“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
I know of no better scriptural affirmation than this to use at any time – as a reminder of the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – especially during Lent (if that happens to be a tradition you observe). Another is, “ If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
The question is, are you free and do you know you are free? Do you know the magnitude and completeness of what this implies, child of God? Might you need to ponder and prayerfully explore this through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, to see where it takes you – so you can comprehend and apprehend your new reality provided in Jesus?
“… Christ Jesus hath made me free” means it’s done. It is finished! It’s here, now, present! We are invited to walk here and now in the freedom for which Christ has made us free. And if it is not now here, then it is nowhere!
Many observe Lent by trying to give up things or improve themselves in order to try to please God. Any attempts at “self improvement” are a thing of the past. Why? Because you cannot improve on something that no longer exists, for the Scripture is clear: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).
So how is it that anyone is led to believe that giving up things for Lent can improve a self that has actually been crucified and is no more? Truth be told there is no such thing as self improvement. Especially since, six weeks later after Easter, the old self rises up like the zombie it is and picks up right where it left off, for there can be no so called self improvement that lasts. It lives its guilt ridden life as it always did – outside the gift of God’s infinite grace in Christ Jesus.
What the self improvement works of Lent amount to for the most part (sorry if the following offends you, but maybe a little shock factor is in order?) is like digging up a rotten corpse, putting flowers around it, spraying perfume on it, pretending it’s alive… and then offering it to God! This is actually an attempt to substitute our own works as replacement for the full Grace of the Passion of our Lord. It slaps away the Hand of God offering His gift of new life in a new creation where His righteousness dwells and reigns, through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.
I lay the responsibility for this misleading practice at the feet of a “church” which has never taught the fulness of Grace according to the Scripture – that “… of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” (John 1:16) Instead devotees are encouraged to add their own attempts and efforts at self righteousness to the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to add the practice of rituals and other “required” observances to “contribute” to their salvation.
The good news is that all the while an entirely new life has already been provided and bestowed, wherein we have been restored to our Father by, in, and through Christ Jesus. Yet this is missed because once more we’ve been derailed by attempts at works righteousness and self improvement, which Scripture clearly teaches us is “… an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isaiah 64:6) No “self improvement” program, even with mind over matter mental trickery, can do a thing about that! “That” was appointed to die, and so it has in Christ Jesus.
All we must do is receive this gift of Grace! “…as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12) Then we live in this new reality by the power of the Holy Spirit, “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
So, which part of that fulness that He provides for us do we think we can add to by our efforts?
Have you received Him with His transforming infinite grace, or are you still trying to supplant Him with your own attempts at self improvement? If you choose His offer then, “reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11) Herein is the faith of of the Son of God.
For truly, “It is finished!”
PS: Deleted the artwork for this one. Shooting for a better design to post separately.