How could Judas Have Followed Jesus And...

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Question: How could Judas Iscariot have followed Jesus for so long, and yet betrayed Him and ended up in hell?

Answer: The most Biblical way to approach answering your question is to give a two-sided answer. So, let us carefully consider Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” First, we understand that “the secret things belong to the LORD our God” is an obvious reference to God’s ultimate plan and Sovereign role in Judas’ descent into hell (Please read and meditate carefully upon the following verses to grasp this truth: Luke 6:16; John 6:70; Genesis 18:25; Deuteronomy 32:4; Proverbs 16:4, 25:2; Acts 2:22-23, 4:27-28). Christ was not surprised by Judas’ betrayal (John 17:12). God was in control of all of the details surrounding the death of His Son, however, Judas was held fully culpable for this great sin -- “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” (Luke 22:22). Sadly, betrayal is nothing new among professing believers of any period in church history, including our own (Psalm 41:9; 55:12-15).

Next, we consider the latter part of Deuteronomy 29:29, “…but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” Before going much further, let me soberly remind you that Judas’ daily relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ spanned a period of three years and included eating and drinking with Him, being personally trained and sent forth to preach and perform miracles by Him (Matthew 10:4-11), walking many hundreds or possibly thousands of miles with Him, sleeping near Him, and hearing every one of His sermons and observing every one of His miracles from a front row seat! Yet, Judas gradually and ultimately betrayed Christ, the Son of God. How could this happen? Judas was a sinner -- a sinner who was a follower of Christ.  When the pressure of life closed in on him, he was found to be a “false” believer (Matthew 7:21-23; 13:22). This is why, in reference to people leaving the local group of believers, the apostle John wrote, “they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

Finally, many churchless as well as church-attending professing believers believe that a mere “profession of faith” or “mental assent of belief” in Jesus is all that God expects from them for eternal life … but the demons meet that requirement! Know this assuredly -- a dead faith will not save you (James 2:17-19)! The Scripture teaches us that Judas’ descent into hell began with an insatiable love of the world, material things, and in particular, money. We see this in his being troubled over Mary using expensive perfume on Jesus and in his evil habit of pilfering money from Jesus and the apostles’ money bag (John 12:1-6). Finally, we see it in the deal He cut with the chief priests to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-16). Judas clearly loved mammon (or money) more than God (Matthew 6:24). This is what finally claimed the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18-30) and Demas (2 Timothy 4:10), and it is what will finally claim us, if we are lovers of money. “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

So then, let us remember 2 Timothy 2:19 which says, “But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’” And may we never forget these final words from the apostle Peter: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire … Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall...” (2 Peter 1:3-11).

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