The Gospel of Judas
How many of us have considered the gospel of Judas? What did he believe and do? We know his story. He was appointed by Jesus to be a disciple, even more was an apostle. He was designated as one of the foundational members to take the gospel to the world. He walked with Jesus for three years and shared in all Jesus did. He touched him and learned from him.
He learned from our master through daily interaction. Judas Iscariot was sent out to minister various times. He healed the sick and cast out demons. Judas was with Jesus when he was assaulted by the religious establishment and watched the Master’s miraculous works. He knew Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. There was no doubt for him; he abandoned all to follow Jesus. He believed in the Christ, walked with Him and knew Him. Yet he eventually perished under the crushing weight of his guilt without mercy.
Isn’t his gospel much like ours today? He is a lot like you and me isn’t he? We believe like he and we have been called and appointed as ministers of Christ. But unlike Judas, I’ve never healed the sick or cast out demons. He had quite a resume compared to many of ours. So what is the distinction between us and Judas? I hope there is.
Is the difference that he took money and delivered Jesus to the Pharisees? If one believes and sins are they damned? Why wasn’t Judas just forgiven? He believed in Jesus like us. The cross, the blood and the resurrection are powerful; through Jesus there is forgiveness for sin right? If it means a sin after believing in Jesus sends me and you to Hell, I recommend we buy fire retardant suits to be buried in just in case.
We can point to the Old Testament that calls Judas the Son of Perdition. Therefore we know he was destined from the beginning, before he was born, to betray Jesus and die as God’s enemy. Could he have been forgiven though? If he had repented after the fact do you think he had a chance? But, in a way he did repent, he remorsefully gave the money back to the Pharisees and hung himself. Wow that’s amazing contrition. But, I suspect Judas was never a true believer. He had a resume but lacked saving faith. I think that’s a fair conclusion.
But, if Judas’ gospel looks so much like ours where do we derive assurance? The book of 1 John gives this assurance of salvation to those it belongs and only to them. This assurance in meant only for those whom measure up to the distinctive characteristics of those with saving faith. This assurance is for them alone. In 1 John 2:3-4 he states;
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” NIV
This command is to love. I cringe writing this. I wish we had a different word for love. Well, it isn’t the word but its misuse that disturbs me. Everyone in their mind loves; everyone has a good heart by their own declaration. By this they believe they will be saved. By everyone’s personal belief in their proclamation of faith and their self-certain confession of loving sincerity, they feel that they are saved. Is that messed up our what? Merely by believing you truly believe you are saved? I do not think that in assurance but a disastrous presumption, a sweet dream turned nightmare.
You may say “Judas is not me, I’ve been chosen.” Wasn’t Judas personally appointed by Jesus? You may muse, “But I know Christ.” Have you kissed his cheek? If this is the matter Judas may be with us in Heaven. But no: No, not by mere howling conviction are we sons; not by a firm statement of allegiance but in truth only. Only in identity, by pure likeness in conviction can we claim oneness.
How does one know rain but by it’s a sheen on a raincoat or the Sun’s heat but by a warm back reflecting it’s glow. Flowers are not so by their proud announcement of fragrance. They aren’t flowers by their determined desire for beauty, but in their essence. This they proclaim without voice. As we are known by the bloom and fragrance of our love so we are Christians; the saved are love without carnal limits.