Some wonder why was Peter forgiven but Judas not forgiven when both disciples sinned against the Lord – one betrayed His Master and the other denied Him? The answer to this question lies in the fact that there is a great difference between the life of Peter and that of Judas. Let’s examine these lives:
This disciple led an obedient life to God. He was faithful to Him in every way. He lived by the principles of righteousness that Christ preached. And he was the one that acknowledged Christ as the Messiah (Matthew 16:16). And for this and many other reasons, he was among the three closest disciples to the Master. He, for example, was present when Christ raised the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37), witnessed the Transfiguration of Christ (Luke 9:28-36) and was with the Master at the night of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46).
What led to Peter’s denial of his Lord was his failure to watch and pray as Jesus instructed him during the last night in Gethsemane. As a result, Peter fell into sin (Matthew 26:41). But without delay, he repented of it (Matthew 26:75) with all of his heart and was forgiven and restored by God (John 21).
Peter proved his genuine repentance by his lifelong dedication to God as an apostle. After the resurrection, at the day of Pentecost, he was the main speaker to the crowds in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14). As a result, the church added about 3,000 new believers (verse 41). He, later on, preached boldly before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4) and continued in His God given mission in spite of the threats, imprisonment and beatings. Thus, he became a “pillar” of the early church (Galatians 2:9). Finally, he followed his Master unto death – the death of a martyr.
On the other hand, this disciple was not a faithful one during Christ’s ministry. For he stole money from the treasury box that was entrusted to his keeping. This money belonged to Jesus and the other disciples (John 12:6). In doing so, he repeatedly rejected the convictions of the Holy Spirit which led to the hardening of his heart against God. Henceforth, he became under the control of the evil one. “Then Satan entered Judas” (Luke 22:3). The Bible says, “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:29).
After his betrayal of Christ (Luke 22:48), Judas only confessed his sin because of his horrible guilt and not because he was truly sorry. The false repentance of Judas was like that of Esau. It consisted of remorse but didn’t include a change of heart. He had no basic transformation of character. In his case, his sin led to the horrible act of committing suicide. Thus, he added to his sin of betrayal the Lord an even greater sin of killing himself (Matthew 27:1-10).
In His service,
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