Wednesday, April 23, 2008

FAITH QUESTION - Did Judas go to Hell?

Question from Craig in New York

FAITH QUESTION: Did Judas go to Hell?

Judas, of course, was one of the original twelve Apostles and the one who betrayed Jesus to the Temple's authorities for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16). Although the Apostles later discovered that he had been stealing money all along (John 12:6), from the biblical evidence it seems that during Jesus' three years of ministry few suspected Judas of being morally bankrupt. Yet, Scripture clearly teaches that Judas was (1) never truly converted to Jesus and (2) never truly repented of his sin.

Even though Judas was with Jesus and the other disciples from the very beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry, the Bible clearly records that he never truly believed in the saving message of the Gospel. John 6:64 says "'But there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him." Only a few verses later, Judas is identified as one of these "non-believers" who would eventually betray the Messiah (see John 76:70-71). Scripture also firmly teaches that Jesus fully knew who would betray him. John 13:11 ominously states, "For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean." John 17:11 uses strong language when it refers to Judas as the "son of perdition", a biblical term for one who will receive ultimate judgment from God. Though he feigned obedience to Christ, Judas was a fake. He used pious language and seemed to be "Christian" externally, but inwardly he never gave his heart and life to Christ.

Scripture also tells us that although Judas regretted his decision, he never truly turned from his evil ways towards God. Note the follow passage from Matthew 27:3-5: "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.' They said, 'What is that to us? See to it yourself.' And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself." True biblical repentance is not only a turning "away from" sin, but also a turn "toward" God. It involves a complete change of lifestyle. One may regret one's crimes without ever really becoming a better person. The Apostle Paul speaks of something similar to this when he writes, "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death" (2 Corinthians 7:10). Judas certainly regretted his action, but in a worldly way that lead only to death--both physical and spiritual. Judas not only died physically when he committed suicide, but he also died spiritually when he refused to submit his life to Christ. As such, he was condemned eternally to Hell.

The clearest indication of what happened to Judas after his suicide comes from the lips of Jesus himself. He says, "...but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born" (Mark 14:21). Jesus clearly did not think that Judas would spend eternity in Heaven. Whatever judgment was waiting for him was severe and horrible. Hebrews 10:31 tells us that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God". By rejecting Christ as Messiah, it is into those hands of wrath that he fell.
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Questions for Pastor Josh can be submitted via Email. "Faith Questions" is a feature in the monthly newsletter of Indian River Baptist Church. This blog republishes those Questions, along with others not selected for print publication.

3 comments:

  1. Did Judas go to hell?
    Interesting discussion, I note that the 12 were really, really clueless, of who Jesus was even after the crucifixion, so I cannot say that Judas was less of a believer.
    This is a good simely though of saved Christian today who think there salvation is assured when it is not.
    Any of the disciples if they would have died around the time of the crucifixion would not have been saved, even though they walked with Jesus. I liken Paul Washers sermon on the cost of being a Christian to this discussion.

    Though I think we forget sometimes that even though we are saved, we will face judgment.

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  2. John 17:12, Jesus clearly states that the son of perdition which is to be damned by eternal punishment is Judas. Judas was the only exception when Jesus was praying for the disciples.

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