Judas would seem like some kind of hero, one who played a major role in the salvation of man being that by his betrayal of Jesus, Jesus was crucified and the salvation of man was established. Does this mean Judas carried out ministry? Does this mean Judas would somehow be saved?
“For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” – Matthew 26:24 NLT
What is worse than that statement “… It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”? I believe part of what Jesus meant by this statement wasn’t necessarily his eternal damnation but also because he will forever be known as a betrayer, one whose name will become synonymous to a traitor.
Judas had a choice
While the death of Jesus needed to happen, it didn’t have to be Judas if he never wanted to involve himself. Judas was not anointed or called by God to betray Jesus, it was not some kind of ministry for him and just because the death of Jesus was prophesied and ordained does not in any way mean that Judas was working for God.
Whatever Judas did was entirely his choice, he wasn’t under any kind of influence, it wasn’t the spirit of God moving him… No, not at all! He had a choice to either be part of it or not. God never chose Judas to betray Jesus, it was a choice Judas made himself.
Just because betraying Jesus was very important to salvation doesn’t mean Judas is a kind of hero. He made his choice and his choice fit into God’s script. Yet, his choices destroyed him.
Jesus already knew Judas would betray him, he had gone into the future of Judas to see what manner of man he was and he had seen the wickedness of Judas and how it can benefit him. Jesus didn’t leave Judas without an opportunity and warning to repent.
“While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it.” – Matthew 26:21, 25 NLT
Even before Judas conceived it in his heart, Jesus had brought what was hidden to light. It was an opportunity for Judas to straighten his crooked ways.
Judas wasn’t a believer
While it would seem that Judas followed Jesus throughout his ministry, worked miracles with the disciples and even had an exalted position as the treasurer, Judas was not a believer in Christ Jesus.
It is easy to miss this truth just because we know he has been following Jesus but we have to know that at some point the disciples were following Jesus not because they knew who he was or what his mission was about.
In Mark 8:29 after Jesus asked, “who do you say I am?” Peter answered that he is the Messiah not because he knew but because he got it by revelation. These were men who have been following Jesus but they didn’t know who he was, they still needed some sort of revelation to know.
Judas had followed Jesus, Judas had worked miracles, Judas had a transitory faith but he never had saving faith. This means that one could be in Church, admire what we do, replicate some things we do and still not be saved! Jesus said:
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.)” – John 6:63-64 NLT
Judas didn’t believe, the Bible is very clear on this. When Peter said, “We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.” Judas was the exception
as Jesus continued “I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil.” – John 6:70 NLT
Jesus wouldn’t have called a believer the devil, Jesus would not have directly likened Judas to the devil if Judas was not working for the devil.
Is Judas saved?
We must rely on the scripture for answers. While the Bible did not explicitly said if Judas was a believer or not, we know that he wasn’t a believer or saved by what the scripture says. Jesus only chose Judas as one of his disciples just because of who Judas was. Judas became the Devil’s tool.
I do not think that Judas would have been used by the Devil if he held on to Jesus, the rebellion of his heart was a gateway for the Devil to enter him and he would commit suicide later. This suicide was not because of repentance, it was more about ego!
If Judas believed in Jesus, he wouldn’t commit suicide, he would rather live for Jesus just like Peter who denied Jesus. For Judas, it was all about him, all about what people would say, all about how his fellow disciples would see him.
“For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT
Judas was not in any way worse than Paul, had he sought for mercy, he would have received mercy but his own choices destroyed him. Paul persecuted the Church but when he repented, he gave himself over to service and contributed immensely to the formation of the early Church. Judas would have been as great as Paul if he believed in Jesus and his salvation.
Jesus never considered Judas as part of the fold. He described Judas as one headed for destruction while maintaining that none of those God gave to him was lost. Let’s read:
“During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.” – John 17:12 NLT
Jesus said, “not one was lost…” This means that Judas wasn’t considered part of the fold in the first place. Jesus tells us why “…except the one headed for destruction, as the scriptures foretold.”
Judas made a choice, not some heroic choice but a destructive one. He didn’t only make the wrong choice, he walked in unbelief and chose to end it all by himself.