My post yesterday titled, “A Charles Spurgeon prayer for lent” created some interesting dialog on the Facebook page. The voiced concerns were that Charles Spurgeon wouldn’t celebrate the season of Lent, at all. Many said they did some research and dug through his sermons but to no avail. I want to share with you what I found from different Spurgeon sermons.
Colossians 2:16. Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sab- bath. Do not let anybody come in and tell you that it is necessary for your salvation that you should abstain from this meat or that drink, that there is a merit in fasting for 40 days in Lent, or that you cannot be saved without observing such and such a holy day. Your salvation is in Christ! Keep to that and add nothing to this one Foundation which is once and for all laid in Him!
The Christ-Given Rest, Volume 39, Sermon #2298
For Christians, though they have long Lents, do have happy Easters! They may sometimes have forty days of fasting, but one day of such feasting as God’s children have is quite enough to make them forget all this and go fasting more forty days and yet not hunger! There are some days when God’s children are satisfied with fatness—and so satisfied that they have not only all that heart could wish, but their cup runs over and they can do nothing but sit down in astonishment, in a very repletion of satisfaction—content to sing and so to pour out their souls in gratitude before God! Oh, you who think that religion is a dull, dry, dreary thing, from where did you get this idea? Perhaps you have derived it from the Pharisee—it may be that you have acquired this falsehood from the hypocrite—but from the real Christian, I know that you have had very little that will lead to such a conclusion as that!A Door Of Hope, Volume 47, Sermon #2750
Come, then, and for your own good hang up the sackbut and take down the psaltery—put away the ashes! What if men call this season, “Lent”? We will keep no Lent, tonight—this is our Eastertide! Our Lord has risen from the dead and He is among us, and we will rejoice in Him! Come, Beloved, surely it is time that we did, for a while, at least, forget our pain, griefs and all the worries of this weary world and, for one, I must, I will, be glad and rejoice in my Lord—and I hope many of you will join with me in the happy occupation which will be helpful to yourselves.
Rejoicing And Remembering, Volume 42, Sermon #2461
I found a few more occasions where Spurgeon mentioned Lent, but these are the best. The short of it is this: No where that I’ve found says that Spurgeon said Lent was blasphemy, by any sort. Rather, Spurgeon will consistently emphasize that it’s not the legalistic(it might not be, but that’s how it’s often seen) act of Lent that produces salvation or any merit, but Jesus Christ. We should never add anything to that foundation, and if we do we are probably compromising the gospel. It’s not about Lent, it’s not about the 40 days, it’s about the risen Jesus Christ. That was his message he preached 150 years ago and it’s the same message we should preach today.
With that said, I think we can “do” the season of lent. More than that, I think pursuing holiness should be something we are always chasing after. We strive, work, pursue and obey from our position in Christ, rather than for our position in Christ. We are not saved by works (Lent), rather we are saved to good works. To quote the Reformation formula, “We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone”.