6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.
Paul qualified the tension between Christian liberty and legalism in this verse. He took for granted that both positions do what they do as “to the Lord.” Our love for the Lord governs the integrity of our doctrinal choice.
6 He who observes the day,
The weak Christian regards the Sabbath as intrinsically holy. By holding to this view, he is not delivered fully from the law as yet. On the other hand, he is vulnerable to violating his conscience if he does not observe this special day.
observes it to the Lord;
In this verse the phrase “to the Lord” occurs four times, making this idea emphatic. The phrase also occurs twice in verse eight. “To the Lord” here carries the idea of giving honor to the Lord in making our doctrinal choice. The word “Lord” occurs eight times in verses six through nine.
If the weak Christian observes a special day “to the Lord,” then he will not violate his conscience, even though his is an inadequate understanding of Scripture. His recognition that he has a Lord is more important than his weak understanding of Scripture at this point.
Although the weaker Christian is wrong in his legalism, the greater principle is to give him time to grow in his understanding of Scripture.
If one day carries intrinsic value over against other days, then it would have been impossible for Paul to give the alternative that some do not have to worship on a given day.
In the Colossian epistle, Paul makes it clear that observance of special days is of no moment (Co 2:16-23). However, even in Colossians his focus was on Christ (Co 2:16-17). The entire Mosaic system with the Sabbath day gave way to an entirely new grace way of life.
There is a difference between Galatians 4:10-11 or Colossians 2:16-17 and Romans 14. The Galatian and Colossian passages dealt with grace versus legalism. On the other hand, the issue of Romans 14 has to do with how a person pleases God in doctrinal integrity. One Christian is “weak” in his view of Christian liberty but the other is “strong.” Weak Christians tend to be legalistic. Legalistic Christians need time to grow in their understanding of the grace principle.
2 Pe 3:18, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
The word “Sabbath” means seven. If one observes the Sabbath, then he must do it on Saturday. However, the New Testament never commands the believer to worship on Saturday. God set aside Israel’s entire ceremonial system including the Sabbath when He changed economies from Israel to the church. Nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament; the Sabbath or the fourth commandment was not.
Jesus was the “Lord of the Sabbath”; He had authority to change the Sabbath. He said, “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mt 12:1-14). Jesus had six confrontations with the Jews over the Sabbath (Mt 12:1-8; Mt 12:9-14; Lu 13:10-17; Lu 14:1-6; Jn 5:1-9,16,17; 7:22; chapter 9).
The argument of the New Testament is that Christ fulfilled the law; He fulfilled the demands of the Sabbath so that the Christian does not have to measure up to the demands of the law. The Sabbath is a mere shadow of Him who is the substance or the reality, the one who fulfilled the law. This doctrine is of such importance that it is critical that immature Christians have time to come to grips with this truth.