Thursday, March 22, 2012


In last week’s article I shared that most of us have been taught that by sacrificing something for Lent we “create within ourselves the desire to do God’s will”. However, according to Romans 8:5, 7, we are not capable of such an accomplishment:

Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure, (Philippians 2:13).

We also learned last week that according to the standard teachings, we make sacrifices during the Lenten season in a effort “To make His kingdom come by making it come first of all in their hearts”. However, if we look closely at Scripture, we’ll discover that this is a false doctrine. Nothing in God’s Word indicates that He is setting up His kingdom in the hearts of men. Instead, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel,’ (Mark 1:14-15). When the Pharisees asked when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus answered, The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you, (Luke 17:20-21). Some interpret this to say, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” I doubt that He would be making such a declaration about the Pharisees! The Messiah had already come! Christ, the King was among them and His miracles were evident appearances that His Kingdom had arrived!

If you are considering “giving-up something for Lent,” may I suggest that rather than conforming to man-made traditions, God’s word is very clear about the sacrifices which please Him:

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers…. Remember those who are in prison…. and those who are mistreated…. Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled…. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have…. Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings…. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God, (Hebrews 13:1-16).

It is through obedience to such things, not religious rituals, that we experience intimacy with our Lord!

Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
…..for the mouth of the LORD has spoken,

(Isaiah 58:8-9, 14).

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:1-8).


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