It’s that time of year again when multitudes of religious people including devout Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, nominal Christians, and other well-meaning Evangelicals faithfully observe a season known as ‘Lent.’ The late pastor of the Berean Church in Devner, CO and the long-time president of Berean Bible Fellowship, Win Johnson, wrote the following in a tract originally produced by Grace Gospel Publishers called ‘The Intent of Lent.’ May the poignant words from a voice of the past bless your heart and lead you into the fullness of truth as ‘he being dead still speaks’ (Heb.11:4b).
“Many sincere people, Protestants and Roman Catholics alike, are conscientiously engaged in ‘keeping Lent.’ The observance of this forty-day period prior to Easter Sunday, is generally marked by various kinds of self-denial. By ‘giving up’ a habit or favorite indulgence, some hope to earn favor with God while others actually expect to secure forgiveness of sins by their self-styled sacrifices.
The celebration of Lent dates back to the early part of the 4th century and is based solely on church history and the traditions of men. Designating this period as ‘holy days’ finds no support in the Word of God. Under the Old Testament economy, God’s chosen people, Israel, were commanded to celebrate certain feast days. Strict observance of these ‘days’ was required as an indispensable factor in their salvation. However, we are told in Colossians 2:17 that these celebrations were only ‘shadows of things to come.’ These shadows gave way to reality ‘when the fullness of time was come’ and ‘God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law’ (Galatians 4:4,5). The Lord Jesus Christ by His death, burial, and resurrection, dispelled ‘the shadows’ and now ‘we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace’ (Ephesians 1:7). The sinless Son of God was ‘made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him’ (II Corinthians 5:21).
The intent of Lent is but another endeavor on the part of sinful man to establish his own righteousness. All such efforts are in vain, ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast’ (Ephesians 2:8,9).”