when judah and his brothers came to joseph’s house, he was still there. they fell before him to the ground. joseph said to them, “what deed is this that you have done? do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?” and judah said, “what shall we say to my lord? what shall we speak? or how can we clear ourselves? God has found out the guilt of your servants; behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we and he also in whose hand the cup has been found.” but he said, “far be it from me that i should do so! only the man in whose hand the cup was found shall be my servant. but as for you, go up in peace to your father.” [genesis 44:14-17]


the cost of repentance


our forgiveness for our sin was bought with a price, and comes at no cost to us, but turning from our sin has a cost. 

in this text, we see the beginnings of the evidence of judah’s repentance, as he steps up to share in the plight of his youngest brother at his own expense—the opposite of what he did to joseph so many years ago. 

what cost are you willing to pay in order to walk in repentance?

in our flesh, repentance is hard. admitting to ourselves we have sinned and need to ask forgiveness is hard, and admitting it to God is often harder. admitting it to our fellow believers is often harder still. if stepping forward in repentance means allowing yourself to be humbled publicly, are you willing to accept that? if stepping forward in repentance means giving up some of your freedom, are you willing to accept that? if it means removing yourself from a job, friendship, or position of authority that you like, are you willing to accept that? what would not be worth giving up in order to be obedient in repentance?

“therefore i tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

-Jesus (luke 7:47)

the cost of living in repentance will only be viewed rightly as our understanding of the cost Jesus paid is viewed rightly: he paid the highest cost, to pay what we could never afford—he, the only one who had no debt to pay! as our thankfulness for what Jesus did grows, the cost of repentance, no matter how steep, seems to shrink. how could i, who deserve death for what i have done, be stingy toward my Lord and Savior in my willingness to pay the cost of repentance?

Lord, remind us that we have been forgiven much, and may that truth allow repentance to grow in our hearts. no cost we pay will ever compare to that which you paid; help us to view all sufferings and consequences in this life in perspective to your finished work on the cross! we believe; help us in our unbelief!

~ stephen hall