Lessons from Judas and Peter

Sins of Two of the Apostles

Fortunately we see only four prominent examples of the apostles sinning in scripture. This is a pretty good track record since we have 13 apostles living upwards of 60 years after Christ. I only count the original 12 and Paul, those chosen by Jesus, not Matthias who was chosen by lots.

Sin is defined as all unrighteousness as well as a willful transgression of a known law of God. It is the opposite, all that it contrary to the holiness God disposes upon us.

We will look at four records sins, one from Judas and three from Peter.

Judas conspired to commit the murder of Jesus. He did not repent from this sin and turn back to God.  As a result, he perished.

This one is pretty cut and dried since he was prophesied to betray Christ long before it happened.

And I said unto them, If ye think good,

give me my price; and if not, forbear.

So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 

And the Lord said unto me,

Cast it unto the potter:

a goodly price that I was prised at of them.

And I took the thirty pieces of silver,

and cast them to the potter

in the house of the Lord. 

~ Zechariah 11:12-13.


Yea, mine own familiar friend,

in whom I trusted,

which did eat of my bread,

hath lifted up his heel against me.

~ Psalm 41:9.

We know that Peter sinned three times. Twice before the Holy Spirit came upon him at Pentecost and once after. These three examples are very instructive to the Christian.

It shows us that even the greatest disciples can fall and we can sin after maturing and living for God for many years. Initial salvation does not negate the possibility of falling back into willful sin or even perdition.

It also shows us that sin can be persistent problem requiring a level of diligence and fervent clinging to God if we are to prevent the practice of sinning over again and again which leads to not being truly repentant of our sins.

This should change how we live as Christians. The change that repentance brings cannot truly become real unless we allow God to have His way in all our ways.

Here is the first account of Peter’s willful transgression.

Now Peter sat without in the palace:

and a damsel came unto him, saying,

Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 

But he denied before them all, saying,

I know not what thou sayest. 

And when he was gone out into the porch,

another maid saw him,

and said unto them that were there,

This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 

And again he denied with an oath,

I do not know the man. 

And after a while came unto him

they that stood by, and said to Peter,

Surely thou also art one of them;

for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 

Then began he to curse and to swear,

saying, I know not the man.

~ Matthew 26:69-74.

Not only did Peter lie three times that he knew not Jesus, he also cursed and swore an oath. These are all willful and known laws of God for the Jew.

Peter lied because he did not want to suffer persecution from others but we are exhorted to expect persecution as a follower of Christ. We should never sin to avoid it.


and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus

shall suffer persecution.

~ 2 Timothy 3:12.

Do you lie in thought, word, or deed or seek to avoid persecution? Worse yet, do you lie as a habit?

There is freedom from the tyranny of this sin (and all others) if you seek Him with all your strength.

Peter’s second willful transgression . . .

And he saith unto them,

But whom say ye that I am?

And Peter answereth and saith unto him,

Thou art the Christ. 

And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 

And he began to teach them,

that the Son of man must suffer many things,

and be rejected of the elders,

and of the chief priests,

and scribes,

and be killed,

and after three days rise again. 

And he spake that saying openly.

And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 

But when he had turned about

and looked on his disciples,

he rebuked Peter, saying,

Get thee behind me, Satan:

for thou savourest not the things that be of God,

but the things that be of men.

What was Peter’s sin? Loving the things in the world, which is a form of idolatry; another well-known law of God. This can happen to us through the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, or pride of life.

If any man come to me,

and hate not his father, and mother, and wife,

and children, and brethren, and sisters,

yea, and his own life also,

he cannot be my disciple.

~ Luke 14:26.

So likewise, whosoever he be of you

that forsaketh not all that he hath,

he cannot be my disciple.

~ Luke 14:22

Peter had to learn a hard lesson. Unfortunately, he did not do that it until much later in life; approximately 15 years later.

God wants to revive our heart and make it like His; Pure and free from the desire to sin unto unrighteousness.

We as Christians are called to submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and savour the things that be of Him.

And whosoever doth not bear his cross,

and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

~ Luke 14:27

We cannot and do not want to do this in our sinful nature. We naturally want to sin against God. Only a soul broken, contrite, and sacrificed can have this genuine desire taken away and replaced with a heart of Christ.

Christ died for us; so we should to be dead to the sin.

When we repent and turn from sin, the Holy Spirit will quicken us in truth, righteousness, and everlasting life.

Peter’s third willful transgression happened after Pentecost . . .

But when Peter was come to Antioch,

I withstood him to the face,

because he was to be blamed. 

For before that certain came from James,

he did eat with the Gentiles:

but when they were come,

he withdrew and separated himself,

fearing them which were of the circumcision. 

And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him;

insomuch that Barnabas also

was carried away with their dissimulation. 

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly

according to the truth of the gospel,

I said unto Peter before them all,

If thou, being a Jew,

livest after the manner of Gentiles,

and not as do the Jews,

why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

~ Galatians 2:11-14.

Peter was a respecter of persons transgressing the royal law of loving our neighbor as ourselves. He was living in hypocrisy.

This sin brings with it repercussions to those around us as does all forms of disobedience.

It also brings with it eternal punishment if we fail to repent, remain in sin, and disobedience to God.

Here is one example of a sin that is linked to eternal judgment. I now fear forsaking God by disobeying this command.

. . . not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,

as the manner of some is;

but exhorting one another:

and so much the more,

as ye see the day approaching.

For if we sin wilfully

after that we have received the knowledge of the truth,

there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 

but a certain fearful

looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,

which shall devour the adversaries

~ Hebrews 10:25-27.

Likewise, when we live in holiness, this affects others too and is very pleasing to God. It matters not if those around us are displeased or offended by our obedience.

What matters is that we are seeking to please God and obeying the royal commandments rather than pleasing others by advocating or tacitly approving worldly iniquity in order to keep or seek others’ approval.

That was Peter’s sin. Is it yours?

When our spiritual leaders sin, we are often led into sin by their thoughts, words, and deeds. That is why it is so important to find a church that does not tolerate or teach any acceptance of sin inside or outside the church.

What should the church from the top down teach us? To fulfill the whole law and the prophets.

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture,

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

but if ye have respect to persons,

ye commit sin,

and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

~ James 2:8-9.

And every man that hath this hope in him

purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Whosoever committeth sin

transgresseth also the law:

for sin is the transgression of the law.

And ye know that he was manifested

to take away our sins;

and in him is no sin.

.~ 1 John 3:3-5.

Have you let your hope in Him purify your soul? Have you let Him truly take away your sins? Are you in a church that can foster this process. You will not find this in any large mega-church or in most smaller churches, but in little, little flocks that preach biblical holiness in love. At least this has been my experience for 30 years.

For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast,

and every transgression and disobedience

received a just recompence of reward; 

how shall we escape,

if we neglect so great salvation; 

~ Hebrews 2:2-3.

Like the prodigal son God seeks to make you holy.

‘clothes me with the garments of salvation,

he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,

and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.’

~ Isaiah  61:10.

Will you let Him make you holy, keep you from sin?

Do you yearn to be free indeed?

Free to love others as yourself?

Free to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength?

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