about whether we should keep the Fourth Commandment today should read this book.” - Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
“An exegetical, theological, historical, ethical, polemical, and practical masterpiece that made me worshipfully exclaim, “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” This book has the potential to transform a seventh of your life from a legalistic drudge, or a dry duty, to an immeasurable delight.” - Dr. David Murray, Pastor and Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary
“In an age where the Fourth Commandment appears to have been completely forgotten, a comprehensive and careful study of the Sabbath issue is welcome. This is a classic treatment deserving careful and sustained consideration by an equally careful scholar-preacher.” - Derek W.H. Thomas, Robert Strong Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology, RTS Atlanta
“The Christian Sabbath is one of the greatest blessings that the risen Christ gave to his church. Yet for many, the assertion that there is a Christian Sabbath is a foreign concept. Robert Martin presents the grounds of Sabbath-keeping in light of its place in redemptive-history, culminating in theological and practical conclusions regarding how we should observe it today. This makes his book a useful blend of biblical, exegetical, and practical theology that aims to recover a vital aspect of the Christian life.” - Ryan M. McGraw, Pastor of First OPC, Sunnyvale, CA
Dr. Bob Martin was a respected friend, a careful scholar, and certainly a lover of the Christian Sabbath. The scandalously antinomian bent of so much of modern evangelicalism, and especially on the Christian Sabbath, finds a fitting and courteous rebuke in these pages. More importantly, the blessed doctrine that the Christian has a holy and blessed weekly day of rest from the intrusions and encroachments of a wicked world is here upheld with scholarly care and biblical argument. I can only wish this book much blessing from God. May it turn back the tide in the Christian church on this issue! May it bring the blessing of the Christian Sabbath back into the lives of many Christians! - Dr. Sam Waldron, Academic Dean and Professor of Systematic Theology, Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary