Lenten Honesty


What are you giving up for Lent? Wouldn't it be nice if we could answer, "sin"?

But we are like Paul, who confessed, "For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it" (Rom 7:18 CSB). 

So maybe that's our starting point as we step into Lent. No matter how well meaning, unrealistic ambition gets us nowhere. We have to start with honesty.

We may have washed off last night’s ashes, but the symbol remains. Our bodies will soon return to dust and the presence of sin remains in our broken world and in our hearts. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom 7:24)

Paul is honest about our condition. But thankfully he doesn’t stop there. He pivots to give thanks to God through Christ (Rom 7:25), declaring, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).

How? While we are powerless to change our condition, God is not powerless. What we couldn’t do, he did. “He condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering” (Rom 8:3).

Lent is a season of contrasts. Sin and repentance. Renewal and life. We must be honest about our sinful condition, but this honesty does not wallow in death. Like Paul, we must look beyond to the new reality that is ours in Christ.

“Now if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you” (Rom 8:10-11).

Let’s be honest. This is shockingly good news for those of us returning to dust. In Christ we have died. In Christ we have been made alive.

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