Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Does God know the outcome of our temptations beforehand? When the Lord told St. Peter that he will deny him 3 times, does it mean that He knows the details of what is going to happen in the future? He knew that all of the disciples will run away, "All of you will be suspicious at that night because it is written: ‘Hit the Shepherd, and the sheep will disperse.’" (Matthew 26:30). Probably He knows because He is aware of the strength of our spirits, and if my spirit is attached to him or not? He knew that St. Peter is not strong enough now to succeed in this temptation.

Judas regretted his betrayal. He let go of his greediness and his love for money, but it seems he never realized he is valuable to God, and he never knew God's love for him. Was this the reason that he committed suicide? Was he so earthly? With seeing all the miracles and feeding the thousands and listening to the teachings: "Let your treasures be in heaven, where your heart should be" (Matthew 6:21), he kept his focus on acquiring money. It just surprises me that he reached this level of sadness and returned the money, but he didn't run to his master asking nor asked for forgiveness, nor wept under His feet on the cross confessing his mistakes. Is it accurate to say that not knowing his real value led to his destruction? The real value of a person is in his relationship with God, and so the objective of repentance is being with God again. It is not getting rid of the sin's burden or satisfying certain laws. Judas did not return to God again. The worst thing about the sin is that it is against God, and unless I return to God again, I did not repent yet.

God knows the outcome of our temptations beforehand because Almighty God is Omniscient, having infinite knowledge. The Holy Spirit in us is our advocate at all times especially in our struggles and temptations. He is God and He desires to renew and restore us. Restoration is the main objective of repentance. The parable of the "Lost Son" first illustrated repentance, then return, then restoration. St. Peter's remorseful tears illustrated his repentance. He returned with the disciples and was among the first group to examine the empty tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ. While Judas separated himself and wallowed in shame and guilt, St. Peter remembered his sin and Christ's compassionate forewarning. Thus, with sorrow, he offered repentance. After the Holy Resurrection, the Lord confirmed St. Peter's restoration when three times He asked Him, "Do you love Me?" He then commissioned him to care for His sheep. Not only did Christ accept St. Peter's repentance, but He assured him that his priesthood was also renewed and restored.

Faintheartedness is fruitless self-pity and pride gone awry. This sin was Judas' pitfall which led him into hopeless despair. Therefore, the absolution prayed by the priest after confession includes any and all sins including those resulting from faintheartedness. If one becomes so ashamed of his sins that he does not repent, fully trusting in God's love and willingness to forgive him, then he will sink further into discouragement and become trapped by despair. If we were of no value to Christ, He would not have suffered in this manner in order to redeem us. Each person in this world, from the time of our father Adam to the last child to be born before the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, is of extreme value to God, for which He gladly paid the price by His ultimate sacrifice of love.
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