Never forget we are all sinners. We all need to REPENT! Lent is a great opportunity to make REPENTANCE! the focus of our Spiritual life during a season of fasting and self-denial.
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Lent starts today, so today I have a special post to start off this season of REPENTANCE!
Please also be sure to check out my last week’s post on the Spiritual practice of fasting. The season of Lent is a time when fasting takes center stage in our Spiritual life.
Many denominations observe the season of Lent. Forty-six days of prayer, fasting, and REPENTANCE! that ends on Easter. Whether your denomination observes Lent or not, it is critically important to observe some season of REPENTANCE! every year. Because we are all sinners, and we all need to REPENT!
The season of Lent, the lead-up to Easter, is a time for reflecting on our sins and thanking God for the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the Cross. This is the time to confess our sins and thank God for His Merciful Forgiveness. In other words, now is the time to reflect on the reason for the Easter season. Although confessing our sins is something we should do regularly, we must not pass up the chance Lent presents to focus on REPENTANCE!
And it starts today. So let’s start the Lenten season off right and think about why we fast, pray, avoid entertainments, and so on. Let’s start the season off thinking about why we observe this season at all.
All Are Sinners, Saved by Grace ONLY
The reason for the season of Lent is all about Jesus and His sacrifice for us on the Cross. The Forgiveness of our sins through our belief in Him and what He did for us.
Understanding and believing in Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and the Spiritual significance of it, is the core of our Christian Faith. Why do we believe in Jesus? What did He do for us? We need to understand those answers, because we need to understand why we need Jesus. If we had no need for Jesus, we would have no need to be Christian. But we know that’s not the way it is. So what happened, Spiritually speaking, when Jesus died on the Cross for our sins?
This fundamental part of Christian theology has been well-explained countless times by countless others. I don’t need to muddy the waters by trying to explain it in my own way. I’ll defer to others who have already written about Christian theology. One of the nicest explanations I’ve seen of the Spiritual significance of Jesus’ sacrifice comes from The Second Coming of the New Age by Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck. Though it’s a book debunking New Age beliefs, the explanation of Christian theology they wrote at the end serves perfectly well. So I’ll quote their words, along with Scripture.
First, Scripture is clear that we are all sinners. We all violate the Law. Not a single person is Righteous. It’s because of this that Jesus had to die for our sins. God would never have needed to take such a drastic measure if our human condition wasn’t so sinful and corrupted.
This concept is found a few places in the Bible. Most famously in Romans 3, which is quoting from the Psalms.
(10) As it is written,Romans 3:10-18 (CEB)
There is no righteous person, not even one.
(11)There is no one who understands.
There is no one who looks for God.
(12)They all turned away.
They have become worthless together.
There is no one who shows kindness.
There is not even one.
(13)Their throat is a grave that has been opened.
They are deceitful with their tongues,
and the poison of vipers is under their lips.
(14) Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
(15) Their feet are quick to shed blood;
(16) destruction and misery are in their ways;
(17) and they don’t know the way of peace.
(18) There is no fear of God in their view of the world.
So no one is Righteous. Not me, not you, nobody. If following every Commandment of God’s Law was what it took to get into Heaven, no one would ever get there. This is stated outright in Romans 3 verse 20.
(19) Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, in order to shut every mouth and make it so the whole world has to answer to God. (20) It follows that no human being will be treated as righteous in his presence by doing what the Law says, because the knowledge of sin comes through the Law.Romans 3:19-20 (CEB)
The conclusion Romans 3 reaches is as simple as it is beautiful and meaningful. All have sinned and fall short (verse 23), but all are treated as Righteous by God’s grace because of the ransom paid by Christ Jesus (verse 24).
(23) All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, (24) but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus.Romans 3:23-24 (CEB)
Do you understand what that means? Our sins carry a death penalty, that’s the ransom we would have needed to pay. But we could never pay that ransom. Instead, by placing our Faith in Jesus Christ, we can receive His Righteousness. He paid the ransom that we could never pay for our sins. Jesus took the death penalty we deserved to suffer, while the judge declares us innocent. This is the enormity and meaning of Christ’s sacrifice out of His infinite love for us! We don’t have to die, like we should have!
Bancarz and Peck explain it like this:
Jesus, however, was sent into the world to bear the sins you and I committed so that God’s judgment toward us could be transferred to Jesus. […] Jesus Christ willingly laid down His life for His sheep out of perfect love for us, so that we can be pardoned of our sins against God. Your moral debt was passed off on to the head of Jesus, and the Father inflicted in Christ the spiritual death and suffering that would have been ours if we had gone to Hell:Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck. The Second Coming of the New Age, Pages 371-372.
First Peter 2:24 explains the same thing. Jesus carried the weight of our sins when He died on the Cross. He did this so we can live in Righteousness, walking free of sin.
(24) He carried in his own body on the cross the sins we committed. He did this so that we might live in righteousness, having nothing to do with sin. By his wounds you were healed.1 Peter 2:24 (CEB)
Since Jesus carried our sins on the Cross, if we have Faith in Him and what He did we are deemed Righteous by God when we stand before Him in judgment. Bancarz and Peck explain like this:
When we believe on the Lord, we become justified. To be justified means to be declared righteous before the throne of God. This is a legal term that has to do with where we now stand in God’s heavenly courtroom. […] When we are justified, we are pronounced to be just before God in a legal and judicial sense. We don’t become righteous in and of ourselves when we have faith, but we are counted as ones who keep the whole law blamelessly. Our status before God changes from lawbreaker to law-keeper. This is the most important aspect of salvation—that we, as unrighteous sinners, are pronounced “just” by faith in Jesus Christ.Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck. The Second Coming of the New Age, Pages 376-377.
Why would God send Jesus to die for us? Why would Jesus submit to that fate? There can only be one answer: Their infinite, unconditional love for us. Without love, none of this ever would have happened. Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the Cross is the ultimate act of unconditional, self-sacrificing love in the entirety of human history.
(10) This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.1 John 4:10 (CEB)
(16) God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.John 3:16 (CEB)
It’s important to realize that our Salvation comes through grace, because of our Faith in Jesus Christ. We did not do anything to earn our Salvation. If we had to earn our Salvation, we would be doomed, because we could never get it right.
Ephesians 2:8-9 is a famous verse which makes it clear that our Salvation comes by grace because of our Faith. Our Salvation isn’t because of any good deeds we’ve done, because we can never do enough to outweigh our sins.
(8) You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. (9) It’s not something you did that you can be proud of.Ephesians 2:8-9 (CEB)
Bancarz and Peck explain it like this:
We are saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ with a sorry, repentant faith that has turned from sin to the cross. […]Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck. The Second Coming of the New Age, Pages 373-374.
We have to be sincerely sorry over our sin, sincerely turned away from the direction of that sin to Jesus, and then sincerely believe on Jesus as our Savior. […] Our own works don’t save us; Jesus saves us through faith.
Things should be clear by now, I hope.
Our Salvation is a free gift we did nothing to earn, given to us because of our Faith. Our sins are Forgiven, and we will be seen as “Righteous” at our judgment.
But now let’s turn to the topic of Forgiveness. It’s completely tied to the season of Lent, and what Lent is all about.
WE MUST ALL REPENT!
We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). WE ALL HAVE SINS TO CONFESS. WE ALL HAVE SIN IN OUR LIVES. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS. EVERYONE IS A SINNER, AND OF COURSE THAT INCLUDES ME.
In fact, as of the date of writing this post (about three weeks before it goes live), I’m losing the battle against my sins. I’ve been backsliding horribly lately, and falling back on my old ways. I’m demonized, in desperate need of God’s Deliverance and His Forgiveness. Though I pray that you, Reader, are not demonized like I am, I still know that you are in need of God’s Forgiveness, same as I am.
Whether we need Deliverance or not, we all need God’s Forgiveness. Without it we’d be doomed to a Spiritual death (hell). There is a time for REPENTANCE!, and right now is an excellent time. The season of Lent.
We know from the very famous 1 John 1:9 that IF we confess our sins to Jesus in Faith and REPENT! to Him, He is Faithful and just and will Forgive us our sins. But when I quote this famous passage, I like to include verses 8 and 10 too, for some important context. We need to ADMIT we’re sinners before we can CONFESS our sins. In other words, Jesus CAN and WILL Forgive our sins, but He WILL NOT Forgive the sins we don’t CONFESS or ADMIT to!!!!
(8) If we claim, “We don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (9) But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. (10) If we claim, “We have never sinned,” we make him a liar and his word is not in us.1 John 1:8-10 (CEB)
It’s important, so remember that. In this season of Lent, we should reflect on our sins of the past year. Jesus will Forgive us because of our Faith in Him if we admit and confess our sins to Him. Why would He do that if we never admit our sins to Him?
And what happens when we receive God’s Merciful Forgiveness? Our slate gets wiped clean. Bancarz and Peck explain like this:
Our sins are removed from us. Our record of sin is washed clean by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7), and we are totally forgiven by God (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). He takes our sin, removes it from our account, and cleanses us from the stain it has left on our souls.Steven Bancarz and Josh Peck. The Second Coming of the New Age, Pages 375-376.
[…] Our record of sins has been wiped clean, our conscience has been wiped clean, and He remembers our sins no more. We are no longer held liable and culpable for the sins we have committed because Christ took those sins for us.
They refer to 1 John 1:7, so let’s check that out too:
(7) But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.1 John 1:7 (CEB)
Remember: Jesus suffered the death penalty we deserve to suffer. God chooses not to remember our sins because of our Faith in Jesus. Without God’s Merciful Forgiveness, without Jesus’ sacrifice, we would be doomed. We would suffer the pain of spiritual death. So while we REPENT! of our sins during Lent, we must also fast and pray, and thank and praise God for this indescribable, amazing kindness we did nothing to earn.
We are all sinners. I’ve been reminded of this every day, as of late. But as blood-bought, forgiven believers in Jesus Christ, God has Mercy on us and chooses not to give us the eternal punishment we deserve. This is the unearned reward for putting our Faith in Jesus Christ: Unearned Salvation through grace, and the Forgiveness of our sins. We must properly thank and praise the LORD for this indescribable gift.
How do we properly thank and praise the LORD? Part of it comes through doing our utmost human best to obey God’s Commandments. We need to love our neighbors and our “enemies” as we love God and ourselves. We need to show the same Mercy and Forgiveness to others like God has shown us. We need to stop judging others, but lovingly rebuke their sins. We need to evangelize and bring people to Christ, so they can enjoy the blessing of His Forgiveness and Salvation too!
That’s one part of showing proper gratitude to the LORD for Jesus and our Salvation. Another part can be found in Lent. By spending this season confessing, REPENTING!, praying, fasting, and denying ourselves, we show the LORD we acknowledge the significance and meaning of this blessing we can never hope to repay. We also show God we understand that we need this blessing, for without it we’d be doomed. It’s only right we should spend this much time (and more, honestly) thanking and praising God for the blessing of Salvation and Forgiveness. When we spend the season of Lent in reflection and REPENTANCE!, trying to draw closer to God and do better, we show respect for Jesus and His sacrifice.
Never forget we are all sinners. We all need to REPENT! There is always time to REPENT!
But the season of Lent is a great opportunity to focus on reflection and REPENTANCE! and the meaning of our Savior’s sacrifice. Don’t miss out on this excellent once-a-year chance!
Now’s a Good Time
In John 8, a crowd wanted to stone an adulterous woman to death. Adultery was a crime that carried a death sentence under the Law of Moses. But Jesus refused to condemn the woman. He told the crowd, “let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” When the crowd left, Jesus simply told the woman to “go and sin no more.”
(10) Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Is there no one to condemn you?”John 8:10-11 (CEB)
(11) She said, “No one, sir.”
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, don’t sin anymore.”
Jesus isn’t only talking to the woman in John 8:11. He’s talking to us too. Our sins carry the death penalty too; we deserve death and eternal punishment. But Jesus took our death sentence for us. He bore our sins on the cross. Jesus does not condemn us, and God gives us unearned Forgiveness by grace for our Faith in Christ Jesus.
It’s our duty to show gratitude for this indescribable, eternal gift by living a good Christian life. By showing Christian love toward God and others. By battling our sins and living in the light as new creations, born again in Christ Jesus.
But we’re still only human, every one of us. We all fall short of the glory of God, we all sin (Romans 3:23). And although we should be sinning less as we mature in our walk with Christ, we all sin and we all know it. We all have things to confess. It’s a fact of our sad human condition.
But God is so good, He is Faithful and Just and Forgives us our sins if we turn to Jesus in Faith and confess and REPENT! to Him.
We can REPENT! any time. But Lent is a great opportunity to make REPENTANCE! the focus of our Spiritual life during a season of fasting and self-denial.
So let’s make the most of this God-given opportunity. Starting today, February 17, 2021, until Easter (which is April 4). Let’s get serious about confessing our sins and turning to Jesus to REPENT! Let’s give God the proper thanks and praise He deserves for our unearned, indescribable, eternal, and life-changing blessing of Forgiveness and Salvation. Let’s show Him we understand how significant a blessing it is.
And let’s show Him a sincere heart of REPENTANCE!, and a real desire to grow closer to Him and to sin no more. We can never pay the LORD back for the blessing of our Salvation. But we can give Him the proper gratitude for it, and taking part in Lent is one way to do that.
And it starts today! So let’s get to it!
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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