It should be in the heart of the man of the house, as a member of his local community, to ensure that all people are observing the good pleasures of God’s day of rest, which includes obeying what Paul writes in Hebrews 10:24-25, “ And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”.
This will be the second of three sections of the Larger Catechism, as we have it broken down, that will touch on the subject of the Christian Sabbath. It should come as no surprise that out of all the commandments the fourth receives more play than any other. Questions surrounding the nature of it and how to go about obeying the Lord in regards to it have always vexed the mind of man. We’ve noted before that this reason is mostly due to the fact that we are dealing with the matter of time, of which we have little. The idea pushes back at our own idolatrous concept of who is actually in charge of our life. So how do we go about keeping the word on this front? Well, our catechism questions today gives us an idea particularly suited to that.
Here are today’s Q/A’s:
Q. 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A. The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.
Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required, all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them; all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful; and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.
In something of a foreshadowing we have a distinct question focused on the responsibilities of husbands, fathers, even civil authorities as to what their calling entails in the keeping of this law given and granted by God. It is a subject we don’t talk about enough. When I wrote my dissertation the main argument I used to answer the inquiry concerning why men are not engaged in the life of the church was that the church in general had failed, and continues to do so, to engage the heads of households in what it means to keep the fifth commandment. By their nature men are called to be in charge. It’s part of Paul’s argument as to why only men are to be in authority in the church. Hear what he says in 1 Timothy 2:12-13, “ Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.