Bible Question:

What are your views on Sabbath keeping? Can you be saved by only following the other commandments?

Bible Answer:

There is a previous question that speaks to your question about keeping the Sabbath. It is entitled, “Do we have to keep the commandments and laws given in the Old Testament?” Jesus was in the land of Judea and was preparing to leave when a man ran up to Him and asked your question . . . almost asked your question.

. . . a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (NASB) Mark 10:17-21

Ten Commandments

This man was an extremely rich ruler or leader of the Jews (Luke 18:18, 23). He had “everything in this world” and he wanted to be sure his after life was in order too! Jesus does not agree or disagree with him about his claim to have kept the Ten Commandments but tells him to sell everything he has and follow Jesus! The man responds with disappointment and leaves the Lord. Jesus was not saying that one must keep the Ten Commandments and be poor. The man’s problem was that He was not willing to give himself to God! He was also mistaken. Eternal life is not found by keeping the Ten Commandments. His keeping of the Ten Commandments was not good enough. Keeping the Ten Commandments will not save any of us.

Many believe that keeping the Ten Commandments will save a person. This is a common idea that has been taught by some churches. This reminds me of a little girl.

At the age of two, a little girl began to learn all the traditional fairy tales, like Goldilocks, the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs. Her mother and father taught her the familiar Bible stories as well. One day her mother read to her Revelation 3:20. When the mother finished the verse, she asked, “If Jesus is knocking at your door, will you open the door and let Him in?” The girl quickly responded, “Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.”

She missed the point and so have others when it comes to eternal life. The truth is a person cannot keep all of the Ten Commandments without making one mistake! God says,

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:10-12 (NASB)

Jesus says that it is not just our actions that count but our attitudes.

You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty. Matthew 5:21-22 (NASB)

You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28 (NASB)

In Romans 3:23 God makes it very clear that none of us have kept the Ten Commandments.

. . . all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 (NASB)

None of us will ever be able to keep them. No one! Jesus never corrected the rich man. He wanted to help the man see his own heart. He did not care about following God. He was focused on himself.

Eternal Life

We cannot be saved by our effort or works. We are saved if and when we believe in Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)

. . . you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)

We obtain eternal life when we stop our own efforts, when we stop trying to keep the Ten Commandments or doing other works in order to earn salvation. We receive eternal life when we believe Jesus is God, died for our sins, and returned to life (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Eternal life comes only by relying on Jesus to forgive our sins.


God gave us the Ten Commandments to show us how we should live and to show us that we are sinners (Galatians 3:19-25) who need One who can save us. Even though Jesus did not abolish the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:17) when He came to earth, keeping them will not save you. The only commandment that has changed is the Sabbath which has been replaced by Sunday worship. God calls us to believe in Jesus!

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 (NASB)

Suggested Links:

Why do we not keep the Sabbath?
Should we worship on Sunday or the Sabbath?
When should we rest and worship God? Is there a special day?
Do we have to keep the ten commandments given in the Old Testament?
Should we worship on Sunday or the Sabbath?