For many Christian denominations, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It is 40 days not counting Sunday, 46 days altogether, 6 weeks from before Easter. This is observed by those who are saved and received atonement through the blood of Jesus Christ.
During Lent many Christian, commit to fasting, giving up certain luxuries and enjoyment as a form of penitence. This is the time of preparation for the greatest gift given to mankind which is the cross of Jesus Christ.
The title of the message: “A time of revision”; “to revise” means:
- Examine and make corrections or alterations to (written or printed matter). Time for us to examine our lives of faith, and make corrections where needed.
- Reconsider and amend (something), especially in the light of further evidence or to reflect a changed situation.
- Review- reread work done previously to improve one’s knowledge of a subject, typically to prepare for an examination.
- “re-vision” – find our vision again.
Lent is kept for 40 days. In Bible, 40 is a significant number in relationship to God’s redemptive work and preparation of His people for his redemptive work (Genesis 7:17, Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 8:2, Psalm 95:10, 1 Kings 19:4-8, Leviticus 12:2-6, Luke 2:22, Matthew 4:2).
40 signifies a duration of time, needed for people of God to train, repent and be set apart from sin, so they can be included in the order of redemption and eternal life. This process is full of agony, test, doubt, hardship, and those who go through these 40 days received from God amazing work of renewal, restoration and redemption.
We who desire to receive His salvation and atonement, we are preparing for 40 days. This 40 days that we are keeping as lent, this is the time when our idols have to die. That is how we prepare for the cross of Jesus Christ. At the end of it, the only One who receives glory and the only One we trust on should be Jesus Christ.
In order to do this, we need to understand what lent is and what lent is not.
What lent is not?
- Lent is not a time to diet.
- We are not being saved for our works, ascetic life, self-control and fasting during the period of lent. Salvation is given as a free gift of Jesus Christ by His grace only.
- Lent is not Ramadan. It is time of severing from our sinful way and come closer to God.
- Our lent should not just be an act of following church tradition.
The most important thing we need to do during Lent is repentance. Lent is time for us to be restored and renew through repentance. We go to church because we want to go to heaven. But there are people who still don’t have assurance of salvation even after attending church for 30 and 40 years. Even if you don’t, may this time of Lent be a life changing experience for you that you will find conviction and assurance of salvation.
Why is it people who attended church for so many years still can’t have assurance of salvation? Because they are not giving in to their old thoughts and way. It is because they are not letting go and opening up to receive that love and grace of Jesus Christ.
3 important points of repentance:
- Repentance is turning from sin to follow Christ.
- Repentance is necessary for our salvation. Those who do not have repentance cannot enter into heaven.
- Repentance is a gift and grace of God.
In Matthew 3:1-2 and Mark 1:15 say repentance is a must, something we need in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven and the first step to come to Jesus Christ. As we who are waiting for Jesus’ return and kingdom of heaven to be fulfilled, one thing we need to do is repentance.
What repentance is not?
- Repentance is not just confession. By confessing our sin it is not finished yet, repentance needs to lead to Jesus Christ, to know Him and let Him take out the sin (Matthew 3:5-11). I pray that you and I will receive this baptism of repentance and the baptism of the holy spirit. Be sure in keeping with repentance and believing with faith so you can really be saved.
- Repentance is not just being regretful or remorseful. Simply feeling sorrowful for sin, is not by itself repentance. Repentance in Hebrew is ‘teshuva’ (תשובה) means making a U-turn, turning away. In Greek it is metanoia (μετάνοια), which means changing your mind and thoughts. Involving changes in our mind and thoughts and that will lead to changes in our daily lives.
Repentance involves 3 elements:
- Intellectual – At certain points, we need to recognise that we have sinned. It’s a mental acknowledgement; a realization (Luke 15:17).
- Emotional – It’s important to note that remorse over our current situation isn’t necessarily a sign of true repentance, but there needs to be genuine sorrow over our sin (2 Cor 7:9-11, Psalm 51) and over transgressing God’s law.
- Volitional – This is an act of the will. Surely the first step is the confession of sin; working in league with the first part – the intellect – to realise and own up to the sin (Proverb 26:11, John 8:11).
What sin is?
There are 2 categories of sins:
- Behavioural sin – what we commit day by day.
- Fundamental sin – sin of not believing in God, a sin against God and rejecting His word and His presence.
True repentance is recognising God and coming to believe in him. Repenting the time we rejected his word and His presence. Complete repentance can be done through loving God and coming back to Him. And by loving our neighbours.
Sin according to the Bible:
- Unbelief, no faith, not believing the One who created us (John 16:9, Rom 1:21-23, Rom 14:23).
- Unlawfulness: Absence of or not following the law of God, Word of God (1 John 3:4).
- Unrighteousness: righteousness bestowed upon us when we believe, only God is righteous (Rom 6:13, 1 John 1:9, 5:7)
- Wickedness (no goodness): God is the judge of what is good (James 4:17)
Repentance is the first step into the kingdom of heaven. Let us spend this time of Lent really meditating upon the Word and think of the sin I need to repent of. God has great blessings prepared for you. God is putting us through this preparation time, this time we called Lent, so we can receive that blessing.