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Faith: Lent - a time of joy

During Lent, we who believe in Jesus joyfully repent of our sins while striving to turn from them, all the while rejoicing in what Jesus has done by dying on the cross for the remission of them in the full assurance that our destiny does not end in death and damnation, but in an eternity in heaven with our blessed Savior, Jesus.

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Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

The fall of man into sin through Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden sets the stage for Lent.

Why? Because in the fall we learn why Jesus came to die on Calvary’s cross to redeem us from our sin.

For most, the fall is pictured in Adam and Eve biting an apple. But in reality the Bible never mentions an apple, only that fruit hung from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that it was not to be eaten. To do so God said was a sin ultimately leading to His just wrath and condemnation.

So when Adam and Eve bit the fruit they and all mankind became recipients of God’s judgment of death. This being so, we all need Christ’s redeeming blood to wash away our sin and save us from eternal death.

To all who believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin, therefore, Lent is a time of joy even though our thoughts are typically turned toward somber repentance. It is joyful because in somber repentance we reflect on God’s gift of faith in His Son Jesus who assures us that we have forgiveness and eternal life in the face of all the devastating effects of sin that that one bite of the forbidden fruit has inflicted upon us.

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Consider, then, how just one bite of that fruit has caused so much woe. Consider also that our continued sinning is the source of all our troubles.

So what was so alluring to Eve about the fruit in the first place? Of course, the serpent told her she would be like God knowing good and evil, which is what the serpent continues to tempt us to believe. And if we believe we are like God as the serpent subtly suggests, then we no longer need God as our Savior.

Consequently, the account of the fall reveals that the root of all sin is to believe we are as good as God even when Jesus reminds us that, “There is none good but One, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17 KJV)

Jesus spoke these words to a young man who believed he had earned the right to go to heaven through his own goodness and so did not need God’s forgiveness for his sin.

But thank God, we who are deceived by sin have a forgiving Savior who came to point out that we are sinful and need forgiveness and then invites us to repent of our sin, which essentially means to trust that only Jesus can free us from our sin.

Where, then, does Jesus start telling us about this? In the creation story where He says He shaped us out of the dust of the earth to be the crown of His creation, made in His spiritual image, giving us both bodily and eternal life. And, then, how Adam and Eve fell because they wanted their way and not God’s way.

Jesus also points to the world as evidence of this and how we believe we are wiser than He who spoke creation into existence by His Word as we go about trying to turn His order for creation on its head.

So in the end, we are indeed envious of God all the while despising His will as we continually strive to usurp His authority as Adam and Eve tried to do. And all because that first pride-filled bite brought sin into the world with its endless list of every form of sinful immorality, idolatry, war, disease - you name it.

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Nevertheless, God being forgiving by nature did not wipe us out, but rather determined He would redeem us. So He promised to send His Son Jesus as our Savior who would shed His holy precious blood on His cross to redeem us from our sin.

He vowed He would not leave us to His wrath but would provide our salvation through Jesus as the Apostle John writes, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17 KJV)

Therefore, during Lent, we who believe in Jesus joyfully repent of our sins while striving to turn from them, all the while rejoicing in what Jesus has done by dying on the cross for the remission of them in the full assurance that our destiny does not end in death and damnation, but in an eternity in heaven with our blessed Savior, Jesus.

Have a joy-filled Lent.

Les Uhrinak is pastor at Mission of the Cross Lutheran Church (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) in Crosslake.

Related Topics: FAITHFAITH COLUMNCROSSLAKE
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