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What is wrong with playing sports on the Sabbath?

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There are two fundamental principles involved in keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. First, it is a day of rest and, second, we are to uphold the spiritual intent of the day. God wants us to be renewed both physically and spiritually. Designed for this purpose, the Sabbath is a gift from God and not a burden. It is for our own well being (Mark 2:27 Mark 2:27And he said to them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:
American King James Version×

When one is involved in playing sports on the Sabbath, it is generally a physically and mentally enervating experience for purely secular reasons—something contrary to the purpose of the Sabbath. In contrast to other days of the week, God says the Sabbath is holy time—time set apart as different from other time during the week (Genesis 2:3 Genesis 2:3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
American King James Version×
)—and it has a specific spiritual purpose.

We keep the Sabbath holy only by refraining from work or pursuits that are intended for the other six days of the week. If we were participating in a sport on the Sabbath, it would distract our attention from the intended purpose of the day. Furthermore, we would be using God's time for our own selfish pursuits and, therefore, we would no longer be keeping the Sabbath holy.

In this society that ignores God's Commandments, the Sabbath can be a test of our faith. But when we call it a delight and not a burden, it then becomes a great blessing to our lives and God rewards us richly (Isaiah 58:13-14 Isaiah 58:13-14 13 If you turn away your foot from the sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: 14 Then shall you delight yourself in the LORD; and I will cause you to ride on the high places of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father: for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it.
American King James Version×
). The Sabbath is a time for resting from our normal activities and focusing on spiritual priorities.

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  • allivina
    nothing, the Sabbath was made for you not you for the Sabbath, remember? Do what you would like to do.
  • allivina
    Also, the “Holy Day” is now Sunday because Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday. That is why the Russian language calls it voskresenya, meaning day of the risen. Which is quite similar in all languages except English.
  • Steven Britt
    allivina, You’re correct that the Sabbath was made for man, but your conclusion is completely wrong. This doesn’t mean “do what you would like to do” in the sense that you can now go out and work on the Sabbath (if that’s what you like to do) or violate the Sabbath in any way that God has said not to do. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time had so many regulations concerning the Sabbath that it prevented them from even doing good on the Sabbath, such as helping someone in distress or, as they criticized Jesus for, healing someone. That particular quote is from an instance where Jesus’ disciples plucked a head of grain to feed themselves, which the Pharisees considered harvesting - Jesus was setting them straight by saying that it’s not the same thing since they are only feeding themselves because to not do so would have made the Sabbath a burden rather than a blessing. Secondly, your point about the holy day being changed to Sunday is completely unsubstantiated. There is not a single scripture in the bible which will support the changing of the holy day from Saturday to Sunday, regardless of what events occurred on what day. And the point about the Russian language doesn’t prove anything - for example, in Italian, Spanish, and several other languages, Saturday is named after the Sabbath (e.g. “Sabado”). As a final though, you don’t seem to be advocating to observe Sunday as an actually holy day. You’ve already stated that people can do whatever they want on the holy day, so I really don’t understand why it should matter to you whether Sunday is holy or not if it doesn’t make any difference. If I’m misjudging your intent here, I’m really interested to know exactly what it means for Sunday to be a holy day in your opinion.

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