Now that Christ has come and has appeared among us—and especially now that he has completed his work of redemption—the occasion for fasting fades before us in light of our identity as a people who rejoice; for we are Christ’s bride, being redeemed by him and having a place at his everlasting wedding banquet.
These last days are not to be days of mourning but days of joy in our triumphant Lord Jesus Christ. In verses 16 and 17, Jesus gives two analogies to make this point: no one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment and a worse tear is made; and you shouldn’t put new wine into old wine skins, since the wine skin will burst, ruining both the wine and the wine skin itself.
Jesus’ basic point seems rather simple: You need to be careful about mixing the old and the new. Fasting belongs to the old ways. We are called to live in the light of Jesus’ coming. We are living not under the old covenant but under the new covenant. We cannot just take the old practices and try to incorporate them into the new and think they will mix and match without any conflict. Fasting, Jesus says, belongs to the old ways, and we do not want to go back to the old ways.
…Now you may want to fast as a form of protest, because you want the park to be open an hour longer at night, and that’s fine. If you want to fast because you think it will help you lose weight, that’s fine as well. But Christians do not ordinarily fast for spiritual reasons, because joy is what stands at the heart of the Christian life. The fruits of the Spirit are not love, grief, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; rather, the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
Even so, there may be extraordinary times in the life of the church when fasting is appropriate. In the book of Acts, the church fasted at a time when they were sending off missionaries to service, as well as a time when they were appointing elders in the church (Acts 13). There may be occasions when brief periods of fasting are appropriate. Read More»
David VanDrunen | “Should Christians Fast or Feast?” | July 28, 2022
- How To Subscribe To Heidelmedia
- The Heidelblog Resource Page
- Heidelmedia Resources
- The Ecumenical Creeds
- The Reformed Confessions
- The Heidelberg Catechism
- Recovering the Reformed Confession (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008)
- Why I Am A Christian
- Support Heidelmedia: use the donate button
- The Truth About Fasting
- Should Christians Practice Lent?
- What To Do With the Joy That Wells Up Within?