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As we read the Bible, we cannot help noticing that there are numerous examples of men and women who appeared to fear God and walk with him, who in time forsook him altogether and perished under his wrath.
There are multitudes in hell today who were once considered saints of God. Lot’s wife, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Achan, King Saul, Ananias and Sapphira, Demas, and Diotrephes are all names that ought to be alarming. Like the multitude in John 6, though they professed to be disciples and were considered by all, except the Lord himself, to be his disciples, they “went back and walked no more with him.” They are beacons placed before us in Holy Scripture to warn us of the danger of hypocrisy and carnal security. All is not gold that glitters. “They are not all Israel which are of Israel.” Many who profess faith in Christ and are confident that their faith is genuine shall betray and forsake Christ in time and perish under the wrath of God in hell.
No one more fearfully and glaringly demonstrates this fact than Judas, the son of perdition, our Lord’s betrayer. He is the principle subject of this paragraph. Judas was once numbered with the apostles of Christ. He once preached the gospel, performed mighty miracles, and carried the treasurer’s bag for the first church ever to exist in this world. Yet, Judas betrayed the Son of God. Afterward, though he repented, confessed his sin, and made restitution, he committed suicide, perishing under the terror of God’s justice and wrath. Today that man, who once was thought to be such a great man, such an eminent believer, burns in hell, suffering the wrath of God! Let none who read these lines follow him.
Judas shows us that a person may experience much, know much, and do much that appears to be genuinely spiritual and yet perish at last. I frankly do not know how to say what needs to be said here forcefully enough. Salvation is an experience; but it is more than an experience. Salvation involves knowledge; but it is more than knowledge. Salvation produces good works; but it is more than good works. In those matters, neither you nor I come close to Judas. He was not only an apostle, but in all probability the most highly esteemed of all the apostles. Until he betrayed the Master, he was never once, in so far as the Scriptures tell us, reprimanded for anything. Judas seems to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Even after he had been distinctly identified as the betrayer by the Master (John 13:26-30), no one was suspicious of him. Yet, Judas was a lost man. He never knew God.
Salvation is “Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27). Salvation is a living union of faith with the Son of God. Salvation is a heart work, a work of God in our hearts. Salvation is not something you can muster. It is not something the preacher can bestow. It is not something parents can bequeath. “Salvation is of the Lord!” Salvation is the utter surrender of a sinner to the rule, dominion, and will of God by faith in Christ. When a person comes to know Christ, the last Adam, he does willingly what the first Adam refused to do. — He bows and surrenders to God as God, acknowledging his right to be God and thus to do what he will (Luke 14:25-33).