Sunday is a day of holy rest, “on it you shall not do any work.” Because God objectively sanctified the day, Christians likewise “keep it holy.” Violating the day offends the whole worship of God, so the Mosaic economy put transgressors to death.
The Sabbath’s negative command is “you shall not do any work.” God does not forbid every kind of work, rather occupational work that would hinder or omit worship, “and the design and use of the ministry of the church.” This becomes evident from Leviticus 23:25, “you shall not do any ordinary work.” The Hebrew word for work in both cases means, “to do one’s daily work.” God prohibits the ordinary work done throughout the week for he gave, “six days” to “labor, and do all your work.” The Sabbath demands that ordinary work cease.
So, what is the Christian’s religious duty? Calvin believed Christians were to take the Sabbath serious and to not treat it as an opportunity for license. The Christian’s duty is to attend “to what God commands us that we might be taught by his Word,” to “confess our faith,” and finally to “participate in the use of the sacraments.” Zacharius Ursinus and the Dort-era scholars agree that to sanctify the Sabbath means to cease from daily labor, to worship, celebrate sacrament, mediate on the Word, and do works of charity. Doing so strengthens faith, piety, the church as a family, preserves doctrine, and makes the church visible to the world. Attending the means of grace and worshipping the Lord should not be hindered or omitted on the Lord’s Day.
Sunday is right around the corner, a day of rest will soon be here. If you need a place to rest, where you can attend the means of grace, please come and worship with us at 1:00pm this Lord’s Day.
Ursinus, The Commentary, 558.
The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, s.v. “Kalm.” Works of necessity and mercy remain.
Proverbs 19:16 wisely informs that keeping the commandments preserve life.
Calvin, Sermons, 105.