At the LCMS Lenten service today, the pastor preached about Judas, who betrayed Jesus. The pastor said that Jesus bore our sins of betrayal and our failure to live up to our obligations to people on the cross. Judas, however, tried to solve his guilt problem by himself, by returning the thirty pieces of silver that he was paid to betray Jesus. The result, of course, was disastrous, since Judas committed suicide. By contrast, Peter, who had denied Jesus, was restored by Jesus himself.
The pastor said that Jesus atoned for our sins, but that does not necessarily mean that our relationships with people will be as they were prior to the sins. People’s impressions of us may remain the same. He referred to the view that, when James in James 1:6-8 refers to a double-minded man who is unstable in all of his ways, James has in mind Peter, particularly Peter’s denial of Jesus. Peter could not live down the betrayal, according to this view. I don’t know. James says that a double-minded man will not receive anything from the Lord. Would James say that about Peter, a man whose ministry God blessed?