From the Pulpit...

Mark 14, Part 3

Audio from August 18, 2018 PM | Matt Postiff | Mark 14:35-72
Posted August 20, 2018 | Length: 00:51:22 | File size in bytes: 9246096

After the reading of 1 Samuel 16 by one of our young men, we studied the latter half of Mark 14. We saw again anticipation of the Lord's physical and spiritual suffering, and Peter's denial of the Lord.

We had some interaction on a number of things, and notably on the difference between Peter's bitter weeping, which represented a true godly repentance, and Judas' regret, which fell short of true Biblical repentance as demonstrated by his subsequent behavior. This behavior included his taking of his own life.

Allow me to expand upon this point. The first thing we should consider about this is that Judas did not have a godly repentance. We know this because the Lord said that Judas had the "greater sin" (John 19:11). That sin was not his subsequent actions, but the betrayal itself--what I referred to as the "worse" sin in the audio (at about 48:25). Furthermore, the Lord said that it would have been better for that man not to be born (Mark 14:21). So, despite his recognition of sin, and his returning of the blood money, and his remorse, he was not handling the sin properly. And that brings us to the second point.

The second thing we should consider is that the fruit of this regret was Judas' suicide. He committed another sin instead of handling his grief properly. His suicide was not atoning; it was a poor way to direct his moral feelings about the sin he had done. He did not bear fruit worthy of repentance. The only one who can take care of sin is God through Christ. Nothing in our hands we can bring, and nothing with our hands can we do, to "pay" for our sins.

In this, let us be clear that we are not condemning someone who has committed or attempted to commit suicide. We can say objectively that this kind of behavior is wrong, because murdering a person, even yourself, is morally wrong in God's sight. I did NOT say, nor ever would say, that suicide is an unforgivable sin, or one that proves someone to be an unbeliever. I cannot make a blanket statement about the spiritual state of such a person, good or bad. Instead, I have the greatest compassion toward those who are in such despair as to be contemplating the taking of their own life. If you are in that situation, rest assured there is help for you--with the Lord, with the church, and with the medical community. I wholeheartedly believe that the sin of attempting suicide is forgivable. Even the sin of actually succeeding is forgivable, but of course that is for someone who is a true believer in Christ. Call out for help to any friend, family member, acquaintance, church member, or any other person you know.

The third thing is a practical application of the idea of true repentance. True repentance is not a formula or something that can be just "said." It is something that is deeply felt. The feeling is not the repentance--make sure to know that. But true repentance cannot be an emotionless, mechanical, "I'm sorry" like you did to your brother after your parents made you apologize because you did something mean to him. We need to look for, and try to develop as much as we can in ourselves and in our children, a true heart of repentance.

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