Let’s first take a look at the commandment itself, found in Exodus 20:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (vv. 8–11, emphasis added).
God says there is holy time; what does He mean? The word “holy” means something “dedicated, set apart, or consecrated to God.” And it’s clear from the Bible that some things are holy and should not be profaned or treated as common.
For one, marriage is called holy. You can court someone for years, but it’s not a holy relationship until you seal the covenant and marry him or her. Profaning that holy relationship is a violation of the commandment against adultery. Tithe is also called holy (Leviticus 27:30). It can be hard to grasp that among the ten $1 bills in your pocket, one of them is considered holy, but nonetheless, using that dollar to make a car payment profanes something sacred.
Well, God also points out in this commandment that a certain amount of time each week is holy—not because a church teaches it, but because He said so. No man in the world can call common what God has called holy. Nor does God say, “Remember the Sabbath to make it holy.” We can’t make it holy; God is the one who makes something holy. In this commandment, He is saying, “I’ve already made it holy, so you must recognize what I have done and respect Me.” Keeping the Sabbath holy is all about a love relationship with God.