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Millstones, Judas Iscariot, and the little ones

16 Feb

Thanks be to God that the Church is called to administer the His Word and Sacraments – and not millstones.  With relief, we leave that job to God, in the mystery of His Providence.  The Church does things like judge (like your dentist judges) – and sometimes even “hands members over to Satan” (!) – only so that they may be saved – to turn from their sin to Christ and His forgiveness, life, and salvation.  In fact, we are told that God desires all people to be saved (I Tim 2:4, II Peter 3:9, Romans 11:32).

But when it comes to this salvation, what about Judas, one of the 12 disciples – chosen by Christ Himself (see John 6:70,71)?

That this is such a common question should not surprise, given his very tragic and sad story…

Lutherans believe that God’s Word is “efficacious“, meaning He creates faith in the hearts of people when and where He pleases.  But, one may ask, if He really desires *all* people to be saved, why did God allow Judas, whom He chose, to damn himself?  Why did He not turn him again (presuming Judas at some point believed), as He did, for example, King David?  After all, one may argue, if I have no intention of acting to prevent a murderer from utterly deceiving, maiming and destroying the one I say I love – or if I have no intention of acting to save the one I say I love after they have destroyed themselves – when I am the only one who has the power to do so – what kind of lover would I be? (see I Cor. 13 here)

Really now, if Judas really was truly sorrowful and broken by his sins (“I have betrayed an innocent man!”) – as he certainly appeared to be – why did God allow those to whom he confessed to say “that’s your problem” (i.e. “its not our burden” – see Gal. 6:2)?  And if none of those who sat in “Moses’ seat” (Mathew 23) were willing to lift a finger to offer Judas any words of comfort, why did the Lord not save Judas like he did Paul – by perhaps at least sending an angel?

Ah, the mysteries of God, who yes, really does desire all men – even the one Jesus called “a devil” – to be saved.  In one sense, such questions: “Why are some saved and not others?”, cannot be answered.  We can say that God gets all the glory when someone is saved, and that a man gets all the blame when he is not – but that is about all we can say with certainty.  This is commonly called the “crux theologorum“, or the cross of the theologian.

But still, as ones who follow the One who said “Father forgive them….” must we not wonder about – and mourn for – this man, who God created in His image?  Why… why then did God not just turn Judas to Himself – creating faith in him where and when He pleased?  (like He restored Peter or converted Paul, the persecutor?)

I tread lightly here, but I suspect it is because God means for us to see Judas as a sign against spiritual apathy.  When we sin, it is God’s Spirit who turns us again, convicting us, breaking us, and leading us to Christ (see John 16).  We would not do this apart from Him.  And yet – we dare not presume on such kindness and grace… God may not renew.  While God’s redeeming grace is always free and unearned, there is indeed a “cutoff” point… we must all face our final judgment or the Final Judgment…  Therefore, we disciples must be wise about how we walk, so a loss of faith does not result – we walk in danger all the way.  Don’t say of sin “its something I want… yeah, I know its wrong, but…”.   Instead, always huddle close by the Shepherd!  Could Judas be a sign that God may indeed, at some point, give us over to the un-Life we, in our flesh, are prone to seek?

But do you say “Why?” again?  Consider this: when we seek un-Life, we become the odor of death, devoid of the Gospel and its power.  We rob God, rejecting His will for us and our neighbor.  “God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you”, Paul asserts, echoing the Old Testament.  Understandably, God desires that His people to point to Him.  He desires that we be hot or cold, not lukewarm.  “Why” again?  Perhaps for the sake of our neighbor?  He desires that they to be saved, for they, like us, are among “the whole world” for whom He died for, and is, in fact, already reconciled to.  As those who are either “hot” or “cold”, we can be seen as “clearly with Him” or “clearly against Him” – for the sake of the world.

Judas was not damned because God didn’t deeply care for him.  The Son of God wept over Jerusalem, and I believe He weeps for Judas – for He never desires the death – especially the eternal death – of the wicked.  God takes no pleasure in the millstones administered for the sake of the children, but perhaps, He simply does what He needs to do.

So perhaps, for the sake of the children, God administers not only millstones, but Judas’ fate as well.

In which case, better to have never been born indeed.  May this not be the case with us.  Lord have mercy.

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2 Comments

Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

2 responses to “Millstones, Judas Iscariot, and the little ones

  1. Pastor Paul

    February 16, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    Thank you for your comment on my blog and the link to yours. I do agree with several of your points but must disagree on your conclusion. To believe that God would create Judas for this purpose would be to go against the Word that states he wants all men to be saved. God would not go against his Word. This was a matter of Judas’ heart which was cold. His returning of the money was an indication that he was trying to relieve his guilt but nothing we do can remove the blood from our hands. If he had turned to Jesus for forgiveness he would have received it and his guilt would have been removed. Judas’ death sentence was at his own hands and is a good illustration of what we do to ourselves when we try to earn our salvation instead of receiving it from Jesus.

    Respectfully,

    a brother in Christ

     
    • infanttheology

      February 17, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      Pastor Paul,

      Thank you for your comment. We definitely cannot earn our salvation – I hope it doesn’t sound like I was saying this at all!

      I think you misunderstand my conclusion. I never said that God created Judas for this purpose, nor do I believe it. I do believe God desires all persons to be saved, but I also know that people reject that grace – even Christians. Much of the post is speculative, but nevertheless, would you disagree that anytime we turn to Jesus for forgiveness, it is because He has given us His Holy Spirit to cause us to turn from our sins and to seek our loving Lord instead? And would you disagree that there may indeed come a time, when, due to a person’s persistent rejection of His work in our hearts (Acts 7: you always resist the Holy Spirit…), he may not be ready when the Bridegroom comes, whether that be on the Last Day, or his last day? And if God allows this to happen, do we not say, in some sense at least, that He has done it, i.e. sealed us in that person’s unbelief, and hence, his condemnation?

      In Christ,
      Nathan

       

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