A Lesson from Judas Iscariot’s Repentance

When Judas, His betrayer, saw that [Jesus] was condemned, [Judas was afflicted in mind and troubled for his former folly; and] with remorse [with little more than a selfish dread of the consequences] he brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, (Matthew 27:3 AMPC)

Repentance, as many related aspects of Christianity, can be in the flesh or by the Spirit; it can be nothing but an outward emotional outburst rather than a genuine change of heart prompted by the Spirit of God. 

Repentance is a change of heart when we sin against God or walk in a path away from Him. This change of heart is often, but not always, associated with an intense emotional response: regret, remorse, or sorrow. However, this sorrow could be motivated by other fleshly interests rather than genuine penitence towards God.  A classic example of empty emotional repentance was that of Judas Iscariot after betraying Jesus.

The Amplified Bible Classic translation of Matthew 27:3 is revealing. It says 

“[Judas was afflicted in mind and troubled for his former folly; and] with remorse [with little more than a selfish dread of the consequences]”… 

Judas was broken, not for his sins, but for the dread of the consequences. Paul calls this sort of repentance worldly sorrow (2 Corinthians 7:10). It seems true repentance is rare these days; in fact, repentance is almost a taboo word in some circles, yet it is a crucially important act in God’s sight.

Beware of fleshly repentance with its worldly emotional response.


When was the last time you repented? If it is too long, chances are high you are probably pilling up unconfessed sins.

Apply the Word

God loves a contrite and penitent heart. He knows we will sometimes sin as long as we are in this body of flesh. But what He detests is for us to sin and harden our hearts in our sin. He wants us to be like David: rent our hearts when we sin and turn away from the sin in genuine repentence.


Ask the Spirit to help you genuinely repent before Him whenever you sin.

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