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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Was Judas one of the elect?
Here's a hint: 70Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil." -John 6:70 [ESV]

Okay, some may misconstrue the hint, so I will add another: 12While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. - John 17:12 [ESV]

Still confused? Perhaps this will help: 7So he asked them again, "Whom do you seek?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." 8Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go." 9This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: "Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one." - John 18:7-9 [ESV]

I will walk you through it starting with the last verse and working backwards. Judas was not elect, we see this in John 18 where Judas leads the procession to arrest Jesus. John writes that when Christ says, "If you seek me, let these men go" it was to fulfill the word that he had spoken. "Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one." Judas was not one of the people the procession was considering arresting, and therefore he was not one of the people whom Christ was saying "let these go" about.

Since this was said to fulfill what Christ had said about not losing any whom God had given him - we should ask ourselves, "When did Christ say that?" Christ said it back in chapter 17 When He was praying, (that's the second verse I quoted) there He states that He hadn't lost one, except the son of perdition (Judas).

If we read the verse from chapter seventeen in isolation, it sort of sounds like maybe Judas was elect, but Christ could not have said what he said in John 18 if that were so. If Judas was elect Christ would have lost one whom the Father had given Him. It is evident therefore, that Judas was not given to Christ because that Judas was not one of the people that Christ was referring to when He said to those arresting Him, "let these go".

Judas was "chosen" by Christ to be one of the twelve - that was always the plan. But being called to be an apostle by Christ is not the same as being chosen by God. Clearly, the intention all along was to call a non-elect son of the devil to be amongst the elect apostles. Judas was called, as it were, but not chosen in the sense of election.

Why would God orchestrate it this way? To call someone who isn't chosen? One reason (I suppose) would be to illustrate and underscore a very profound truth about just how sinful and irredeemable sinners truly are. Judas, as a representative of all fallen men, was called by Christ personally, lived under the personal ministry of God Incarnate for years... consider that this unregenerate man was given all that could be given, short of election, to a man - and all these things could not produce a change in his fallen heart. He began as, and remained a son of the devil, and the best ministry the world has ever, or will ever see, could not change that. As Christ himself said, no one can come to the Son unless the Father drags him.

We ought to shudder at our fallenness, and shiver at the magnitude of God's bending down to redeem us.

Judas was one of the twelve, called to be a fallen apostle amongst the chosen saints - not called in the sense of election; he was not chosen by God in that sense - called nonetheless by Christ, but not chosen by God. All twelve Apostles were called to the office of Apostle, but only eleven chosen, only eleven were elect. It is as Matthew writes, many are called, but few are chosen (c.f. Matthew 20:16, 22:14).

The short answer therefore is that Judas was not elect, even though he was called as an apostle.

The lesson here is more than making an intellectual distinction between those who respond outwardly to the gospel call but inwardly are sons of the devil, and those who are genuinely elect.

The lesson is more, I say, than recognizing that, yes indeed there are tares amongst the wheat. Nor is the lesson confined to answering the simple question about whether Judas was elect. Really, that should be pretty straight forward.

The lesson for us is that all our cleverness and gifting, all our spiffy gospel presentations cannot penetrate the unconquerable heart of one of the devil's children. Listen: if Christ couldn't do it, you won't either. It is not by might (i.e. effort, skill, perseverance, etc. etc. etc.) that a child of God is made, it is by God's sovereign choice to regenerate a lost sinner.

Think it through if you are a child of God. The sooner you comprehend your utter inability to affect even the smallest spiritual change in another (and might I add, even in yourself) - the sooner you will begin to throw yourself upon Christ for all your spiritual endeavors. Without Christ you can do nothing. It isn't that you will be weak, it is that you will be entirely incapable.

We must learn, and relearn this lesson. Chew on it daily, even after it becomes clear to us - we must continue to learn from men like Judas - not only the difference between being chosen to do play a role here on earth, and being the elect of God, but more specifically, the lesson that no amount of teaching - even perfect teaching can penetrate a heart that God hasn't chosen.

We remind ourselves of these truths, not to encourage ourselves in a defeatist attitude: If I can do nothing, why should I try?. Instead, we remind ourselves of these truths to encourage us to rely utterly and entirely on God for all things. If it is true that we cannot do anything without Christ - that only God can affect spiritual change - that means we must do all in God's strength and not our own.

If in God's strength, then we needn't feel impotent in our ministry - we should rather feel joy, confidence, and assurance because God works even when we feel like a deflated balloon (and perhaps especially so).

When I encourage you not look to yourself for strength, I mean that you shouldn't be waiting for the springtime of your joy to cast seed on the ground - you should be ready in season and out.

Perhaps that is too poetic? Let me try it plainly, I mean don't wait for the perfect day of Christian purity and divine fellowship before you are willing to trust that God is working.

God is not sitting in heaven waiting for you to have a perfect day so that He can minister through you on that day only. Do you think the person who led you to the Lord was having a perfect day on the day you were saved? Get real. If our strength is in the Lord and not ourselves, then we must act on that truth, and not wait for strength from within to empower our ministry. You have been given some currency - don't bury it in the ground while waiting for the perfect day to invest it - use it now.

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posted by Daniel @ 6:15 AM  
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