Fat Tuesday and Fleshly Fasting

Justin Johnson

“… some shall depart from the faith… forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” – 1 Timothy 4:1-3

Some have departed from the faith.

Only the priests can administer sacraments in both the Eastern and Western Catholic Church. Both have required fasts and forbid anyone receiving Holy Orders to marry (CCC 1580).

The Eastern Orthodox teaches a fast of meat, eggs, dairy products, fish, and oil. Thus, last Thursday was Paczki Day, where delicious creme filled paczki’s are made to eat all the eggs, dairy, and oil before the Great Fast coming up in the Spring.

The Roman Catholics forbid eating meat on Fridays during Lent, and so McDonalds invented the Fish Filet to accommodate their fish-eating fasting practice.

This Tuesday is known as Pancake Tuesday in other places for the same reason. More popular in America is the French name given to the celebration of eating all the foods forbidden during the 40 day fast: Mardi Gras, which is translated Fat Tuesday.

Of course, all religions that teach fasting and abstinence claim to do so for spiritual reasons as a means to bring their flesh into submission. So, does this mean that when they are not fasting or when they they’re married the flesh is running wild? This is what is implied and is the lesson learned from practitioners of religion.

That is what happens in New Orleans every year the day before the “Great Fast”: an orgy of food, flesh, and fornication.

Even Protestants, Pentecostals, and evangelicals jump on the religious fasting bandwagon teaching that it can boost your spiritual growth, bring you closer to God, and increase the Spirit’s power in your life. This is a departure from the faith, and rejects the work of Christ on the cross.

The Cross and the Flesh

Paul teaches a more excellent way than religious abstinence and fasting. He says that God created food to be received with thanksgiving of them that believe and know the truth.

All food is to be received, just as all sinners are reconciled to God and are offered free salvation. All food is received with thanksgiving, just as salvation to sinners is not received by our works, but by God’s grace.

According to the truth of the mystery of Christ, we learn that fasting does nothing to sanctify our flesh. It is merely putting chains on the same old man who can’t wait to burst out with an Easter Ham when the fast is over, and who will pleasure himself as much as he can before the Fast.

Our flesh does not need chains it needs a cross.

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” – Galatians 5:24

By the grace of God, we are crucified with Christ, and we should reckon our old man dead, and our bodies alive to Jesus Christ.

If fasting and abstinence of the flesh is required to grow closer to the Lord, then Christ is dead in vain, and our crucifixion in Christ profits us nothing (Gal 2:20; Gal 5:4). Religion feeds the self-righteous old man by starving the body. Grace reckons the old man dead with Christ with its affections and lusts.

“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, Touch not; taste not; handle not;” – Col 2:20-21

Fasting and forbidding to marry is contrary to the gospel of Christ and the grace of God in this dispensation. They that believe and know the truth of Christ know this (1 Tim 4:3).

You can feed the flesh with sinful indulgence, or with religious works. Both will be practiced this week among those who do not believe or know the truth.

There is no righteousness in the gluttony of sins that occurs before religious fasts. There is no truth in forbidding to marry and to abstain from meats. Christ is rejected by both.

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Published: February 14, 2015
Last Modified: August 15, 2018
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