Why does God call for “No Work” on the Sabbath? Because He did all the work! That explanation is seen in Exodus 20:11. It reads, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them.” It could be rendered “sky, earth, seas.” That was the ancient way of saying “everything.” Just as the Hebrews used the three word phrase, “Law, Prophets, and Writings” to refer to the entirety of the Old Testament, so too is the phrase “sky (heavens), earth, seas” used to refer to everything above the earth, on the earth, and under the earth! But it wasn’t enough for God to express the three major categories in the world; sky, earth, seas. He also mentioned that part of His work was creating all the life in all three categories. He made the birds of the sky, the animals on the earth, and the fish in the seas! That’s the work that matters and that’s the work that must be “remembered” on the Sabbath.

Let’s think about this from our Christian perspective. Who made everything? Who did the work that should be “remembered” and kept holy? John made it clear to us that it was Jesus.  John begins his gospel with “in the beginning” referring to the Genesis creation account and He writes, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). Paul clearly agrees with John and focuses more attention on the creative work of Jesus in Colossians 1:16. He says, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities…” It’s pretty clear who the New Testament credits with the work on the six days of creation. It was Jesus! And it’s that reason that, as Paul writes in Philippians 2:10, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Please notice the thoroughness of the three categories: heaven, earth, and under the earth!

Paul says that once we come to faith in Christ we are “new creations.” He says this twice: Galatians 6:15 says, “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Then He says it again in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” The Galatians passage directly refutes those trying to enforce the elements of the Law on Christians, especially regarding circumcision. Paul is making it clear that it’s not religious legalism, or strict adherence to laws, regulations, or rituals that matters. It’s the work that Jesus accomplished for us. The work of creation “in the beginning” was His. The work of our salvation in each of our lives is His! Remember to keep the Sabbath holy by focusing on the work He accomplished on our behalf and not the work we do in the flesh.