Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.

 
 
 

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3-30

True Fasting

Hi:

I have a question. How is the fasting that God accepts? Can you please explain for me? Thank you.

Manuel

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Hi Brother Manuel!

Thank you for writing.

God tells us in considerable detail the kind of fasting that he accepts in Isaiah 58. If you read that, you will notice that fasting is spiritual. Doing without physical food is not fasting; doing that is often just a case of one showing off his will power. Starving the body means no more to God than does water baptism, physical circumcision, holy days, special clothing for worship, or the physical of eating of bread and wine in Christian "communion suppers". Whatever is in the flesh in not in the Spirit.

Jesus was condemned by many in Israel for being a glutton and a drunkard in Matthew 11:19. They condemned him for not fasting because they were judging by what they saw with their physical eyes (Jn. 8:15). The kind of fast Jesus observed was invisible (Isa. 58). His food, he told his disciples on one occasion, was "to do the will of Him who sent me" (Jn. 4:32). One time, his disciples tried and failed to cast a particularly powerful demon from a young boy, but afterward, Jesus did cast that spirit out of him. Later, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Why couldn't we cast that spirit out?" Jesus explained to them that only by "prayer and fasting" could one cast out the kind of demon that possessed that little boy (Mt. 17:14-21).

So, Jesus fasted in the sight of God, in spite of his eating and drinking natural food. But because his kind of fast was in spirit and truth instead of the flesh, he was condemned by those who judged and lived in the flesh. They made a big show of their ability to fast from physical food, but they were eaten up with secret sin.

Everything in this New Covenant is in Spirit, Manuel, whether it is fasting, baptism, circumcision (Rom. 2:28-29), the Sabbath (Matt. 11:28), "communion", our clothes for worship (e. g. Isa. 61:3), or anything else. If it is in the flesh, it "profits nothing" (Jn. 6:63); if it is in the Spirit, it is eternal life.

Thanks for the question. Stay in touch.

Pastor John

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