Judas Shows Us Why the Doctrine of Election is So Important to Understand

Posted on April 25, 2017 in Theology by

Doctrine of GraceThe issue of election is one that every Christian must wrestle with. Our understanding of this critical doctrine will inform how we share Jesus with others and our view of God.

Judas was a devil.

That reality, captured in the words of Jesus in John 6 is a truth we need to understand. We cannot gloss over the fact that Jesus called a devil to be one of his disciples as it has a lesson concerning salvation we must learn.

Some would say that if we only make our churches cool enough, make them “inclusive,” or “approachable,” that people will come and will find Jesus. But this understanding of the Gospel and the purpose of the church is wrong. The Bible makes it clear that “no one seeks God.” (Rom. 3:11) Even more blunt than that is the truth that Jesus spoke when He told us “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” (John 6:44) In these verses we have clear teaching that no one is seeking God, no one is looking for salvation in Jesus. In fact, no one has the ability to “find Jesus” unless the Father first draws that person. And Judas is a perfect example of this truth.

Judas was a devil. And yet Jesus called him to be a disciple. Some might be tempted to think that Jesus did this because He believed He could convert Judas. We might be tempted to think that if only Judas spent enough time with Jesus and the disciples, he would see the light, have faith, an be saved. And yet, at the end of 3 years of walking with Jesus every day, Judas was a devil. Judas saw every miracle, he heard every word, and He watched the Son of God heal the sick, calm the storm, and raise the dead. And at the end of it all, Judas was a devil that died and went to hell.

This truth from scripture flies in the fact of our contemporary idea that if only people come to Jesus in the most loving, inclusive way, then they would believe and be saved. If only we could see past their sin and “show them Jesus” in their context. No one had a better view of Jesus than Judas. No one saw Jesus in his own context better than Judas. And yet Judas was a devil.

Jesus didn’t try to convert Judas because Jesus knew, before the foundation of the world (Rom. 8:29; Rev. 13:8) that Judas was a devil and would die a devil. If anyone had the ability to “lovingly convince” Judas to be saved it was Jesus. If anyone was going to “preach the Gospel with His life” to Judas, it was Jesus. The one person that could devise a culturally relevant way to contextualize the Gospel had to be Jesus. But He didn’t. Jesus knew that Judas would never be saved. No matter how many miracles He saw. Regardless of the lessons or the truth taught, Judas would never be saved.

In this one reality from Scripture our entire cultural understanding of evangelism, the Gospel, and salvation comes crumbling down. Judas proves that proximity to Jesus is not an indicator of salvation. Going to church doesn’t save. Reading the Bible doesn’t save. Living a good moral life doesn’t save. Judas is the proof we need to recognize the truth of election and how it applies to our life.

Someone might object by stating that Judas “made his choice.” I would agree. In fact, I would argue that it is precisely through a biblical understanding of election that we come to recognize that every person makes a choice. It is because I understand election properly that I realize that man indeed makes his choice, and his choice is always to reject Jesus. Always.

Consider this thought from John Hendryx:

“Man has a will and he makes voluntary choices. But, being fallen, when he hears the gospel he makes the wrong choice. He loves darkness too much, he hates the light and will not come into the light lest his deeds be exposed (John 3:19-20). He neither understands nor wants to understand because he thinks Jesus Christ is foolish (1 Cor. 2:14)…so predestination does not coerce anyone to sin and does not hold people back from life against their will. In it God reveals His affections to multitude of ill-deserving sinners and sets them aside for Himself in Christ, purchases them with His own blood and gathers them up through the gospel, which He germinates by His Holy Spirit in the hearts of His elect. Not because they are more righteous, but because of his sheer mercy. The rest He leaves to their own boasted “free will” which is really not free at all because they are willfully captive to sin and will not come to Him for life. Thus predestination is an act of mercy whereby in Christ God saves a multitude of sinners who would otherwise certainly be lost. Left to ourselves, we would all be without hope to be saved.”

What we see here is that man does in fact make his choice. And every time, without fail, man chooses to reject Jesus. This is consistent with Paul’s words in Romans that “no one seeks God,” and with Jesus’ teaching in John that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” The truth, though some deny it, is that it is impossible for any person to choose Jesus of his own will. That has never happened.

Man is hopelessly in bondage to his sin. Man’s will is forever bound by sin and will always choose sin over Jesus. For those that argue that man has a choice and is free to make his own decision, I agree. Man does have a choice and is free to make his own decision. Man’s choice is always sin and when given the freedom to make his choice man will always choose sin. As we learned from Paul, and from Jesus, without the effectual calling of the Father and the free gift of grace and faith (Eph. 2:8-9), no man has any hope of being saved.

The story of Judas brings the teachings of Paul and Jesus into focus for us. We see someone that lived with Jesus for 3 years and still rejected Him. Judas saw Jesus physically, saw Him bring the dead back to life and still chose to reject Jesus. He chose to reject Jesus because Judas was a devil. Devil’s are not elect, do not have the faith to trust Christ, and are not repentant. Judas made the same choice every person will make when left to his own “free will.”

Judas was a devil. Judas made the choice all devils make.

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