Matt McMillian, used with permission
“Then one of the Twelve, the one called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests”
It’s shocking to me how we like to decide who’s saved and who isn’t saved based on someone’s actions, attitudes, and outward appearances. We, created beings, have the tendency to determine the salvation of an individual in lieu of a life of church work and servitude, or habitual wrongdoing and that “big” sin.
Paul warned the Romans about doing this when he wrote, “Don’t say who will ascend or descend; if you’ve believed in Jesus you will be saved” (see Romans 10:6-9). Yet so many of the “committed” don’t like this. They want to be God. Those words won’t come out of their mouths, but they judge others and determine people’s salvation by way of their own opinion on top of a semi-grace interpretation of specific biblical passages.
Nobody has ever been more judged in human history, in regard to their eternal security, than Judas Iscariot. Hitler, maybe? But Judas had a 1,900-year head start.
Judas is also the poster boy for the legalist to hang up on their wall, point to and say, “Look! Judas is proof you can lose your salvation!”
Why though? Why do we get to make this determination? Is it because he betrayed Jesus? Does Christ no longer keep saved those who betray Him in word and deed? I don’t see that anywhere in Scripture. In fact, I see the opposite.
For a long time, I personally said, “No, Judas was not saved,” but I’ve had to repent of this notion. Who am I to say whether or not he was saved? Who am I to make this claim? I’m clay. I’m not the Potter. The reality is, had I been there on the night Jesus was arrested I could very well be the one who forsook Him with a kiss.
I am a human being. Fallible. So was Judas.
“Wrong, Matt! Judas was chosen by God for that role! He was hand-selected to be damned to hell!”
So is God now choosing to damn people to hell before they’re created? Where’s the free will involved with such a theology? I thought God’s desire is that nobody should perish? (See 2 Peter 3:9). Judas doesn’t count?
Just because God can see the future doesn’t mean He’s controlling those whom He’s created. He’s not bound by time, we are (see 2 Peter 3:8).
For many years I thought Judas wasn’t a Christian because both Luke and John said Satan entered him (see Luke 22:3, John 13:2). However, keep in mind, this was before Pentecost so the enemy still had this right. After Pentecost, the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit would never allow any demonic force to enter a child of God again. We are sealed up forever protected by Him! (See Ephesians 1:13, 1 John 5:18).
Some will say Christ Himself announced that Judas was doomed, based on John 17:12, “He’s the son of perdition, Matt! Judas was fated for destruction!”
But I don’t think it’s so cut and dry. Pay close attention to what I’ve underlined:
“While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)
This simply says he was lost from the group of disciples, not from Christ. In context, that’s who Jesus is praying for. Why did Judas drop out? So Scripture would be fulfilled. It doesn’t say he didn’t get saved at some point. And what is the destruction? Is it him or is it what he did? Messiah doesn’t say. It’s not there so we can’t assume. My opinion is this: we should lean toward grace and the love of God in such a situation. Also, if you want to say Acts 1 proves he’s in hell, that’s not true either. I go over that passage in the prayer at the end of this devotional.
What most promise keepers won’t focus on is after Judas conducted the most diabolical backstabbing in history, he repented, or at least it appeared that way according to Matthew:
Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” (See Matthew 27:3-4)
He repented. He changed his mind. He claimed Jesus was innocent and that he was a sinner. Is this not enough to be saved?
The person who’s fixated on how well-behaved they are will shout, “It’s clear, Matt! Read your Bible! Jesus even said woe to the one who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better if they weren’t even born!” (See Matthew 26:24).
But friend, is that not you? Is that not me? Have we not all betrayed Him? Yes, we have.
Lastly, in his great turmoil, Judas killed himself. Why would his desertion of Jesus bother him to the point of suicide if he wasn’t saved? Wouldn’t you think he’d be celebrating with Satan instead of dealing with such guilt?
Some believe that killing yourself is unforgivable, but that’s not true. We aren’t saved by our ability to overcome severe depression, a permanent poor choice, or mental illness. We are saved by the life of Christ (see Hebrews 7:25). He doesn’t leave us in our darkest hour, He’s right there with us pleading to just give it more time…but many Christians think the pain will never end. They accept the lie of the enemy, one last time.
The passage from 1 John 5 in regard to the sin leading to death isn’t suicide, it’s unbelief. Unbelief in Christ’s forgiveness is the only sin we cannot pray someone out of. They remain spiritually dead. Therefore we shouldn’t beg God to make others believe. He won’t do that. He never has. Instead we should pray for more opportunities which will influence them toward faith in Jesus.
So today, my friends, know this: Was Judas saved? I don’t know. I sure hope he was. I’d like to meet him one day and talk about the things he saw as he walked with the Savior of the world. Not everything was recorded in Scripture so I know he’d have some good stories to tell.
A prayer for you: Dear Jesus, I know it could’ve easily been me who betrayed you that night. I know you’re a God of mercy and you loved Judas. You CHOSE him to follow you. So whatever you’ve decided, I trust you. You are never wrong. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Acts 1:24-25 says you know the heart of every man, and when Judas was replaced he went to be where he belongs. This Scripture isn’t clear about where that place is, but in my soul, I want to believe he went on to be with you. I know your grace abounds, not just for those who believed in you back then, but for today as well. There’s no sin too big and no betrayal too strong which can possibly overpower your never-ending love for us. Amen.
This devotional is from The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Get your copy here!