Considering today is Ash Wednesday, I really thought of addressing the issue of repentance with Roman Catholics who either regard me as a "separated brethren" or a "heretic". I always find Lent to be the season to be hypocritical, to make sober of one's faces, the best time to be judgmental and the best time to brag in false humility. For the sake of Roman Catholic readers, I will start quoting from the Good News Translation (GNT) which is commonly used by Roman Catholics as opposed to the Calvinist translated King James Bible (KJB).
The Catholic definition of repentance is:
"Voluntary sorrow because it offends God, for having done something wrong, together with the resolve to amend one's conduct by taking the necessary means to avoid the occasions of sin. To repent is to be sorry for sin with self-condemnation. (Etym. Latin repoenitere, to be very sorry, regret intensely.)"
It is true that repentance is all about being sorry for sin but there is a difference between repenting of one's sin and the result of repenting of one's sin. The Greek for repentance is metanoneia which is a change in mind which results to a change in purpose. A changed life does not mean you have repented, it can be a sham but a genuinely changed life comes out of a genuine repentance. The whole idea of lighting candles, offering vain repetitive prayers, walking while kneeling, praying the Rosary and going to the confessional are not repentance. It is a false kind of repentance confused with penance because a lot of people do religious works to make up for their misdeeds then they repeat the same sins, then they do religious works again. A true repentance makes a person sin less and less while a false repentance makes a person sin more and more.
Colossians 2:16-19 in the GNT says:
"So let no one make rules about what you eat or drink or about holy days or the New Moon Festival or the Sabbath. All such things are only a shadow of things in the future; the reality is Christ. Do not allow yourselves to be condemned by anyone who claims to be superior because of special visions and who insists on false humility and the worship of angels. For no reason at all, such people are all puffed up by their human way of thinking and have stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body. Under Christ's control the whole body is nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God wants it to grow."
The Roman Catholic system tends to lean on judging about what to eat or drink. It reminded me that after I became a Christian and I ate meat during Lent, I was soon condemned for doing so. I have tried receiving comments from Roman Catholic priests who claim they are superior because of these "special visions". While they claim not to worship angels but by praying to them, they are actually exhibiting the worship of angels. The whole playing on latria and dulia is nothing more than confusion to the speaker. Their system has nothing but false humility because while fasting and abstinence are indeed noble deeds but to advertise it in public then condemning others is committing the sin of hypocrisy.
1 Timothy 4:1-5 in the GNT also says:
"The Spirit says clearly that some people will abandon the faith in later times; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons. Such teachings are spread by deceitful liars, whose consciences are dead, as if burnt with a hot iron. Such people teach that it is wrong to marry and to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten, after a prayer of thanks, by those who are believers and have come to know the truth. Everything that God has created is good; nothing is to be rejected, but everything is to be received with a prayer of thanks, because the Word of God and the prayer make it acceptable to God."
The idea of commanding people to abstain from certain foods for religious reasons as a form of legalism is a doctrine of demons. We can understand if the doctor commands you not to eat certain types of meat for health reasons (ex. rabies producing animals like dogs, cats and monkeys) but to tell people they will burn in Hell if they eat meat on Lent is not biblical. What is worse is that many Roman Catholics even dare to brag about their abstinence in social media to trumpet their abstinence aside from the dirty ash on their foreheads. They are quick to condemn people who have been seen eating a burger instead of a vegetarian or fish meal on that day. That is nothing more than false humility rooted in so much pride and sheer hypocrisy.
You can go ahead and throw ashes unto your head but have not any real repentance. 1 Kings 21:29 says, "Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Since he has done this, I will not bring disaster on him during his lifetime; it will be during his son's lifetime that I will bring disaster on Ahab's family." Ahab went ahead and did some sackcloth and mourning but the next chapter proves he was not truly repentant of his unbelief. Many people today have used ritualism in the place of genuine repentance. People end up trusting in religious rituals that cannot take away sins over the loving Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who is the only one who can by grace bring a changed life towards all who He had saved.