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Day 34 | Fasting & the Gospel
Don Whitney is one of the foremost authors and thinkers in world today on the topic of Spiritual Disciplines. His book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life is a must read. The following is an excerpt written by Dr. Whitney. The entirety of the article can be found here: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/the-discipline-of-fasting/
Fasting and the Gospel
Another misconception about fasting occurs when people fail to associate it with the gospel. The most egregious version of this is the belief that fasting can impress God enough that He will open the door of heaven for those who deny themselves in this way. That, of course, implies that the life and death of Jesus are unnecessary (“Why repent and trust in Jesus? Just fast a little and heaven is yours.”), which is the greatest possible insult to the Father. Neither fasting nor anything else we could do — no matter how painful, self-sacrificial, or unselfish — can atone for our sins and reconcile us to God. Only Jesus, who offered Himself as a sinless sacrifice to bring others to God, can do that.
But it is also possible for genuine Christians to fast but fail to associate their fast with the gospel. They may fast simply in an effort to get things from God. In the New Testament, however, fasting is related to the spread of the gospel or the fruit of the gospel. Similarly, New Testament believers today should fast in a way connected with the spread of the message of Jesus or fast as those who are the servants of Jesus.
So a Christian might fast, for example, and connect it with prayer for missionary labors, for the Sunday morning sermon, or for his witness to a friend. He might fast with prayer primarily for a personal concern, but rest his confidence that God will answer, not on the basis of his abstention from food, but on the fact that he fasted and prayed in the name of Jesus.
So the error on one side is failing to fast at all, and on the other, fasting with confidence in the work of fasting rather than in the work of Christ.
As you fast this week, remember the truth of the gospel that your only acceptance is the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
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