Saturday, June 11, 2005
The Sin that Condemns  

In each of our lives there will come dark times. Times so bleak that we really are not sure how we will even consider what is the next step to be taken. Perhaps the worst of these times is the one for which we are the most responsible. It is not that events have happened, and we are trying to respond. Instead, we have made a choice which we expressed with our words or our deeds, and the result of our choice has been disastrous. In other words, we have put ourselves in the pit, and we are groping for the way out.

Judas found himself in such a spot. He who had been specifically chosen by our Lord to be one of the Twelve had made a conscious choice to betray our Lord to the religious authorities. Why had he decided to do this, is not necessarily clear. Of course, one theory is that he simply was not able to resist the payment of thirty pieces of silver. We know that he was greedy because Scripture records that he used to take from the band of disciples' money bag which had been entrusted to him. Others try to give Judas a more complex motivation by indicating that he acted in order to force our Lord's hand. The idea is that Judas wanted the kingdom of God to begin with Jesus' earthly overthrow of the Romans. If he placed Jesus in position where He must act, perhaps He would start the rebellion and give up this humble ministry of healing and preaching. This seems a bit contrived, but perhaps it does help us to understand that there might have been more to his thinking than simply a desire to get rich at the expense of our Lord.

Whatever the reason that Judas betrayed our Lord, he had done it. Following his evil action, his conscience begins to bother him, and he begins to realize what he has done. He has closely observed our Lord for three years. He knows that Jesus had done nothing wrong. Jesus certainly was not guilty of anything that deserved death.

Judas' response is to try to rid himself of the sin he has committed. He confesses rightly that he is guilty of betraying innocent blood (Mt. 27:4). He tries to clear himself by returning the money. However, this does not work to deal with his guilt, and he goes out and hangs himself. Why did this happen? Did he not confess his sin?

The problem is that Judas despaired. He did not believe that he could be forgiven for the grievous sin he had committed. It was not enough to recognize that he had betrayed Jesus who is perfectly innocent. He needed to have the hope that God would forgive Him of even this most abominable sin.

Similarly for us, we must not despair even when we have done what appears to be unforgivable. For when we despair, we believe that God's mercy cannot act in our lives. We place ourselves outside of the love that God longs to give us if we are willing to repent and trust that He will forgive us.

Otherwise we will have committed the sin that cannot be forgiven in this world or the next. That is the power of the free will that God has given us. We can choose not to believe in His infinite mercy. When we do so, we condemn ourselves. If you are not in despair now, it seems ridiculous that anyone would refuse such great mercy and forgiveness. The key seems to be not to forget His love when we feel least able to receive it.

Posted by David at 9:15 AM  |  Comments (0)  | 


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