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New Horizons

March, 2003: Call the Sabbath a Delight

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A Sign of Hope

On the sixth day, God contemplated his finished creation in its vast splendor and saw that it was "very good" (Gen. 1:31). But he did not yet see the "very best." That was because even before he created, God had decreed that "the best of all possible worlds" was not to be at the beginning, but rather at the end of history. That, too, was why he made Adam and Eve to be his image bearers—to give them the privilege and responsibility, unique among his creatures, of working for their Creator-Lord and so to bring the creation to its intended consummation.

Our first parents, however, proved to be unfaithful and unprofitable servants, and the rest is history—the sad, calamitous history of human sinfulness and God's just wrath and curse on that sin. "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more" (Rom. 5:20). In his wrath, God did remember mercy (Hab. 3:2). God purposed, despite sin, not to abandon the creation. He purposed to save a people for himself. He sent his own, only begotten Son to be the new, "last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45, 47). By his life, death, resurrection, and ascension he has not only canceled out the punishment we sinners deserve, but has also secured the realization of God's original purposes for the entire creation. As "head over everything for the church" (Eph. 1:22), he is presently working, by his Spirit, for the full realization of those purposes at his return. Then, as he surveys the new heavens and the new earth in their final, unshakable perfection (Heb. 12:26-28), he will in fact see the "very best." Read more

Why on Sunday?

This question can be embarrassing, can't it? Why do you worship on Sunday? Doesn't the Bible say that the seventh day is the time God consecrated for his people? Where does the Bible say that Christians should sanctify the first day of the week, rather than the seventh day?

It's a good question, you will have to admit. It's also a question that needs an answer. So what can be said? Read more

Proper Sabbath Observance: The Sojourner's Sabbath

This article, let it be said at the outset, will be found to be quite different from all such treatises on the keeping of the Sabbath which aim to be a plea for sabbath observance by the world in general and, therefore, would emphasize the necessity of legislation and of enforcing the already existing laws pertaining to restriction of labor, business, traffic, and public amusements on Sunday. In the face of the danger that this little treatise will meet with severe criticism from the very first from those who are of the opinion that it is possible to legislate the world into keeping the Sabbath, I must nevertheless maintain that this is quite impossible, that the keeping of the Sabbath is a highly spiritual matter, an act of faith and hope that can be performed only by the Christian that professes in word and walk that he has become a stranger in this world and is looking forward to the inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, to the eternal Sabbath that remains for the people of God. To this sojourner and pilgrim in a strange country, to the church of Christ in the world, this article is addressed. It purposes to be a word of encouragement and comfort on the one hand, and of warning and admonition on the other.

It is a word of warning and admonition, for it cannot be denied that desecration of the Sabbath is in our day an evil that is assuming alarming proportions, and that the danger is more than imaginary that the Christian pilgrim, as he lives and travels through this strange land, will defile his garments and adopt the habits of the world in this respect. Many causes and circumstances have, especially in late years, concurred to aggravate this danger. The wave of abnormal economic prosperity that swept our country surely did not prove to be a spiritual blessing for many children of God, but was conducive rather to a spirit of worldly-mindedness by which they also were overcome to a greater extent than they realized or were willing to admit. Everybody is prosperous in the things of the world, has sufficient means to seek after and, in a measure, to obtain the commodities and even the luxuries necessary for the enjoyment of this present life. Not to possess an automobile is an uncommon thing. Young and old spend their time of leisure "between the wheels." Home life is destroyed. Family fellowship has become a strange thing. The family altar is forgotten. If one is not on the road to enjoy a ride, he finds his home connected with every conceivable place of amusement by means of the radio, which has become almost as common as the auto [This was written about 1950—editor]. And man has become amusement-crazy. Life seems to be without care and worry. The things of the present time occupy a chief place in our hearts and minds. The heavenly things recede into the background and appear gradually with less frequency above the threshold of our consciousness. Read more

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