J.C.Ryle comments on Matthew 27:
We see, for another thing, in the end of Judas, that there is such a thing as repentance which is too late. We are told plainly that “Judas was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and other leaders.” We are even told that he went to the priests, and said, “I have sinned.” And yet it is clear that he did not repent unto salvation.
This is a point which deserves special attention. It is a common saying, “that it is never too late to repent.” The saying, no doubt, is true, if repentance be true; but unhappily late repentance is often not genuine. It is possible for a man to feel his sins, and be sorry for them–to be under strong convictions of guilt, and express deep remorse–to be pierced in conscience, and exhibit much distress of mind–and yet, for all this, not repent with his heart. Present danger, or the fear of death, may account for all his feelings, and the Holy Spirit may have done no work whatever in his soul.
Let us beware of trusting to a late repentance. “Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation.” ONE penitent thief was saved in the hour of death, that no man might despair, but ONLY ONE, that no man might presume. Let us put off nothing that concerns our souls, and above all not put off repentance, under the vain idea that it is a thing in our own power. The words of Solomon on this subject are very fearful. “I will not answer when they cry for help. Even though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.” (Prov. 1:28.)
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