“God does not want to redeem us through our own, but through external, righteousness and wisdom; not through one that comes from us and grows in us, but through one that comes from outside; not through one that originates here on earth, but through one that comes from heaven. Therefore, we must be taught a righteousness that comes from the outside and is foreign.” –Martin Luther (LW, 25: 136)
Lent is a dangerous time. It can bring out the enthusiast in us all.
The enthusiast shifts the focus of Lent to himself. His own death to sin looms larger than Christ’s. The enthusiast celebrates Lent in himself rather than in Christ.
Where will you celebrate Lent this year?
No doubt, the enthusiast is fervent. He is earnest. He is sincere. But he is only playing dead. That’s all Lent in me can ever be.
Jesus, on the other hand, was really dead. His was the real death to sin. His was the real Lent. Lent really happened in Him.
The enthusiast in us hates that kind of Lent: Lent extra nos, Lent outside us, Lent in Christ.
But in Christ there is real death to, and for sin –His death for us and His life for us. That’s Lent.