The Season Of Lent
For many churches this past Wednesday marked the beginning of the season of Lent with what is called “Ash Wednesday.” Catholic.org describes it as “a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.”
I certainly recognize that sincere religious people of varying faiths observe the season of Lent (which includes: Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday). But by what authority do so many denominations observe “the season of Lent”? Does it come “from heaven or from men?” (Matt. 21:25)
Where in the entire Bible do we read of “Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday”? The brief answer is, we don’t. Jesus and His apostles never once spoke of observing such days (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:42). Paul said of some Christians in his day, “You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain” (Gal. 4:10-11).
Notice some other important and relevant passages in the New Testament.
a) “that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written” (I Cor. 4:6).
b) “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
c) “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).
d) “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (I Peter 4:11).
All of these Scriptures are violated in observing the season of Lent, since its authority comes from men and not from the Word of God.
Paul warned Christians in the 1st century: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8; read vv. 16-23). Sadly, multitudes of people have been cheated by the “tradition of men…the commandments and doctrines of men” for centuries (Col. 2:8, 22).
What matters in the Day of Judgment is not whether we were sincere and religious in what we believed and practiced, but whether or not we did the will of the Father in heaven (Matt. 7:21-23; cf. Luke 6:46).
Tragically, many “have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:2-3). Will you submit to the righteousness of God or seek to establish your own?