Atonement · Forgiveness · Jesus · Justice

Two Options to Pay for Your Sin

A Study of Judas and Peter

The stories of Judas and Peter are way more similar than we might think. Both rejected Christ leading up to the cross. Judas did so through betrayal, and Peter through denial (both stories are found in Matthew 26-27).

While both men turned on Jesus, there is a huge difference between the two. The question is not if they rejected Christ, because they both did, but how did they respond to the guilt of their sin?

Judas attempted to pay for his own sin. After selling out Jesus, Judas realized he had committed a grave sin and ended up taking His own life. Why? Because He knew sin had to be punished, so he paid for it by taking his own life. 

Peter had a different story. Like Judas, Peter sinned and felt guilt. In fact, Matthew 26:75 says that after he denied Jesus the third time, “he went out and wept bitterly.” Why? Because he knew his sin was great and he was remorseful.

The difference with Peter was that instead of running away from Jesus, he ran to Him. Unlike Judas who attempted to pay for his own sins, Peter looked to Jesus to pay for his sins. In John 21:7 Peter hustled back to Jesus after  His  resurrection. Jesus restored him, and Peter became a great evangelist for Jesus.

Our sins are like the sins of Judas and Peter. They all have to be paid for.  Who is going to pay for them? Will they be paid for by  us, or by Jesus? Will we run from God and pay for our own sins, or run to God who can pay for them?

Scripture teaches that everyone who sins, which is all of us, is already condemned (John 3:18). This means that if we are not saved, if we don’t repent, if we don’t believe, we will pay for our sins and pay for all of them. These sins will be paid for in Hell.

Scripture also teaches that if you have faith in Christ, you can avoid condemnation (John 3:18). Justice is still required. Your sins still need to be paid for.  Either they will be paid for on the cross by Jesus, or  by you in Hell. In God’s cosmos, all sins are paid for because Justice is always served. How will justice be served for you?

When you sin, who do you run to to fix things? Do you punish yourself, or do you accept the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Christ on the cross? Do you think you can pay for your sins, or do you run to Jesus with them? He already paid the price and offers you a free gift of forgiveness.

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