LENT: A TIME OF REDEMPTION
Vs 7-8 "For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury".
Lent is a time set apart for fasting and prayer, aiming at the transformation of the individual and the community in general. The major themes of these 40 days of fasting are sin and spiritual depravity of human beings; God’s initiatives for human redemption which culminated in the death of Jesus, God’s only begotten son on the cross; and the final redemption of human beings made possible through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The passage for our meditation begins with a warning, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself…” The use of the adverb ‘therefore’ makes it clear that Paul is here continuing what he was saying in the previous chapter. In chapter one, he explained how the fury of God’s wrath is going to come on the wicked people who are rebelling against God.
In this chapter a similar warning is given to those people who consider themselves as upright and make judgement on the wicked people. These are the people who justify themselves and think that they are righteous because they do good unlike the wicked ones. But Paul holds the view that, every one irrespective of their religious identity and moral standing are estranged from God (Rom. 3: 23) and can only be put right with God by His grace (3: 24).
Spiritual pride is a dangerous disease that can affect anyone in spiritual pursuit. As we fast, pray, and do charity during Lent, we may feel greater or holier than our fellow believers or non-believers. We may consider our spiritual expressions as pleasing to God or we may even think that we are spiritually in a much elevated place while others are still moving like worms on earth. The fact is that we cannot make ourselves holy because holiness is God’s attribute. When we are aware of our sins and repent, God will justify us by His grace. He will loosen our bonds and set us free from all kinds of slavery and will give us eternal life.
Lord, may our fasting and prayers teach us more about Your grace and instill in us a serious yearning for eternal life. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Hypocrisy obviates eternity
Rev. Abraham Scaria, Chicago MTC , IL
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church