Does Romans 14:5 indicate we are not bound by law to worship on a certain day? [Moderator note: This topic is about when we can worship God, not specifically about keeping the Sabbath. For Sabbath related topics, please see the related eBible.com topics: https://ebible.com/questions/857-does-god-require-sabbath-keeping-of-christians https://ebible.com/questions/567-what-does-it-mean-that-jesus-is-the-lord-of-the-sabbath https://ebible.com/questions/860-what-day-is-the-sabbath-saturday-or-sunday-do-christians-have-to-observe-the-sabbath-day ]
ESV - 5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.
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Worshiping God is a daily act of service and sacrifice, not a once-a-week event. (Rom 12:1). Scripture does teach that we may worship God (and should!) every day of the week. Rom 14:5 in context is speaking of our freedom in Christ, however, and how we should not try to judge how our fellow believers worship God. Early Christians met on any/every day of the week (Acts 2:46, Acts 17:17, Acts 5:12-6, etc). Jewish Christians often continued to keep the feast days and the Sabbaths as well, though they took on a new meaning in Christ (such as 1 Cor 5:8), and were no longer compulsory. There is no physical temple we need to go worship at to be near the presence of God. Rather, we -are- the temple of God, both corporately (Eph 2:20-22) and individually (I Cor 6:19). This is why worship is a constant activity, not a ritualized occurrence (Rom 12:1). The first covenant had regulations for worship, a physical tabernacle, consecrated items for worship, the ark of the covenant, an orderly system of priests, etc (Heb 9:1-10). Yet the covenant Christ has made with us in His blood is better - not a shadow of things in Heaven but reality (Heb 9:11-28) Having faith, then, we do not need to return to mere shadows. This is at the heart of what Paul is getting at in Rom 14. Some believers, mostly the Jewish converts, still kept the Sabbath and other holy days. Paul Himself kept the Sabbath and the Feast Days. The Gentile converts, not having ever kept such days, did not keep them and instead looked to their fulfillment in Christ. Indeed, it was often unhealthy for a Gentile believer to seek to keep these days, since so often the motive was wrong (trying to please the Jews, trying to look more Holy, etc, Gal 4:8-27). This is why the Jerusalem Council agreed not to place any such burdens as mandated Jewish feasts or celebrations on the Gentile believers (Acts 15:27-29). "Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God." (Rom 14:4-6) Paul points here and elsewhere (Col 2:16-23,) to our freedom in Christ. He pleads that we not dispute with other believers over their personal practices. He pleads that we do not trust in mere shadows, but in the reality of Christ. Whether one keeps the physical Sabbath or not, or how one keeps it, is up to personal conviction - so long as we enter God's true Sabbath rest through faith (Heb 4). As mentioned above, the early church met together any and every day of the week, including the Sabbath. Believers (Jewish and Gentile) frequently met in the synagogues on the Sabbath (Acts 13:14-44, Acts 17:1-3). The synagogues were ideal places for preaching the good news to both Jew and Gentile (Acts 17:17), along with the marketplaces. Over the first couple of centuries as church gatherings became more formalized, Saturday and Sunday both became more official meeting days with special significance. Saturday, as the Sabbath wherein God rested from works. It was a common day of rest. Sunday took on a special meaning, especially for Gentile converts, as the day of the Resurrection - not a day of rest, but a celebration. Unfortunately, disputes arose and there was even persecution of Christians against fellow Christians as the admonitions of Paul were ignored. While Scripture calls for unity of the spirit even with differing personal practices, (Rom 14:1-19, Eph 4:1-6), Sabbath day rest and worship was eventually banned by the Council of Laodicea. No Christian should judge, force, or ban another believer from worshiping God in a particular manner or formally on a specific day.
There appears to be two questions here, thus I will attempt to answer both of them: First Question: Does Romans 14:5 indicate Christians are free to worship God any day of the week? Answer: In one sense, believers ARE free to worship God any day of the week—and we SHOULD be worshiping him EVERY day of the week, right? However, our Messianic freedom should not drastically separate us, but cause us to "pursue what makes for mutual upbuilding” (Rom 14:19). There is no historical evidence or theological support from the 1st century to suppose that Rom 14:5 should be interpreted as a freedom to choose worship days. Second Question: Does Romans 14:5 indicate we are not bound by law to worship on a certain day? Answer: How one answers this question depends on who the “we” are in this question, and what is meant by “a certain day.” If the “we” are Gentile Christians, I can only say that the early Messianic communities were a sect of Judaism (Acts 24:14). This means the Gentile members must have been quite familiar with and most certainly respectful of Torah, even if they did not fully embrace it as Gentile believers (Acts 15:19-21). Indeed, the evidence from extant 1st century rabbinic writings (i.e., Mishnah) indicate Gentiles without legal Jewish status were forbidden from embracing Torah. Thus popular opinion today would say “no” to this question, citing the “Christian freedom” themes taught in the NT. However, if the “we” is Jewish people, and the “certain day” implies Sabbath, then the answer is an emphatic “yes,” for indeed Jews are covenantally bound by God and Torah to worship on seventh day Sabbath (Ex 19:8; 20:8; 31:13, 15, 16; Acts 21:20). This most naturally includes we Messianic Jews, since, like Paul himself, we are 100% Jewish (Acts 22:3), we are 100% Messianic (Acts 24:14), and we are 100% a part of Isra'el (Rom 11:1). What is more, even the popular opinion teaches that the Torah is for Jews. Conclusions: In this day and age, believers are free to worship on whatever day the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) leads them to worship on. However, it would be wise to at least establish a regular scheduled pattern and location of worship so that one can become accountable to a local congregation if at all possible. Biblical freedom is not a license to “Church hop” as often as one pleases. To this degree, there may be no rigid “right or wrong answer” to this question. I don't personally agree with using Rom 14:5 to justify a choice in worship days, since I believe the context to be that of voluntary fast days instead.
Are Christians free to worship God any day of the week? Absolutely! But this is not what Paul is talking about in Romans 14:5. Paul here is addressing Romans who were converting to Christianity. The Jews had a number of ceremonial holy days that came on a yearly basis which were not required for converts to Christianity. The new converts, were not required to be circumcised or practice the ceremonial aspects of the Jewish law because they were shadows that pointed to Jesus Christ. Today some Christians are using this text to show that the Ten Commandants are not binding anymore, and thus the Seventh-Day Sabbath worship is irrelevant and unnecessary. Paul is not talking about the Seventh-Day Sabbath here. The annual ceremonial Jewish holy days are completely separate from the Ten Commandments Sabbath which is a weekly commitment. A contemporaneous comparison for this would be the issue of Christmas observance. Some Christians believe December 25th is not when Christ was born, it's a pagan holiday and they are not going to have anything to do with it. Others believe that the date is not important in itself and celebrating Christ birth is appropriate. Everyone needs to be persuaded in their own mind; that is what Paul is saying here. On the other hand, the Ten Commandments are God's words written on stone by His finger and are non-negotiable.
I worship God, my Father, as I wake up in the early am. I continually worship God through out the day and evening. He is my everything. I rarely go 'into church' to worship, but when I do it is due to a strong prompting through the Holy Spirit. Going to church every Sunday is normally at my home in my heart. I have no fear, or guilt. Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior took my guilt, shame and condemnation on the cross. Thankfully, Jesus lives in me and I am living proof as his servant whether I'm praising him at home in thanksgiving or in at the supermarket or at church. It's the same for me as going into church. I believe and I receive his Truth so that's all I need. Amen
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