Tag Archives: recompense

What repentance Is Not #2038

3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” 5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3–5, NKJV)

Judas did several things that often pass for repentance today. Each one falls short of “repentance from dead works” that is an elementary principle of Christ and must not be confused with genuine repentance (Heb. 6:1). 1) Remorse is not repentance. Judas regretted that Jesus had been condemned. Regretting the outcome of our sin is not repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). Regretting unforeseen consequences caused by our sin does not mean we have changed our minds toward our sin. 2) Recompense is not repentance. Judas expressed his regret by returning the silver. Maybe he thought that would change the situation. Of course, it did not. We should, to the best of our ability, correct sinful wrongs we have committed. Repayment may salve the conscience but never address the intent and motives that led to sin in the first place. Repentance will do that (2 Cor. 7:11). 3) Reporting is not repentance. We can say, “I have sinned,” yet fail to have a contrite heart that changes before God and others (like Peter, whose bitter weeping led him to change his heart and life, Matt. 26:75). 4) Reciprocity is not repentance. Judas’ suicide was an act of despair. Repentance moves forward with faith and hope in Christ (1 Tim. 1:12-16).

A Fearful Thing #1639

30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30–31, NKJV)

The God we know is the same God who exacted punishment upon His people Israel when they turned away from God to serve themselves and the idols of the nations (Deuteronomy 32:35). Although God had richly blessed them, the nation “grew fat” and “forsook God” (Deuteronomy 32:15). This serves as a warning to Christians who convince themselves they are justified in “charting their own course” away from God – they will show God (and everyone else) who’s boss! Thus deceived, they forsake God’s word and God’s people for the pleasures of sin. Yet, in the end, God will vindicate Himself. With righteous vengeance, God will recompense those who forsake Him and spurn the spiritual blessings they previously received in Christ (Hebrews 10:26, 29). We will indeed reap what we sow, including Christians (Galatians 6:7-8). It is truly dreadful to contemplate the punishment that is justly prepared for those who sin willfully against Almighty God. Now is the time to repent of every sin, receive mercy from God, and live faithfully. When Judgment Day comes, the fearful expectation of fiery wrath will be the certain reality for all who forsake the Lord.