This thread interested me because I don't recall having a discussion where the OP expressed a need to keep a modern day Sabbath. From my perspective, we were at rest in the garden with God, I don't understand the need for God commanding rest when we were already at rest with Him.
I like this. For some reason I had not thought about that before that if the Sabbath was about God, then you'd think the Genesis author would have made a point to mention them observing it in the Garden of Eden story.
Of course there would be no need for it, because there was no toil of labors on the other days of the week they would need rest from. And truthfully, they were in the "rest" perpetually, because they were not cast out of the Garden. So when those who embrace that Peace of God, when they are 'reconciled with God", they too re-enter that Garden, and likewise have that perpetual rest. That's what Hebrews 4 is pretty clearly saying. It's hard to miss that.
There is a quote I am fond of that out of Buddhism which directly applies here. "To insist upon a spiritual practice that has served you in the past, is to carry the raft upon your back after you have already crossed the river." That the whole problem with legalism. It's dragging the raft of the old covenant law on your back after you have crossed over into the new covenant of rest. It's not throwing out the day of rest practice, it is embodying it as an integrated reality.
The lesson has been learned, not thrown away
. It has been integrated
. It is "written on the tablets of the heart", as opposed to chiseled in stone, or printed pages of a book or a Bible, outside of yourself. This is something that those still learning it cannot comprehend about those who have already learned it.
Christ covers a multitude of sins. We could not wear white robes without him.
One passage of scripture I have really come to appreciate and relate to is Paul's internal conflict dialog:
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
To condense this down and update it to some more modern terms, the higher spiritual truths are something deep within us that we desire to be more predominate in our lives, but our egos, or our human self-serving desires and clingings which are part of our natural instincts, our "egoic will", or "fleshly will", works at cross purposes with our spiritual will, or our pull to be united with God, or the Divine.
Our spiritual natures want to connect with God, but the egoic nature wants it on the ego's terms, in order to preserve itself as opposed to surrendering itself to the Divine Will. The ego is what thinks that if it follows all the rules, it will achieve unity with God, without needing to die to itself and let go. It tries everything, but surrender, which relies upon Grace and mercy. The ego says, "if I do this, then I will be good, and God will accept me". That is the core of legalism. The human ego seeking to climb in another way. That other ways is anything but dying to itself.
So Paul's dilemma of the inner man struggling to achieve God and failing, is just that. The ego trying everything but a complete surrender of itself to the Divine. It never truthfully says or means "Thy will, not mine be done". The only time that means anything is when it is the spiritual will saying it, as an act of surrender of the egoic efforts to achieve God.
That is why Paul ends it by saying "Who shall save me from body of death [or the egoic trap]? I thank God who delivers me through Christ." Or it is by God's Spirit alone we are raised up, not by our efforts. The only thing required is "letting go of egoic effort", and that is done by a choice of the spiritual will to surrender effort.
This is something legalism cannot grasp. The concept of surrender, and spiritual empowerment through the death of egoic efforts. If we want to be liberated, we must die to the egoic self. Legalism preserves the ego, as it is the ego seeking for the condition of the Divine Spirit, or its way back into the Garden of Eden. It cannot ever succeed, as the way is barred to the ego.
It's our nature. We think we need to add a little something extra to the works of Christ, but Paul dismisses this:
2 Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
And that is exactly the case. You can't surrender egoic efforts, and then start using egoic efforts again. In other words, if you found spiritual liberation by letting go and surrendering, not looking to doing things to make that happen, then you start doing things to make it happen, then surrender availed you nothing. You're not using that way anymore. You're going back to trying to control everything through efforts.
Then we are all in good company by being with you my friend.
And the funny, or ironic thing about this is, that all the while those baseless accusations are cast at us, in the biblical narratives about Jesus and his encounters with the Pharisees, the religious legalists accused Jesus of those exact same things, using those exact same words.
And yet despite that, they cannot see the parallels of themselves in the same role as the Pharisees, saying the exact same things to us for speaking of love, forgiveness, grace, compassion, and so forth.
I have something more to say about this, but it's very early and I am already up waaaayyy to late. If I get a chance, I'll post more tomorrow.
Sounds good. I look forward to your thoughts.