Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Eleven's the Eleven That Went Straight to Heaven

First, a little culture: listen to Great Big Sea's Come and I Will Sing You (Twelve Apostles).

The last verse begins with:
Twelve, twelve apostles
Eleven is the eleven that went straight to heaven 
I have no idea what half the lines represent in that song (though it's fun to imagine), but it's pretty clear what the writer was saying here--Judas did not go straight to heaven.

However, can we be so sure? To some it may sound like a silly question, but ultimately God is Judge, and we simply do not know. God is the potter who makes honorable and dishonorable vessels. 

Consider Judas' response to his betrayal. 
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.” (Matthew 27:3-4 ESV)
On the face of it, Judas confessed ("I have sinned") and repented ("he changed his mind"--Greek metamelētheis literally means "repented himself").

So did Judas have "godly sorrow that leads to repentance" (2 Corinthians 7:10). I think I would tend to agree with Thomas Gallaudet (a Puritan children's author). Here is an excerpt from his excellent book, The Child's Book on Repentance, chapter 9 (pp 99-100).
  And yet this self-reproach, very bitter and painful as it is, may exist, and there be no true repentance in the heart.
    Judas, the wicked and ungrateful disciple who betrayed Christ, must have felt this selfreproach in a very high degree. His conduct shows that he did. When he saw in what his base betraying of his Lord and Master had ended, and that Christ was condemned to death, "he repented himself." He felt how very wickedly he had acted; he was sorry for it, and wished that he had not betrayed Christ.
    It was not the right kind of repentance, however. For if I had time, I could easily show you that there are two kinds of repentance spoken of in the Bible. One is such as Judas had, without any change for the better in his feelings--a sorrow for sin only because he felt its shame and reproach, and dreaded the just displeasure of God against it; but without any real hatred of sin, as wrong in itself, and without any love to God, and obedience to his commands.
    The other kind of repentance spoken of in the Bible, is what I expect yet to explain to you. "Judas brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? See thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."
    What a striking instance of self-reproach on account of sin!
    And yet there was no true repentance connected with it. Had there been, Judas would have shown a far different spirit from what he did. He would not have rushed madly upon the violation of one of the positive commands of God, by taking his own life. He would have desired to live, that he might humble himself before God and his fellow-men; and that he might, if possible, in some way repair the wrong which he had done to Christ, and to his cause. [My note: Judas at least should have come to understand that Christ could repair the wrong Judas had done, but he did not seem to have that Spirit.]
    There is great danger, my children, of your mistaking the self-reproach of which we have been speaking, for true repentance. It is a painful feeling, and you suffer under it. You may think that you are the better for such suffering. You may almost imagine that it is a kind of punishment for sin, which being endured, the sin is done away and will be forgiven.
    But forget not that this self-reproach, in itself alone, is not true repentance. Other views and feelings are necessary. Be not deceived in this respect; and let the example of Judas, who gave such a striking illustration of this selfreproach without any true repentance, be fixed in your memory.

No comments:

Post a Comment