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Give Up Giving Up for Lent


Having grown up Lutheran, I am accustomed to the observation of Lent. As far as I can remember, however, I don’t think anyone in my church was fasting or giving anything up. The Roman Catholics in our communities did, of course, but that was them, and I thought it was just another Papist oddity, and enjoyed pulling Slim Jims out of my pockets on Friday when everyone else was eating fish (which, let me remind you, is meat, no matter how you fry it).

In all my years living in predominantly Lutheran and Roman Catholic communities, I never knew why anyone would give anything up for Lent. I only knew that they did it. I only recently learned that it is done in order to identify with the suffering of Christ. Now, having observed or read fairly extensively on liberalism, postmodernism, the charismatic movement, etc., I am not easily shocked by the foolishness concocted by pseudochristian sects and movements; indeed, I am no longer usually shocked by the horrors that exist within nominal evangelicalism (Beth Moore, anyone?). But this really took me aback. How could anyone be so crass as to think that giving up chocolate can in any way identify them with the sacrifice of the cross? How could anyone think that any sacrifice they can contrive could ever, in any way, be compared to the suffering of Christ?

Note well: We have no idea how exquisite was the suffering of Christ. If you saw The Passion of the Christ, you still have no idea how Christ suffered—none at all. All you saw was a brutal execution like thousands of others—all gore, no gospel. What Christ suffered cannot be displayed visually, which is why—second commandment aside—God gave us a book, not a movie. While we can know what he suffered, because Scripture tells us, we will never fathom the degree of the suffering.

What Christ suffered was the curse of God. He “became sin for us,” and bore the full wrath of God against sin on our behalf. What was that like? I have no idea, but I do know that nothing I have ever suffered, will ever suffer, or could ever suffer—short of hell itself—is worth mentioning in comparison. Even if I was crucified exactly as Christ was, I would still have no way of knowing how he suffered.

Knowing what Christ suffered, and knowing that we can’t fathom the depth his experience, should remove any illusions of identifying with that suffering by a few weeks of pretentious “sacrifice.”

To give up any earthly pleasure on the pretext of identifying with Christ’s suffering is an insult to the Savior. It is to downgrade the enormity of the sin he bore, and to belittle the atonement that he made for his people. It is no act of worship, no matter how sincere the intent. It is no less than blasphemous.

I hope you will fully embraced the Reformation, and eschew Lent altogether. At the very least, I hope you will give up this ignorant, pretentious, irreverent custom.

Posted 2014·03·07 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Lent/Passion Week/Easter · Papism · Wrath (of God)
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#1 || 14·03·07··08:59 || Daniel

Do you recall when Elijah had the worshipers of Baal attempt to wake their god so that he might send down fire on the sacrifice - and they mutilated themselves to get his attention?

That is the closest thing to observing Lent that I can find in the bible.

I should note that I have no problem with a person fasting, that is, I have no problem with a person depriving himself of sustenance to train his own heart to depend upon God (and not on the things in this world) to sustain him. Fasting done right is one way that genuine Christians draw near to God. Giving up lattes or chewing gum or potato chips for forty days is not fasting, it is just an empty religious innovation.

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