How then Shall I Sanctify the Lord’s Day?

Q. 117. How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day, not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful; and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy) in the public and private exercises of God’s worship: and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day. –Westminster Larger Catechism

There’s no consensus on how one should the sanctify the Lord’s Day.  And there never will be.

However, when it comes to this matter of how the Lord’s Day should be sanctified, I find myself asking, Is the Lord’s Day just another day?

We all agree that it’s a day of worship–in public and private.  We all agree that it’s sacred and should be distinguished from all other days, because it’s the day on which Jesus triumphed over death by rising from the dead.

But what if I have that urge to play cards with my wife?  Or basketball in my driveway with my son?  Or watch a good action movie with the family?  Are these to be judged as recreations that on other days are lawful but unlawful on the Lord’s Day?

It is here that exceptions abound.

This entry was posted in Lord's Day, Sabbath, Worship and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to How then Shall I Sanctify the Lord’s Day?

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    I say don’t get caught up in introspection and (potentially) legalism,,, our rest is found in a person not a day of the week. Christ is the reality – Colossians 2:16-17. For some dads, Sunday afternoon is the only time they get to play with their kids. If the men in grey suits want to tell me that I’m not sanctifying the Lord’s Day in doing so, I’ll be very happy to sit down and have a Bible study with them. On an amusing note, I once had a fantastic conversation with the wife of an elder on this very subject at a strict and particular Baptist church here in the UK. She was absolutely thrilled with the understanding that there is a biblical case against the bondage of Sunday-as-the-Christian-Sabbath-to-be-observed argument. Unfortunately, she informed me the following week that she had talked to her husband about it and, after some reflection, had gone back to her previous understanding!

    • TC Robinson says:

      “Christ is the reality – Colossians 2:16-17” Absolutely!!! And we’re talking different times here. I wonder what the Westminster divines would have come up with today had they had to produce the Westminster Standards?

  2. Colin says:

    An potentially thorny issue.

    It intrigues me that the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland takes down its website on the Sabbath (Sunday). They take a strict interpretation of the Catechism on the Sabbath, like Jon’s interlocutor. Yet since the content is entirely their own material, magazines, theological and doctrinal statements etc, to me it seems strange not to leave it up for those who could thereby feed their souls and grow in faith by reading it. In this day and age, many will look to the web as much or as well as books for input. If it is sinful to look at their website, why is it not sinful to look at a hard copy of the Bible, their magazine etc.

    Seems odd to me.
    Is there a member of the FPCS out there who could explain the logic.

    • TC Robinson says:

      This is unfortunate. Lately I’ve been rereading Paul’s Letters and Galatians 5:1 is in play here: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (NIV).

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