The Word For Wednesday: Godly Sorrow to Repentance

"For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." ~ 2 Corinthians 7: 11 This week, I'd like to talk about godly sorrow. Some people think that when they feel sorry for their sins, that this is godly sorrow; but it is usually condemnation or guilt, because godly sorrow produces repentance. And that is what I'd like to talk about today. I apologize for the length of this post, but I assure you all that it is well worth the read; take it in small bites if you'd like! Let me know what you think! The literal translation of this Scripture is as follows: "For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what diligence (haste) it wrought in you, yea, what excuse (separation), yea, what displeasure, yea, what alarm, yea, what earnestness (yearning), yea, what jealousy (to the point of boiling over), yea, what retributions! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clean in this matter." Here's NKJ version: "For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter." Interestingly, the first thing that Paul says this godly sorrow produces is diligence. 2 Peter 1:5-11 states, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Here, Peter tells us to "add" to our faith a list of things. This word means " to furnish besides, i.e. fully supply, (figuratively) aid or contribute:--add, minister (nourishment, unto)." In other words, when you are adding to your faith, you are supplying it with the tools that it needs to stay activated! The first thing that we are to do is be diligent. The word diligence, here, has the same meaning as carefulness; it means: ""speed", i.e. (by implication) despatch, eagerness, earnestness:--business, (earnest) care(-fulness), diligence, forwardness, haste." Proverbs 1:15-16 states, "My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood." The word "make haste" means "properly, to be liquid or flow easily; make speed." So this is the bad side to the definition. Isaiah 59:7-8 reinterates this: "Their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, And there is no justice in their ways; They have made themselves crooked paths; Whoever takes that way shall not know peace." So here, we see that to run to evil is to make haste -- when we do not know justice or peace, this is when we have made haste in the wrong direction! There is an interesting correlation between these verses and our opening passage: Paul said that the Corinthians were sorry to the point of making hast to fix the problem; yet here, we have an example of those who did not repent, but rather swiftly ran to evil! We can learn something from this: just as the wicked man "goes with the flow with haste," so we should be following God with haste. I believe that Zacchaeus' story makes a good point of this (see Luke 19): "And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully." Zacchaeus "made haste" to come and follow Jesus to his own house. He had previously been making haste in the wrong direction -- he was a tax collector who cheated every person he'd ever taxed! And it should be mentioned that the Jews HATED tax collectors for this reason! (This is why Matthew's Gospel is so credible. Matthew was a hated tax collector; if this had been a made up story, no one would have used a tax collector -- they would have chosen someone honorable that everybody liked!) Regardless, Zacchaeus joyfully received Jesus into his home. Jesus said, "Today, salvation has come to this house..." Why? "For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost." The interesting connection here is that we are talking about godly sorrow to repentance; and in this story, Zacchaeus felt convicted enough to change his ways and publicly announce it! Like the Corinthians, Zacchaeus demonstrated that he was clean in the matter by giving half of all his goods to the poor and repaying each person he cheated with four times as much as he stole! It is important to note that Zacchaeus didn't just announce that he had changed and make no effort whatsoever to demonstrate it; rather, he hastily turned around -- he repented! The next tool which we are to supply to our faith is virtue. What is virtue? It is "manliness (valor), i.e. excellence (intrinsic or attributed):--praise, virtue." In other words, it is "moral excellence." Philippians 4:8 states, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." So how do we "think" on virtuous things? 1 Peter 2 gives us a clue: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." The word "praises" in this passage has the same Greek meaning as the word "virtue," and one of virtue's meanings is "praise"; therefore, putting the two previous passages together, we learn that to think on things virtuous is to be praising the Lord! Most people think that to praise the Lord you must say, "Praise the Lord," or "Hallelujah." While these things are great to say if you say it from your heart, that is not what praising the Lord means. So how do we praise the Lord? Hebrews 13:15 tell us, "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." So we see that to praise the Lord is to thank Him. This is spoken of throughout the Scriptures, particularly the Psalms: "I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34). Psalm 100:4 reinterates this: "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 states, "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." It is the will of God that we be thankful! And this doesn't just mean that when everything is going right we thank the Lord; it also means that we stand on His promises (found in his Word) when things are going wrong: "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God" (Ps 42:11 ). Being thankful is how we add virtue to our faith. And it should be mentioned that when you are giving thanks, it is so much easier to turn around if you realize that you are going the wrong way. It does not always mean that you will feel happy; in fact, the Corinthians were sorrowful -- but that led them to repentance! When you are speaking the Word of God like this, it is easier for God to show you were you are "missing it," because you are hiding His Words in your heart. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." It is through the Word of God that we equip ourselves -- this is how we add to our faith! Think about it: How can we know what to praise the Lord for if we are not looking into His Word to find out? Next comes knowledge. This one is quite simple; for it obvious that we obtain it through the Word of God. Solomon begins his Proverbs with these words: "To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." How do we get instructions from God? Through His manual, His Word! In John 1:1, Jesus is called the "Word made flesh," and in 1 Cor 1:30 Paul says that Jesus is our wisdom. Why is wisdom so important? Because wisdom comes from knowledge; if we do not have wisdom, we are lacking knowledge in that area. Notice that this Proverbs states that fools despise wisdom and instruction; if we do not spend time in the Word of God, we will not grow in our knowledge, because we didn't read the manual to see how life works. Consequently, we are then despising God's instructions! Solomon expounds on this point later in the chapter by saying, "Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil." As I said before, if we do not have knowledge, we cannot have virtue, for we do not know what to praise God for! Once we have the knowledge that is found in God's Word, we can easily see where we need to change things; the Bible is pretty clear on the "does and don'ts." However, it is not enough to merely possess this knowledge; it is what we do with it that matters: "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22) The Corinthians took the exhortation from Paul and ACTED on it -- they got rid of the sin, even though it didn't feel all that comfortable to do so: "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11) The next step is temperance, or self-control. We all know Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." So how do we control ourselves? The very next verse tells us, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." By walking in the Spirit, "we put to death the deeds of the body." I could go on and on about walking in the Spirit, since it's a topic that has taken on special significance for me recently. However, suffice it to say that walking in the spirit does not mean that we have to strive in our own power to not be a bad person; rather, we do our part, and the Holy Spirit takes over -- we fall on His grace, His strength which is sufficient in our weakness. This enables us to walk in His Spirit, so that we will not carry out the desires of the flesh: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). That's why Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is our Helper: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26). However, in order to obtain this Spirit, it is necessary to read the Word of God, and stay there; how can the Spirit bring anything to our remembrance if we aren't putting it in to begin with? Again, this is why the knowledge of the Word is so important! Also, if we do not have self-control, when someone tells us that we are sinning, we are likely to throw a fit or become bitter -- "How dare they say those things to me! I'm okay! I can't believe them!" Possessing self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, so we need to stay in the Word of God till we get it; otherwise, it will be impossible for us to not walk in the flesh. In other words, we can be sorry all we want, but there will be no change if we do not have the Holy Spirit and his fruit, one of which is self-control. Paul told the Corinthians, "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do." (Romans 7:15) Paul went on to say that it was only through Christ Jesus that He could overcome, and then he immediately talks about the Spirit versus the flesh. To summarize this section, having self-control enables us to walk in the Spirit and not carry out the desires of the flesh; but it is important to remember that self-control is a fruit of the spirit -- if we do not possess the Spirit, we do not have self-control or any of the other fruits of the Spirit; and if we do not have the Spirit, the Bible says, "We are not His." I don't know about you, but that is enough to get me to change my ways, as the Corinthians did! Next, we move on to patience. We know that Galatians 5 also speaks of patience in the list of the fruits of the spirit. Therefore, Luke 8:15 states, "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." The word patience, as it is used in this passage, means "cheerful (hopeful) endurance." This is why Romans 5:2-5 states, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." In other words, patience involves hope: "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it" (Romans 8:24-25). It is important that we remember that hope is not simply wishful thinking; rather, it is expectancy "that what He had promised, He was able also to perform." If we are to really believe this, we must have patience -- we may not see the answer right away, but we have faith in God, we hope in God, and we have patience until we see it come to pass. "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise" (Hebrews 10:36 ). "That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12). You should notice two things from these two passages: First, if we have patience, we do the will of God. We receive the promise, because not only are we doing, but we are also speaking (virtue) and patiently waiting as we expect the Lord to bring to pass the promise. Secondly, we are to follow the examples of the believers who believed, patiently waited, and received the promise. How can we follow their examples, how can we believe, if we do not know the Word of God? This is why knowledge is such an integral part of the process to growing our faith! The flip-side to this is that God is very patient with us; the Bible states, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) God's nature is to be patient with us so that we can repent, so we can be patient with the people around us -- particularly those who are sinning; we need to continue to sow the Word of God into their lives, and rebuke them if necessary, but never give up on them (unless the Lord specifically directs), because God never gave up on us! The Corinthians removed the evil person from among them -- demonstrating that they were clean in the matter -- but Paul also admonished them to not treat him as an enemy but as a brother. Why? Because if we treat him as an enemy, we might cause him to slip farther into his sin, but we want him to repent! I am not saying that we should get involved in the sins of others -- NOT AT ALL! In fact, the Scriptures tell us not to share in others sins, and admonishes us to get rid of our own! That is why we are to be patient with others; we are humans, too; and we need to remember that should God speak to us to repent of something, we need to do it straightaway! "You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand." (James 5:8 ) Next up is godliness. Interestingly, right before Peter mentions the list of tools to add to our faith, he says, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue..." (2 Peter 1:3) In other words, we obtain godliness through the knowledge of God! Jesus stated in John 3:35, "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand." And God loves us as much as He loves Jesus: "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love," and "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." (John 15:9, John 17:26) Therefore, JESUS HAS GIVEN ALL OF THIS TO US! Romans 8:17 says, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." In Ephesians 1:22-23 we read, "And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." We obtain "all things that pertain to life and godliness" through the knowledge of the Word of God! Do you know what this means? It means that if we stay rooted in the Word of God, we have EVERYTHING we need to win the battle, to empower our faith, because we have His power! This is why David said in Psalm 119:28 "Strengthen me according to Your Word." Again, we see that knowledge is key! This is also why, later on, Peter says, "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." See, if we have godly sorrow, it will produce repentance in us, because we have everything that we need to keep our faith strong! There is no excuse! If we don't produce repentence, we have the sorrow of the world that produces death. The last two on the list are perhaps the most important: brotherly kindness and love. They both go hand in hand. Here's how: "And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also," and "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him" (1 John 4:21, 1 John 5:1). In other words, when we love God, we love people -- His people, no matter who they are. And it all climaxes with this statement: "But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him" (1Corinthians 8:3 ). Why? Because God is love. If we know love, we keep His commandments (see John 14:15, 21). This would include what Jesus called the two greatest commandments: "Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength." This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." There is no other commandment greater than these.'" (Mark 12:29-31). And when we truly love, we have faith in God. Romans 5:5 states, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." If that love is shed abroad in our hearts, we have no fear! Therefore, we will reach out to others with the love of God, regardless of how we feel, how we or they look, etc. -- "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.... Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 20) This is why it is so important that we stay in God's Word; that is where we get the faith to overcome any and all circumstances: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17) Colossians 2:2 states, "that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Here again, we see that the knowledge of the Word of God is important. If we love, we are known by God; if God knows us, it is evident that we know Him -- He is love, so if we love Him, we love His people, too. To summarize, let's look at 1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." I pointed out all of that to lead up to this passage: "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." (2 Corinthians 7:9-10) Remember, we began by talking about godly sorrow -- true repentance. When we have all of the above things added to our faith, it will be so much easier to turn around when we realize that we have been going the wrong way. So, I noticed something about this Scripture when I was re-reading it, and that is this: a few verses later when Paul is talking about the Corinthians' warm reception to Titus, he says, "And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him." Repentance literally means "a turning around," but this Scripture seems to clarify that repentance is OBEDIENCE to God! Think about it: the Corinthians had been reprimanded by Paul and they immediately took the approach of being so sorry to repentance that they took care of this sin straightaway -- now THAT is obedience! How many of us would sit around and mope all day because someone pointed out a sin in our lives that needed to be uprooted? Yet the Corithians did not do that; they obeyed the words that were spoken to them by Paul! Hebrews 12:11 states, "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." There is also the temptation to get bitter when we are reprimanded; How could so-and-so do this to us? Yet Hebrews 12 also says (vs 14-15), "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled..." In other words, when you are reprimanded for a sin, it is because God wants you to be holy. If you are not holy, you have fallen short of His grace and will not see Him! This is why Hebrews 12:3-6 states, "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." God knows that it is hard for us to hear a reprimanding (because we, as humans, are prideful), so He made sure to let us know that if we are chastened and we obey to repentance, we will produce the good fruit of righteousness. We already looked at the good example of Zacchaeus' repentance, but there is also a bad example; remember, Paul said that the sorrow of the world produces death (just as it says in Proverbs 1). This could be literal, as was the case of Judas. The Bible states, "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, saying, 'I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.' And they said, 'What is that to us? You see to it!' Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself." See, Judas was sorry for what he did, but it was guilt, not true repentance. If Judas had truly repented, he might not have hanged himself, and he might have sought out a way to make things right. He obviously didn't think of all the times when he was with Jesus that He had forgiven people of the worst sins! Additionally, Judas sought to fix the symptom rather than the real problem; getting rid of the betrayal money didn't fix his sinful heart! What he should have done was gotten rid of that money and truly repented! Think of the ramifications of that: Judas could have been numbered with the twelve apostles; yet Acts records the gruesome details of his guilt-ridden suicide and the person who replaced him in apostleship! And this all started because of Judas' love of money. John records, "Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 'Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?' This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it" (John 12:4-6). The Scriptures say, "The love of money is a root of all evil" (1 Timothy 6:10). (Interestingly, people try to twist this Scripture to say, "Money is the root of all evil," when in fact, it says that the LOVE of money is evil!) Most people think that Jesus did not reprimand Judas for his love of money. This would also imply that Judas did not repent because he never knew that what he was doing was wrong. However, right after Judas criticized Mary, Jesus said to Him, "'Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.'" Jesus was telling Judas to quit bothering Mary, but it seems that this last statement was added on as a reprimanding: "For the poor you have always, but Me you do not have always." In other words, Jesus knew that Judas cared nothing about the poor -- He knew Judas' real motive -- so He said, "The poor are always going to be with you, but I'm not going to be." Additionally, Jesus said of Judas, "'Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?' He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve." But what is really interesting is that just before this, Jesus said, "'But there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, 'Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.'" Jesus knew Judas' motives. For one, he did not really believe (and the Scriptures make it perfectly clear that unbelief is disobedience). Romans 5:13 states, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Judas could have heard Jesus words all he wanted, but as long as he didn't believe, nothing was going to change: "but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it." (Hebrews 4:2) Interestingly, though, Jesus also implied that Judas was allowed to be with Him because God allowed it (remember, Jesus said, "They were Yours [the Father's], You gave them to Me, and none of them is lost except the son of perdition."). In addition, Judas sat at Jesus feet for His three years of ministry; he knew what was right and what was wrong - he had a choice, but he made the wrong decision. God gave him plenty of time to repent, but his greed led him the wrong way. This is why the Scriptures say that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth; He is longsuffering over them, giving them plenty of time to get it right (see 2 Peter 3:9). (Notice here, that, as we've been saying, knowledge is very important.) Judas was a lot like the seed sown on the thorny ground: "Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." This is exactly what happened to Judas! And it is precisely why the Scriptures state, "But afterward it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness to those who are trained by it." In other words, Judas did not really take to heart what Jesus taught Him; if he had, he would have produced godly fruit. Instead, he became unfruitful. I hope you can see without me having to point it out, that Judas did not add to his faith. He let whatever faith -- if any -- that he had grow stagnant. Jesus gave Judas so many opportunities to repent, yet he didn't do it! When Jesus called Judas a devil, it was a rebuke that was not meant to drive him away, but to get him thinking -- to lead him to repentance; yet Judas completely ignored/rejected it -- and he "ate of the fruit of his own fancies," as a result. He let his imagination get the better of him -- that if I just do this, I'll be rich, and Jesus will free Himself. He was shortsighted to blindness; hence, he did not receive forgiveness (and I do believe that if people are not forgiven, it is not that God did not forgive them, but that they did not RECEIVE forgiveness - they did not take the necessary steps to repentance, and therefore did not receive forgiveness). The interesting thing is that God used Judas rebellion to bring about salvation for the world! But I do think that we can all agree that we'd rather that God used our obedience instead -- that obedience which leads us to true repentance! John 3:15 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." 1 Timothy2:4 "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."


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