Did Jesus forgive Judas?
When Jesus was on the cross, and he said, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do, did forgiveness also apply to Judas?
How broad was it when Jesus said, Father, forgive them for they know not what they do?
First of all, let’s just understand here that it was a remarkable thing for Jesus to say those words. There He is at the very moment of his crucifixion – Luke 23:34 records those words for us – and despite his great agony, He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” It shows us in a very powerful way that the love of Jesus actually never fails. It shows us that on the cross, Jesus prayed even for those who were executing Him, asking God the Father not to hold that sin against them.
I would expect that Jesus probably prayed in this manner for his enemies, all throughout his ministry. And in doing this, Jesus fulfilled his own command. Jesus himself told us, especially in the Sermon on the Mount, to love our enemies, to pray for those who curse us and to do good for those who hate us. And to pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Jesus was doing what He told us to do when he said those great words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Again, I think this is significant.
A general forgiveness for everybody who had ever sinned against him?
The question is how broadly did that prayer apply? I think we need to understand that this prayer did not apply to every sin of every person. Jesus was not pronouncing a general forgiveness for everybody who had ever sinned against him. No. I believe that what Jesus did right here, in Luke 23:34, was He was simply saying, “Lord, these people who are doing the work of executing me right now, they don’t know what they’re doing, Lord, be compassionate to them.”
I would say that Judas is not included in that prayer – that Judas was not forgiven. He was the “son of perdition,” as the King James Bible, and the New King James Bible say it. “Perdition” is an old word, but it’s a powerful one. Perdition means destruction. When Jesus called Judas the son of destruction he means that Judas was a man who would be completely and absolutely sent to destruction – that he is the “son” of it. By the way, that same phrase, son of destruction, which communicates condemnation and damnation, is also used of the person that we commonly call the Antichrist. You’ll find that in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
Judas rejected Jesus’ love for him
Now, I want you to understand that even though Judas was appointed to destruction, at the same time Jesus loved Judas. John 13:26 describes how, at what we call the Last Supper, Jesus gave Judas the favored portion of the meal. It was a piece of bread that was dipped in the juices of the meat dish they ate all together. Jesus did this ceremonially in front of all the other disciple, to express His love for Judas, His favor, His compassion, even though Jesus knew that Judas was about to betray him. Jesus was saying in this, “Judas, I love you, before you go out and commit this act of betrayal. Would you please know that I love you and that it’s not too late for you to turn back if you only would.” But of course, Jesus knew that Judas would not do that. Though Jesus loved Judas, Judas did not receive that love and he turned against Jesus.
These words, “for they know not what they do.” could apply to many people. They could apply to the Roman soldiers. They could apply to many people among the mob and the onlookers of Jesus’s crucifixion, there on that day at Golgotha. Or perhaps it even applied to some among the religious leaders.
However, I can tell you this: “For they know not what they do” did not apply to Judas! Judas lived with Jesus and walked with Jesus for three years. Judas was a man who knew what Jesus was about.
In some sense, the Romans who crucified Jesus sinned in ignorance, but Judas sinned with full knowledge. You perhaps could even say that because of this statement of Jesus, that the Roman soldiers who executed Jesus were forgiven the specific sin of crucifying Him, but it doesn’t mean that they went to heaven. They would certainly be guilty of many other sins that would not be forgiven, unless they came to Jesus in faith and repentance and received the forgiveness that Jesus so freely offered because of his work on the cross.
Why was Peter forgiven, and Judas was not?
The forgiveness that Jesus spoke of, here in Luke 23:34, did not apply to Judas, because he did not want it. He did not receive it by faith. He was not one of the ignorant who didn’t know what he was doing. Judas was not forgiven because he did not receive it by faith. Judas was the son of destruction, and he was destroyed by his sin. This was a terrible tragedy. We can make a contrast between Judas and the Apostle Peter. There’s a sense in which both of them denied Jesus. Both of them turned their back upon Jesus, but one was forgiven, and the other was not.
Why was Judas not forgiven? Why was Peter forgiven? It was because Peter humbly confessed his sin and repented of it and came to Jesus. The sin of Judas was not too big for Jesus to forgive, but he would not come to Jesus to receive the forgiveness of it. So did that forgiveness that Jesus spoke of in Luke 23:34 apply to Judas? No, it did not. Judas was the son of perdition, the son of destruction, and he lives in eternal destruction because of his great sin.
Now on to some more questions of today’s Q&A with David Guzik:
Is the unforgivable sin commited by a one time statement?
I have heard that the unforgivable sin isn’t a one time statement against the Holy Spirit. However, Matthew 12: 26, 36 and 37 and Mark 3:30 seem to contradict this teaching. Can you provide clarification?
Let me just explain it to you this way: If those passages Matthew 12:36 and 37 and Mark 3:30 were the only passages in the Bible that spoke of forgiveness, maybe we would have reason to say that if somebody says one statement that denies Jesus or more specifically attributes the working of Jesus to the working of Satan, they can never be forgiven.
But here’s the issue, and this is what our job is as those who take the whole Bible seriously and don’t use one verse to cancel out another verse. We are given the responsibility to say, “Okay, how did these different passages correlate?” There’s so many other passages that speak of the freeness of God’s forgiveness, if we will come to him in faith and repentance our sins will be forgiven.
The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a settled rejection
Therefore, it really leads us to believe that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a settled rejection of Jesus, that will not come to him for the forgiveness of sins.
Again, our job isn’t to take scripture passages in isolation, and then sort of pit them against other passages of Scripture, but rather to bring them together and say, “how does God want make us want us to make sense of these as a whol?”. So I would agree with you. If those passages in Matthew 12 and Mark 3, were the only passages we had that speak of forgiveness, then we might have reason to believe the unforgivable sin is a one time statement. But we have to bring those verses alongside other passages that speak of the freeness of the forgiveness of Jesus, even to those who have committed the most heinous sins if they will come to Jesus in faith and repentance.
Jesus said in John 6:37 “ the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” Jesus did not add the words, “Except if you’ve spoken against me five years ago.” So again all this put together makes us believe that the blaspheny of the Holy Spirit is a settled rejection of what the Holy Spirit says about Jesus and the refusal to come to him.
How to choose two witnesses in a confrontation
Matthew 18:16 says to take with you one or two witnesses, whoever qualifies as a witness. How do we gather witnesses without seeming to gossip or murmur?
A witness must first of all be a believer of course. And someone who has a level of spiritual maturity, someone who can discern what’s right and what’s wrong. Isn’t that what we’re asking people to do when we ask them to be witnesses? We’re asking them to discern what’s right and what’s wrong in a particular situation. So I think that’s the qualification.
To witness without gossip or murmur
As far as how do you gather witnesses without seeming to gossip or murmur, I would just simply say this: if you’re concerned about gossip, and you ask somebody to be a witness in a dispute that you have with another person, don’t tell them your case in advance! Just go to them and say, “hey, I’ve got a dispute with brother so and so. We can’t seem to resolve it. Would you be willing to be a witness about it? And I only want to tell you what the dispute is about in the presence of this other person.”
Because really, that’s what it means. It means that the person who’s going to be a witness is truly a witness of the dispute as a whole. And they’re not merely a witness of your side of the dispute. That’s what’s important. So, just don’t tell them your side of the story until you’re in the presence of the person with whom you have the dispute. That way you if you say something that the other person thinks isn’t fair or accurate, they can say “no, that’s not how it happened!”.
If you’re concerned with fairness on this, and not giving way to gossip or murmuring, I think that’s the way to do it.
Did God take His image out of Nebuchadnezzar?
I don’t know if it’s even possible to remove the image of God from a human being. It’s possible to cover over God’s image in a person. It’s possible to deface it, so to speak, but I don’t think it can be removed. So I don’t think that Nebuchadnezzar’s status as an image bearer of God was removed. But surely it was covered over by the foolish delusion that he was not a man, but he was a beast. It’s like a beautiful statue, because the image of God within a person is beautiful. But what the world, the flesh and the devil work together to do, is to deface that statue. they can’t destroy the statue, but they can spray paint all over, they can vandalize the statue, they can try to cover it, they can try to make it invisible, but they can’t destroy it. They can’t take it away because that is intrinsic to the human being.
Will evangelism still be necessary during the Millennium?
Yes! Evangelism will be necessary during the millennium.
I want to freely acknowledge that among people in our Christian family, there are all sorts of opinions regarding the millennium. There’s people who really love Jesus and really take the Bible seriously, who think that we’re in the millennium right now. I have to say I personally think that’s not accurate at all. I regard the millennium as something that is literal, although sometimes it’s described in symbolic language, but it’s largely literal, and that it’s going to happen upon this earth, when it is brought into a period of time where the earth is directly ruled by Jesus Christ and by his agents on earth. I think that the population of the millennial are the “citizens” of the millennial Earth. But not all of them will be born again. And therefore, yes, evangelism will be necessary during the millennium.
How can I explain celebrity religious leaders or TV personalities to non believers?
When we become Christians, there is a genuine transformation of life that happens. It’s real. But the changes that happen to our life, they don’t all happen at once. And they are not complete until we’re glorified, until we die or go to heaven.
The idealization of Christian celebrities is a sin. And you might even say that it’s a foolish sin. Now, it’s a sin that in some ways is understandable. Because our whole culture is about the idealization of celebrities. It’s not a compliment about us in the modern culture. But it’s true about us, we have to admit that. Christians aren’t perfect yet. And we would pray that God would continue to sanctify us, and Christians who are given over to celebrity culture, whether they idolize the celebrities of the world and the common culture, or they idolize the celebrities of Christian culture, they need to be not so worldly in that regard.
Will our generation see the return of Jesus?
Do you still think that, in spite of the many unfulfilled prophecies?
Yes, I do believe it. But let me explain why I believe our generation will see the return of Jesus. I believe that the Bible describes a particular political environment, economic environment, a cultural environment, and especially a spiritual environment that will mark the last days, the very last days. Let’s say that’s the period of time right before the glorious return of Jesus. And I believe that as I look around in the world today, I see that our present day fits the description of the kind of political, economic, cultural and spiritual scenario that the Bible says will mark the last days. I see that to be more true now than ever. I would be a fool for failing to recognize that the stage is set. Now, what about unfulfilled prophecies? What about things that don’t seem to line up? No, this is what I remember. And we’ve all seen it in this last six months, namely how quickly things can change in the world. The following was first presented to me in the late 1980s. When I saw the world change before my eyes, with the fall of communist nations in Europe, things that people thought would not happen for decades, happened in a matter of months. And we were astounded at how quickly the world could change. Things that we thought would take decades to change happened in what seemed to be weeks. And we see that in the world today right now. Things are changing in the world today. Things that we thought might take Years and years to change are changing so quickly. So, the things that don’t currently match the prophetic scenario, those things can change to match the prophetic scenario very, very quickly.
Another reason I believe that Jesus is coming in this generation, is because I think that’s what Jesus wants us to believe. I think that Jesus wants every generation to believe that Jesus is coming in their generation. I think it is a good and healthy thing for us to believe that Jesus Christ is coming soon, but not with crazy predictions of dates, not with panic, not with fear. But Jesus wants us to believe that He is coming soon. Jesus does not want us to believe that our master delays His coming. I think that throughout the centuries, Jesus has given some reason to every generation to believe that he was coming soon, because Jesus wants us to keep that anticipation close at hand. Not in a crazy way, of course, but in an earnest, God honoring way.
Are the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and “Christ in us” all the same?
Romans chapter eight verses nine and 10 mentions the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and Christ in us. Are these three terms the same?
When the Bible talks about the Spirit of Christ, it’s not talking about a different person than the Holy Spirit. And when we talk about Christ dwelling in us, we usually mean Christ dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:9-10, it speaks to the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ and Christ in us, it’s speaking of the same thing. God – you could even say the Triune God – dwelling in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.
Did Jesus stop being God on the cross?
And why did He go to hell?
We need to understand that there was something gloriously complex happening at the cross. And I’ll explain it to you to the best of my understanding. I realize we are treading on a holy ground here, and ground that we admit, in some ways, goes beyond our ability to fully understand.
On the cross, God treated the son as if he were a sinner. And “the father turns his face away” from sinners. He does not have full fellowship with sinners. At the same time, Jesus did not be become a sinner on the cross, because his bearing of sin is standing in our place as our substitute our propitiation that was the most holy Act of sacrificial love that the world has ever seen. So, we have the father treating the son as if he were a sinner, at the very moment that the Son is performing the Most Holy act of love that can ever be imagined. Remember what Paul said in 2 Corinthians. He described Jesus as He who became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. In other words, Jesus did not become a sinner, but he did as it were, become sin. It’s an amazing thing. It is the greatest testimony of what happened on the cross.
In this Jesus most definitely did not cease to be God on the cross. Listen, if you can stop being God, you were never God to begin with. One of the characteristics of God is that He is unchanging. And so Jesus in His divine nature could never change. In His human nature, He could change. But in His divine nature, He could never change, and He could never stop being God.
Now, about Jesus going to hell: There are scriptural passages that suggest (they’re not entirely clear) that Jesus went to Hades. I would say it’s not hell in the sense it’s not the lake of fire. There’s differing understandings of those passages among believers. But even if we were to grant that Jesus did in fact go to Hades, He did not go there as a victim. He went there as a victorious, as a conqueror.
The prize was paid at the cross, not in Hades, and certainly not in hell or the lake of fire. When Jesus said it is finished at the cross, He meant it and our sins were paid for there. So, Jesus remained God’s holy one on the cross, even though the Father treated him as if He were a sinner, which pained the Father to do as well. But at the same time, the Father was pleased to see his Son perform this holy work. There are no contradictions at the cross.
Did Mary, the mother of Jesus remained a virgin until her death?
I respectfully disagree with the Roman Catholic teaching that Mary remained a virgin until her death. I would disagree with this because of what seems to be the teaching of Scripture regarding the marriage of Mary and Joseph, which seems to imply that they did have marital relations after Jesus was born. And by the statement that Jesus had brothers. Now technically we would call them half brothers, because they shared the same mother, Mary, but they did not share the same father. However, it’s important to realize that there are some people that will say that those were either Jesus’s cousins, or the sons of Joseph from a previous marriage. I don’t think that’s a necessary interpretation. And I would respectfully disagree with this relatively late doctrine, also known as the perpetual virginity of Mary. I don’t believe that it’s a biblical doctrine. It’s taught by tradition in the Roman Catholic Church, not by the scriptures themselves.
Why does God have to wear an armor?
Looking at the full armor of God in Ephesians 6 I’m confused by the fact that God himself would even need to wear an armor at all, as described in Isaiah 59.
I don’t think the idea there is not so much that God needs to wear armor, as it is to present God as a warrior. We need to get away from the idea that God is only presented in the Scriptures, in these warm and soft sort of pictures – the shepherd, the Father, the friend, whatever it is – if you take those pictures of God to the exclusion of everything else that the Bible says about God, you have an incomplete picture of Him.
The Bible also presents God in the Old and the New Testaments as a warrior. And really, that’s just simply the idea when God is wearing armor, and I say it’s not like God needs it, but God has it because it’s the uniform of the warrior. Something to think about is that God has this armor, and he gives it to us when it says, take on the armor of God. I think it’s interesting to think that it’s not only the armor that God supplies, but it’s God’s own armor. It’s the armor that just indicates that He is a warrior as well.
Is it God’s will to heal everyone?
Right here and right now? People use Isaiah chapter 53 to say by His stripes we are healed.
I do not find biblical evidence that it’s God’s will to heal everyone immediately, right here and right now. Now I do say that God promises perfect healing to every believer. And that you Healing was provided for by the work of Jesus on the cross, by his stripes were healed, which I think is speaking both spiritually and physically. What Isaiah speaks of in chapter 53, namely that God promises perfect healing to every believer, we call that resurrection. That is God’s ultimate perfect healing to every believer. Until then, we’re going to have to live with some of the weaknesses and frailties of our flesh, especially as we get older. But I think it’s also important to say that without a doubt there are some people who could be healed right here and right now, but are not healed because they don’t have the faith to receive it from God. Now notice, I said SOME people.
I don’t believe that every person who has not healed is not healed because they lack faith. I don’t believe that at all. I believe that is a doctrine of guilt and condemnation upon people that throws upon people so much despair and desperation, and it is not true biblically. It’s a destructive doctrine. But I don’t think it can really be argued that there are at least some people right here and right now, whom God would heal, if they had the faith to receive it. I don’t know who those people are. I don’t know how many of them but surely those people are out there. And we believe that God does heal today. We pray for God to heal today. We believe that God can and will heal today. There may be times when prompted by the Holy Spirit we believe that God does want to heal someone right here right now, in a remarkable way, but we recognize that the complete healing we all long for is going to be ours in the resurrection.
What part of the statue in Daniel for are we in?
And what nation is ruling that part of the statue we’re in?
Whenever we’re talking about biblical prophecy, eschatology, I always like to go almost overboard and say this is something that many Christians have different opinions on. So the opinion that I’m going to give you right now, I don’t want to act for a moment like it’s some universal Christian opinion, or that this is what the Bible says, and nobody disputes it. No, there is a lot of discussion and often disagreement about these things. But I’ll give you my understanding of this.
The last part of the statue described in the book of Daniel was iron. And then the bottom part was iron mixed with clay. I believe that we are in a pause between the iron and the iron mixed with clay. That in the past, we see the iron of the Roman empire that existed on the earth in the days of Jesus. In the future, we see the Empire designated by the feet and especially the toes, the iron mixed with clay. I believe that that is in the future. And I believe that the legs of iron are in the past.