Last Sunday was Transfiguration Sunday. It marked the transition from Epiphany to Lent, from a missional season to a penitential season.
Penitential refers to expressing sorrows for our sins and faults.
If we’re not careful, we might be tricked into thinking that Lent is the season of navel gazing and feeling sorry for ourselves. In reality, it is the season for pursuing sanctification, for taking inventory of our life, for acknowledging and/or discovering our sins, and for repenting of them.
More to the point, it is the season for practicing sanctification, for working out our salvation with fear and trembling, for declaring war on our sinful flesh, for fighting the good fight of the faith against the enemy within.
By God’s grace, we are called to put some things to death and bring other things to life, with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are called to walk in the rhythm of mortification and vivification, of dying and rising in union with Christ.
The season of Lent reminds us that all of life is repentance — a deep change from the inside out.
This is not the season of giving up superficial things like social media or sweets. This is the season of giving up your sins and your self — heart and mind, body and soul — to the Lord. It is the season of setting your face like flint towards the New Jerusalem, taking up your cross daily, and following Jesus through the muck and mire of the world as baptized Christians.
So, with that in mind, as we enter the season of Lent, let us humbly surrender ourselves to God and proudly struggle against the Devil.
Grace help us all.
March 10 – Ephesians 4:17-24
March 17 – Ephesians 4:25-5:1
March 24 – Ephesians 5:2-7
March 31 – Ephesians 5:8-14
*April 7 – Ephesians 5:15-21
Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Q35: What is sanctification?
A: Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.
Q36: What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from sanctification?
A: The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.