Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sorry Sabbatarians


Brief, Biblical Essays for Thinking People

Richard D. Sandlin

“Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?” Legalists make no exceptions. Their rules are straight and never to be bent. That is, until it has to do with their own interests and concerns. If it is their ass or ox—that is, their church, their family, their friends—then that is quite another thing. Or, as they say, “That’s a horse of a different color.” This crowd is willing to break the rules to help an animal, but not to heal a human.

Jesus never encouraged the breaking of the Sabbath law, but did teach this law was to be interpreted by love. As Paul says, there is no law against love. But, exceptions only prove the rules; they don’t void them.

Those who take advantage of exceptions are forever expecting others to be tolerant, long-suffering, and patient with them. But this continued abuse of privilege wears thin over a long period of time. As a friend of mine used to say, “If I had an ox that fell into a ditch every Sabbath, I’d shoot him!” Any person can play the fool once, but to do it time and again, he really is a fool.

When the exception becomes the rule, you have a problem.
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