Friday, December 4, 2009

Belated Repentance

"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders." (Matthew 27:3)

I'm quite sure Judas had not thought it would come to this. We can know this because when he realized Jesus was actually going to be condemned, he "repented himself." Perhaps he had thought by bringing Jesus to this confrontation, he could force His hand, so to speak; and He would be obliged to vehemently press His Kingdom rights, thereby vindicating all those who had followed Him. Instead, Jesus was going to die, along with all Judas' hopes for political promotion. And, regrettably, he had been the instrument of His betrayal. And, as we know, his repentance, as sincere and severe as it seemed, was too little, too late.

Here again, we have an example of the awful seriousness of some decisions. We see them as merely precipitating immediate results; but, in reality, they are often the catalyst for unwanted—and worse, yet—irreparable consequences. It is safe to say, I think, that people who postpone repentance until they are backed in a corner, lack the genuine change of heart that repentance requires. This may not always be the case, but often enough to deflect much challenge. Think of Esau (Heb. 12:17). Those who opt for "one more night with the frogs," as Pharaoh did in Exodus 8:9-10, show more tolerance for "frogs" (i.e., sin) than desire for change.

Before we make a decision to embark on a course away from God and righteousness, thinking it will only be a temporary detour from the path of obedience, should first ask ourselves this: "Can I picture myself doing this, or in this situation, a few years from now...without regret or shame?" If not, I shouldn't be in this picture at all. Because, like Judas, our regret may be, well nigh, more than we can live with.

If delayed obedience is disobedience, what is delayed repentance?

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