I suppose to some Lenten fasting and repentence is actually a vain work and a denial that Christ’s work is finished. His justice and righteousness covers us letting God see the cleanliness of Christ instead of our sins. We can never truly be made clean. So practices such as this are wasteful and useless. It is a feel good exercise nothing more. The limit should be to ask for forgiveness for our sins. Anything else is extrabiblical and borders on idolatry.
On the contrary. The spirit of Lent is the spirit of Christ Crucified. Therefore, whatever enables us to better understand Christ's Passion and Death, and deepens our responsive love for His great love toward us should be fostered during the Lenten season.
We can never truly be made clean.
Of course we can! John 20:21-23
So practices such as this are wasteful and useless.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Our penance should strive to endure some pain in order to expiate the sinful pleasure that is always the substance of sin. This can take on a variety of forms, and no two people are the same in this matter. As an example, try renouncing television for 48 hours and devoting those hours to prayer, fasting and reading scripture. Most importantly, offer it up to God as repentance for your sins. You will be rewarded with a renewed strength of faith.
Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance. It is a season for reflection and taking stock. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days. All churches that have a continuous history extending before AD 1500 observe Lent. The ancient church that wrote, collected, canonized, and propagated the New Testament also observed Lent, believing it to be a commandment from the apostles.
Lent began in the apostolic era and was universal in the ancient church. For this reason, Lent is observed by the various Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, and Anglican denominations, by Roman Catholics, and by Eastern Orthodox Churches.
It is much easier to explain who stopped observing it and why.
In the 16th century, many Calvinists and Anabaptists discarded all Christian holy days, on the theory that they were Roman innovations. That was their best information at the time, but today we know that they were wrong. In the late 19th century, ancient Christian documents came to light. The Didache from the first century, the Apostolic Constitutions from the third century, and the diaries of Egeria of the fourth century; all which give evidence of the Christian calendar and holy days.