“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same;that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrew 2:14 (KJV)
Today is Ash Wednesday. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Lenten season, a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose of Lent is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ–His suffering and sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection.
Lent is a special season when we can reflect on the gracious plan of salvation designed by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Gen. 3:15). God fashioned a plan whereby “He Himself” in the person of Jesus Christ would become human and resolve the problem of sin. But why did this plan require Christ to take on flesh and blood?
- So that Christ could satisfy the “righteous requirements” of the law. (Romans 8:4) The Mosaic Law demanded that blood be shed, in the form of an animal sacrifice for the “forgiveness of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). This process of sacrifice was repeated continuously, generation after generation, until Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice (Hebrews 9:23-28).
- So that Christ would be able to share in our humanity. He would be able to understand our weaknesses and temptations. As a partaker of flesh and blood, He “might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people” (Hebrew 2:17).
- So that Christ might defeat Satan and free believers from sin’s power (Romans 6:6-7). It is in the destruction of Satan’s power that we are able to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). It is in Satan’s defeat that we are able to live victoriously in and for Christ.
God’s salvation does not require us to lay down our physical life for Him but God does ask us to die, spiritually, to the control which our flesh, the world and Satan exert upon us. The apostle Peter reaffirmed this thought in his letter to God’s elect.“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.” 1 Peter 4: 1-2 (NRSV)
How will you ready yourself for Resurrection Sunday? This year, we invite you to celebrate Lenten season by:
- renewing, reaffirming, or re-establishing your relationship with the Lord.
- emptying yourself of activities or behaviors that interfere with your ability to live a life set apart for the Lord.
- personally evaluate if you are living “sanctified and holy in the Lord”
May this special time with the Lord deepen your love and walk with Him.