The Season of Lent – A Time to Reflect and Celebrate

What is Lent? In the Christian calendar, it is a period commencing from Ash Wednesday and culminating on Easter Sunday. This is the solemn season in which Christians reflect on the suffering and death of Christ. Many churches practice the imposition of ash on the forehead of the believers as a reminder that “we are dust and to dust we return”. Some churches don’t practice the imposition but they encourage the faithful to observe the lent through meditation, prayers and bible reading. Palm Sunday is the Lord’s Day immediately before the Easter Sunday. It is the celebration of Christ’s triumphal entry to Jerusalem and the beginning of the holy week. This event is described in all four books of the Gospel, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Maundy Thursday is the commemoration of the Last Supper in which Jesus had the last meal with His disciples following the washing of their feet. It was also at this time when Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus’ disciples, betrayed Him in exchange of thirty pieces of silver coins. Good Friday marks the crucifixion and death of Christ. Easter Sunday is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead – victory over death and sin. It is a signal for a new beginning.

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day…” Luke 24 vs. 26

Why was it necessary for Jesus to suffer and die? The fact of the matter is that we are sinners. It doesn’t matter how big or small our sin is. Sin is a sin. It harms us in many ways. It destroys our worth. It corrupts us even more. It harms our relationship with God who created us in His image. It offends our holy God. Because of our sins we are separated from God. Nothing, by our own power and ability, can restore that broken relationship with God. There is no amount of human kindness or goodness that can remove our guilt. And for one, we really didn’t care about being separated from God. That is how calloused we have become as a result of our sins. 

Image courtesy of CrossWalk


But our God is a loving God who does not want us to remain in this hopeless condition. He took the initiative to save us. While it is humanly impossible to be saved from sin and the penalty of it, God provided the only way, Jesus Christ. 
Jesus died on the cross fulfilling the righteous requirements of the Law to remove our sins, to appease God’s holy indignation, to satisfy God’s just requirements to release us from condemnation. It is the moment in which Jesus opened for us the way to God’s holy throne through his atoning death by willingly giving up his life and shedding His blood for us – a sufficient sacrifice once and for all. He declared on the cross “It is finished!”, meaning, the transaction to release us from the captivity from sin is done with. Who can match that show of love? Regardless of the gravity of our sins, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.” John 3 :16
All that God requires us to do now is to acknowledge that we have sinned and ask for His forgiveness and trust Him for our salvation by opening our hearts to Him. There is no need to inflict pain on our body. No need to try hard to earn God’s favor by our own moral standards. God’s salvation is a free gift that we must receive. The meaning of Lent is God’s abundant grace made available to you and me.
This is why Lent always ends with celebration. It is a celebration of our new life and restored fellowship with our Creator.

What Must I Do to Be Saved?

Our true story begins with a loving and powerful God making us the crown of his creation. God formed us in His very own image - beautiful and without blemish. He made you and me for a truly wonderful purpose. He placed everything around us for our enjoyment. God established a truly intimate fellowship with us.  He gave us leadership over all other created things. But something went awfully wrong - a really bad and sad thing. We broke off our relationship with God. We took Him out of our life and ignored Him. Something - called sin - made this gap between us and God humanly impossible to bridge. You and I have been warped by sin. Corrupted and marred to our core, our way of life, thoughts, tendencies, choices and desires bring us further down.  

Though you went on your own way, God is still reaching out because He still cares for us and still has a great plan for you and your future. Here are the steps to getting into a relationship with God.

ADMIT THAT YOU NEED HELP

First, admit your spiritual need. It's hard to admit our brokenness but we know deep inside that there is emptiness that can't be filled by our achievements in life, money, relationships and even religion. We try to pretend that everything is fine. Deep within, we are sad. We try to hide in the crowd. But when all the laughters and noises have faded and you are alone by yourself, you sense that something is missing in your life. Blaise Pascal a mathematician and philosopher realized that “there is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”  There is this big issue of sin that we often take for granted or  deny. Sin is what causes us to miss our purpose in life."There is none righteous, no, not one" Romans 3:10. "For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God" Romans 3:23. Because of our sin, we are separated from God. "For the wages of sin is death.." Romans 6:23 Our best efforts are not enough to solve our condition. "We are all infected and impure with sin. When we put on our prized robes of righteousness, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves we fade, wither, and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away." Isaiah 64:6 TLB There is no way we could help ourselves out of this spiritual mess but by Christ alone. 

BELIEVE THAT JESUS CAME TO SETTLE YOUR ISSUES

God loves you but He hates sin. He is holy and just and He dealt with our unworthiness. "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13 "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." 1 John 4:10 "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God..." I Peter 3:18. Jesus paid in full the price for your sin. The Apostle Paul said, "...the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" Galatians 2:20. There is no other way to be saved but through Jesus.

KNOW THAT THERE'S NOT OTHER WAY,  NOT EVEN RELIGION. IT'S ONLY THROUGH JESUS 

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12. You don't need to add anything to what Jesus has completely done for you. Christ sacrifice for you is sufficient. What He wants you to do is not what many people think you should.

You don't need to be religious to be accepted. As a matter of fact, religion is not the way to be saved. It is not by good works either. Doing good is great but not enough to earn our salvation. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.

What you and everybody else need is to make a bold step to turn to God. The Bible tells us, "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" Acts 3:19. Repentance means changing our mind and returning to God. God invites you to turn to Him right where you are. His love will help you turn away from the things that create distance between you and God. He promise to give you a fresh start.

RECEIVE JESUS AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR BY FAITH

Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28. It is essential that you come to Jesus as you are. Don't try to "clean up your life" before you come to God. Instead, receive Him and allow Him to do the "cleansing." God will change you for the better. Jesus said, "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out" John 6:37. "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved". Romans 10:9. Receiving means surrendering to God and trusting Jesus alone for our salvation. It is an act of faith.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. 

Praying is talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

"Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and acknowledge that you died on the cross to save me. Please forgive all my sins. I now receive you in my life as my Lord and Savior. I surrender to you my life. Change me and make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen."

If you have prayed this prayer with all your heart, then you have received new life in Christ. 2 Cor 5:17 Your sins are completely forgiven and forgotten. Jesus took away your guilt. John 5:24. You have been born again.  You have received eternal life  1 John 5:13You have become a child of God. John 1:12. You have become a Christian. 

[jwplayer mediaid="8385"]

Please let us know about your decision to receive Jesus. We would like to assist you in your new journey of faith as a Christian. Contact us.

All quotations are taken from New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.