False sacrifice

False sacrifices denote the idea that Lent and many other supposedly ‘Christian practices’ have no real substance other than the significance that it is given to it by the participant.

Lent is the drum roll to Easter and Easter is right around the corner as supermarkets gear up to sell as much chocolates to the under 13 as can be consumed. I myself have never participated in lent and it holds no significance for me. Although, this tradition is held dear by many who observe the liturgical calendar (calendar of public worship).

False sacrifices denote the idea that Lent and many other supposedly ‘Christian practices’ have no real substance other than the significance that it is given to it by the participant.

History of lent

The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lencten, meaning “spring.” There are many historical variations of how the observance of Lent is practiced according to the liturgical calendar. The main consensus is that the period of Lent lasts for 40 days up until Good Friday and begins either on Ash Wednesday for Roman Catholics and Clean Monday for Eastern Orthodox. This period signifies preparation of good works, penance, prayer and sacrifice. It is a time of reflection and refocusing on the sacrifice paid by Christ.

Over the ages the way in which Lent is practiced has evolved and has adapted to the day and age we live in. Traditionally the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday, commonly known as Mardi Grass (Fat Tuesday); and people participated in this by clearing out all their meat products, yeast and sugar to leave no room for temptation during the 40 days.

I am sure that many Christians who observe Lent will not be shocked to find out that there is no biblical basis to keep the Lenten season. Aspects that occur within Lent like fasting and praying are biblical practices that we are expected to keep daily. Many Christians that participate in the Lenten season believe that their good works add to their salvation. Such an occurrence or observance that is kept with very little biblical evidence is called extra-biblical.

In Malachi 1, God through his messenger Malachi pronounces upon the Priesthood of Israel that their offerings have become contemptible. God stressed that Israel’s wilful disobedience and disregard of the laws of sacrifice, made their sacrifice by definition faulty. God desired a male lamb without blemish, however what was being sacrificed continually was the lame and sick. God gave Moses the instruction of how he would like sacrifices to take place; the Priests were the gatekeepers of this information and were meant to disseminate these instructions to the people. God expected obedience from the priest to what had been written in the Mosaic Covenant; instead false sacrifices were allowed to be propagated all over Israel.

John Calvin stated in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. He wrote that Christ’s 40-day fast wasn’t intended to be a model: “It was therefore merely false zeal, replete with superstition, which set up a fast under the title and pretext of imitating Christ.”

In keeping with this extract, false sacrifice can be defined as the willing disobedience to offer anything up to God as a counterfeit. Prayer, fast and sacrifices can fall under as a counterfeit practice or offering if one is merely producing the outward appearance of the practice but has failed to obey God’s instructions. The origins and practice of Lent sit within the idea of false sacrifice. The idea that an external, public season focused on good works, penance, prayer and sacrifice is what God desires is misplaced.

Psalm 51:17, 1 Samuel 15:22

Penance is defined as “voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong”. This is contrary to scripture that places Christ as the willing sacrifice and the One whom we repent for all our wrongdoing. God is not well pleased by the vain attempts of man to absolve themselves from their wretched sin.

Colossians 2:20-23

Keep in mind as citizens we are not to participate in ritualistic traditions founded by men and cannot be ascribed biblical authentication. Colossians 2:8, Mark 7:7-9

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