When We Keep the Sabbath Holy We are Made Holy

Elder Johnson
By Elder Paul V. Johnson, United States First Counselor in the Europe Area Presidency

During this earth life we strive to be more like our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  We want to learn more about them, and we want to live as they would have us live.  We want to be sanctified or holy since they are holy.  One powerful help in our quest to become more holy is the Sabbath day.  The Sabbath was made for us (Mark 2:27) to help and bless us in our lives.  We have been commanded to “observe the Sabbath and to keep it holy” (D&C 68:29).  When we keep the Sabbath holy we are made holy. 

How does the Sabbath day play a role in the process of us becoming holy?  The Lord has said that we can keep ourselves unspotted from the world by going to the house of prayer and offering up our sacraments on His holy day (D&C 59:9).  Keeping ourselves unspotted from the world can be seen as an invitation, but it is also a tremendous blessing that comes as a result of our keeping the Sabbath holy.  Being holy means, in part, to be clean, and not having the spots or stains of the world in our lives is a great step toward holiness. 

An important part of remaining clean is the ordinance of the sacrament.  As we partake of the sacrament worthily we are promised that we “may always have his Spirit to be with” us (D&C 20:77).  The Spirit sanctifies or cleanses us (3 Ne. 27:20).

We become more holy as we learn more of the Savior and live as He lived.  We learn more of Him as we attend our meetings and classes, and during our own personal study and worship on the Sabbath.

We also become more holy as we focus more on others like the Savior did when He was on earth.  As we fulfill our callings we serve others.  We can bring a friend to our church meetings or to our homes and share the blessings of the gospel with them.  We can reach out to our ancestors by searching for them and preparing to help them receive the ordinances of the temple.  We can strengthen the bonds between members of our family who are living and bless others’ lives by showing our love for them.

President Russell M. Nelson explained that the Sabbath gives us “…real respite from the rigors of daily life and an opportunity for spiritual and physical renewal” (Liahona, May 2015 p.).

President Nelson also explained that he realized his conduct and attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between him and his Heavenly Father.  Instead of having lists of dos and don’ts he said, “When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, ‘What sign do I want to give to God?’ That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear.” (Liahona, May 2015 p.).

“When a nation grows careless in observing the Sabbath, all aspects of life are affected and its religious life becomes decayed” (Guide to the Scriptures, Sabbath).  This principle not only applies to nations, but also to individuals.  When an individual becomes careless in observing the Sabbath all aspects of his or her life are affected and his or her spiritual life becomes decayed.  But if we do keep the Sabbath day holy all aspects of our life are affected positively and we become more holy.

What a great blessing the Sabbath day is!  In a challenging and fallen world the Lord has provided us with a day that, if observed properly, will not only be a delight (Isaiah 58: 13-14), but will help us become sanctified—holy before the Lord.