Many Christians all over the world keep the fast of Lent during the 50 days before Easter. They abstain from meat or other delicacies in an attempt to replicate Christ’s time spent in the wilderness when he fasted and overcame the temptations of Satan.
We see how Christ overcame Satan when He fasted from food and water for 40 days here:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Christians look at this wilderness journey of Christ where He completely fasted from food and water and try to replicate it in an inferior/partial way by fasting from meat and other foods. But we don’t realize that Jesus did ALL of this so that we could be saved, forgiven and enjoy all the blessings.
We are not called to try to replicate what Jesus did but simply REST in His finished work. We cannot become saved or more holy by fasting or our self-examination!
We are called to LOOK to JESUS and what HE DID and not what we do!
Jesus fasted so that we can FEAST as the prodigal son with the Father, eating the fattened calf (symbol of Christ’s death)!
There is NO FASTING in your Father’s house but FEASTING, MUSIC and DANCING!
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
The Christian’s fasting/self-examination is an act of unbelief not realizing what Jesus did on the cross! We cannot do what Jesus did but only thank Him for what He did for us! Jesus did it for us!
If we want to follow Jesus in fasting, then we have to also die on the cross for our own sins! Of course we cannot die on the cross for our own sins, because Jesus already did that for us! Therefore we are not called to fast in the wilderness like Jesus did!
Jesus fasted so we can feast on earth giving thanks to God our Father for the food He has given us! The act of fasting belonged to the old covenant/old wineskin because their sins were constantly being condemned under the law. But now Jesus came with feasting and celebration because our sins are forgiven! The disciples fasted from the time of His death until the day of Pentecost, when Christ came to live in them through the Holy Spirit. If you are a believer, then Jesus already lives in you and we don’t need to fast and mourn anymore!
14 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. 16 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. 17 Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Fasting and mourning over sins is going back under the Old Covenant because the Law made people conscious of sins (Romans 3:20, Hebrews 10:1-4)!
We cannot mix the old and new covenants. Either we are forgiven all sins according to the New Covenant OR we are not forgiven according to the Old Covenant. We cannot say that Jesus forgave our sins but that we are still not forgiven!! That is confusion!
Fasting is the symbol of the Old Covenant while Feasting is the symbol of the New Covenant! There is no in-between and no mixture of Old and New Covenants!
Jesus was always providing food, multiplying it for thousands! He ate and drank with sinners and they were not fasting!
19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
Jesus denied Himself of food in the wilderness so that we can be provided with food and drink! Jesus was cursed on the cross so we can be blessed!
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
Jesus was forsaken on the cross so we are accepted by God as His children!
Jesus was beaten and whipped, so that we are embraced by God our Daddy!
Jesus died so that we can live forever!
You see that Jesus suffered and denied Himself for us so that we can be BLESSED by God our Father.
Satan tried to tempt Jesus to reduce His suffering and try to use His powers to help Himself. But Jesus said no to all those temptations so that we can be blessed!
Jesus refused to turn stone to bread so that He became the BREAD of LIFE for us!
32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.” 35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. “
Jesus refused to throw Himself down and let angels catch Him so that the same Angels of God protect us according to Psalm 91
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Look what Jesus tells the believer here:
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Dear friend, Jesus is not asking you to replicate what He did on the cross or copy His 40-days in the wilderness. He did all of that because we were sinners.
But now through His death, He has made us PERFECT and RIGHTEOUS! We are accepted, forgiven and righteous if we simply believe, without any works from our side!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
2nd Corinthians 5
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made JESUS who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The kingdom of God is not about what food you eat or abstain from! Lent has nothing to do with anything spiritual. It is simply a fleshly activity with no spiritual benefit but only good for losing weight.
Romans 14 “17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”
The kingdom of God is all about being righteous by faith in Christ so that the Holy Spirit lives in us to give us joy and peace knowing that we are accepted and righteous before God without any works of eating/drinking/fasting/Lent.
1st Corinthians 8 “But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”
We are not in the wilderness of self-denial but in the glory of being seated with Christ having been forgiven all sins!
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,…. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast”
If you see, we are not carrying the cross in a wilderness. We are already SEATED with Christ in heavenly places! Galatians 2:20 says that we *were* crucified with Christ but now Christ lives in us! The risen, ascended and glorified Christ lives in us! He is not asking us to give up meat but to enjoy the feast in heaven! There is no fasting in heaven but only feasting of all the good meats and fancy wines!
On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.
7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;8 he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.”
The passage above talks about the Mt.Zion – the New Covenant of Christ.
In the old covenant there was mourning, fasting and fear on Mt.Sinai when the Law was given and 3000 died ! But in the New Covenant there is joy on this Mt. Zion where there is feasting and great joy !!
18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in JOYFUL assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
The blood of Christ speaks the better word of FORGIVEN, REJOICE, FEAST and REJOICE in the FATHER’s HOUSE with great food and dance and happiness!
The will of God was that Jesus Christ came and removed the law that condemned the world. He has made us perfect once for all, perfect forever! God will not judge the believer’s sins anymore. There is nothing for you to do! Jesus has done everything. All our sins have been forgiven – past, present, future sins all forgiven and that’s why there is no more sacrifice for sins for the believer!!
9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
You don’t need to fast or abstain from meat or do anything to become forgiven or to become more holy. The believer is already holy and righteous in Christ!
Jesus Christ has done everything. IT IS FINISHED.
He has taken away our sins and given us His PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS as a free gift to all who simply BELIEVE in Him without their works!
Our sins have been forgiven by His death on the cross! We are already COMPLETE and FULL with Christ. We don’t need to do anything according to the human philosophies and teachings that tell us to do certain works to become “more holy” or “complete”.
Christ’s death was ENOUGH to PERFECT you and forgive you ALL sins!
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to FULLNESS. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He FORGAVE us ALL our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
Jesus fasted for 40 days without food or water so that we can feast on the choicest foods for all the days of our lives!