Judas (is an enigma)

There is no doubt that Judas is an enigma (a person of puzzling or contradictory character). It is not our place to sit in judgment of him since all judgment belongs to God. Yet, we can think upon his life and response to our Lord in order to receive some instructive lessons.

It is true that God determined in eternity past that His Son would come into the world to die at the appointed time. (Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 3:8-12).

It is also true that God holds those responsible who betrayed and crucified Him. Both of these great truths are brought together in one portion of Scripture (Acts 2:22-23). Now, we cannot argue with God, but He does not mind that we ask the hard questions. Sometimes, we must simply rest the issue with our knowledge of God’s character. He is both just and loving. He is perfect in all His ways. At times His ways and thoughts seem to go beyond our ability to comprehend. At such times we must simply wait on God to make His peace which passes understanding real to us in our dilemma.

God’s purpose in Christ was determined before there ever was a creation. Notice that the passage in Ephesians says that it was according to His eternal purpose. Peter emphasizes this same point in 1 Peter 1:20-21. Notice that Peter adds the great fact that God revealed Jesus Christ at a particular point in time so that our faith and hope could be in God. Isn’t that great! It is now through Christ that we are reconciled to God and made joint-heirs with Him. God has chosen us in Christ to be partakers of His heavenly blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1). Now, the question arises as to why some believe and are found in Christ and some disobey and are to be burned in a Lake of Fire. Obviously, those of us who believe have nothing to boast of, for salvation is according to His grace and not our works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:1-8; 10:1-4; Titus 3:3-5). Yet, His grace has appeared to all men (Titus 2:11). Why is it that some resist and insult the Spirit of grace? Why is it that some will not accept the Christ of God? Herein lies the great mystery of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. All is by God’s choice, yet man chooses. I, myself, have no easy answer for this revealed truth. Paul does not seek to explain it either in Romans 9–11. Rather, he simply affirms it and exhorts others to affirm it too.

Now, Judas had some great privileges while upon this earth, yet he was a greedy person who lacked any true love of Christ. He pictures any man who is left to himself, bound by sin and Satan. The grace of God appeared to him, but he chose to reject Jesus. In fact, he chose to betray our Lord by a kiss!, the height of hypocrisy. Judas was driven by his greed and the Adversary (John 6:70-71; 12:4-6; 13:26-27). The fact that Judas was controlled by the Enemy is proven by his fatal end as recorded in Matthew 27:3-5. His suicide proves that Satan still had him bound. The Lord in His sovereignty knew he would and, thus, the record was written prophetically even before the event occurred in time.

Satan is a liar and a murderer. Those who commit to him will share in his character and final judgment (Matthew 25:41; 1 John 3:10-15).

The choice of life in Jesus Christ is brought to man by the gracious and merciful God above, but man is left with the choice (John 5:39-40). On the other hand is the election of God (John 6:37). This is a great mystery (You can read the Captive’s Corner “The Sovereignty of God and the Responsibility of Man” for more information on this subject).

Further, even Christ referred to Judas as a friend when he came to betray him (Matthew 26:50).It is not God’s desire that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9). Ezekiel, a great prophet of God in the Old Testament, revealed that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but that the wicked should turn from their evil way and live (Ezekiel 33:11). God’s complaint is with Satan and those who choose to follow his evil ways, but His desire is to save all the children of Adam that will turn to Him for life. Judas is an example of any man who allows his lusts for things in this life to overrule his responsibility to repent and seek after the things of God’s kingdom. I believe we should feel sorry for the fact that Judas is lost forever. I also believe that our Lord is sorry as is evidenced by His love for the rich man who turned from Him in Mark 10:17-22 or His reaction to those in the city of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37-39. For God, judgment is a strange work for Him since He does not do so with pleasure (Isaiah 28:21-22). Normally, in God’s great wisdom, mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13) because of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary.

Now, according to Acts 1, David spoke of Judas in Psalm 69 and 109. David had his Judas in Ahithophel (2 Samuel 16:15). So, all was foreknown. I do not believe that we are ever instructed to hate or be angry at Judas. At the same time, I do not believe that the Scriptures say that God hardened his heart or the hearts of the others who crucified Him. Of course, all was according to God’s plan, yet the very death of His Son was the key to opening the way into heaven for all who repent and put their trust in Him. Judas was a thief, but then so was the man who hung next to Christ on the cross who turned to Christ in his dying moments and was assured of a place in His kingdom.

Judas felt remorse for what he had done, but he refused to approach the light in order to confess his sins. Rather, he returned to those who paid him to betray the Lord that purchased him. He found no forgiveness there. He would have found forgiveness in Jesus alone. Yet, he did not turn to Him (Matthew 27:3-5).

So, Judas made his choice. He will be held accountable for that choice. He is a picture of any man that God gives over to his own way (Romans 1:18-32). Notice that God does so because they have willfully turned away from the knowledge of God that was so graciously given to them. Judas and the men who crucified Christ were acting of their own wills and under the influence of the will of the Adversary of our souls. They are said to be lawless. Their end is just.

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