What is predestination? How to understand the notion of free will? Is there a link between predestination and free will? How to understand the idea of predestination and free will in the case of Judas Iscariot from the Bible?
The case of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal and perdition and the theme of predestination are matters that need to be treated with little care. We cannot speak of predestination, without questioning free will. Here are two terms that we will try to analyze throughout this biblical meditation especially in connection with the story of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal.
Would you like to know more about teaching predestination in the biblical spirit? Well, you are on the ideal blog. Take your time and sit down and read this Biblical meditation by Preacher Thomson Dablemond.
Indeed, our understanding of the Bible has an impact on us. This forges an idea and an image we have of God. What we believe in is what guides us in life. Just as our idea of God is what guides us in our relationship with God.
However, in dealing with the case of Judas Iscariot from the Bible and the subject of predestination, we touch on the character and nature of God. Now, the Holy Scriptures constitute the supreme, sovereign, and infallible revelation of His will. They are the norm of character, the criterion of experience, the irrevocable revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy account of God’s interventions in history.
That is why we need to approach every question related to Bible content with great care. May God, the Supreme Being, and infinitely wise grant us His Holy Spirit and open our understanding for our edification in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
I – Predestination and Free Will About the Salvation
Let’s do a little analysis of Romans 8: 29-30. This is one of the passages that provokes controversy about Predestination…
” Indeed, those whom God has chosen in advance, he has also decided in advance to make them look like his Son. Thus, his Son will be the eldest of a large family. Those whom God has chosen in advance, he has also called them. Those whom he called, he also made them righteous, and those he has made righteous, he also gave them his glory. ” Romans 8: 29-30 (Version Word Of Life).
* The Greek term used for predestined “Proorizo” literally means “pre-determine, pre-defined.”
That is to say, those whom God has called, he provides by his definite omniscience whether they will accept salvation or not … This does not imply that he [God] acts on their choice (even on their decision).
Knowing what would happen in the future does not necessarily make a person a decision-maker or someone who influences the situation. Such is the case of the omniscient nature of God.
Although God knows things in advance and knows everything – this does not imply that God is violating the free will He has given to man. God never violates his principles (we will come back to this point) … But before continuing what free will is? Free will is the faculty of the human being to determine freely and by himself alone, to act and think, as opposed to determinism or fatalism, which assert that the will is determined in each of its acts by “Forces” that require it. (Source of this definition: Wikipedia).
In other words, simply, we will say that it is the free choice we have to think, to act, to decide as we please. What makes us responsible for our actions.
* If God influenced the salvation of everyone, would it not be a comedy that this same God says he wants all to be saved? (see 1 Timothy 2: 3-4). How do you want to save everyone and sort out who will be and who will not? This would make God arbitrary. And that would be saying one thing and its opposite at the same time. So, foolish! […]
Let us see in the light of things what the Lord says and wants:
1 – The Wish of God
” Well, as true as I am alive, here is what I declare to you, me, the Lord God: The death of evil people does not please me, what I want is for them to change their ways of to do and live, I beg you, give up your bad habits, why die, Israelites? ” Ezekiel 33:11 (Word of Life Version).
” This is what is beautiful and what pleases God our Savior, He wants all to be saved and to come to know the truth.” 1 Timothy 2: 3-4 (Word of Life Version).
” He [God] longs for you, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3: 9 (New King James Version)
The wish, the will of God, is that all, without acceptance of Man, we will be saved.
Salvation in Jesus Christ is accessible to all. As it is said, ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (New King James Version).
If we consider the wish of God as presented here, we will understand that when we speak of predestination, God is impartial and gives free will to everyone.
This says that God does not accept persons as the following passages confirm: Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11…
And even in his judgment, he does not accept any person, for all men are equal in the sight of God (Colossians 3:25, 1 Peter 1: 17a).
2 – The Personal Responsibility of the Man and the Principle of the Judgment of God: Of the Judas Iscariot from the Bible
” And you, man, say this again to the people of your people: If a righteous man one day goes evil, the good he has done before will not save him, to leave his evil path, the evil he has done before will not cause his loss. So the good conduct of a righteous man will not allow him to stay alive the day he does evil. ” Ezekiel 33:12 (Word of Life).
” Suppose this: I promise life to a righteous man, but he thinks that his good past conduct is enough, and he begins to do evil, and his good deeds before will not count, and he will die because from the harm he did. ” Ezekiel 33:13. (Word of Life Version)
” If the righteous turneth away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it.” Ezekiel 33:18 (New King James Version).
” On the contrary, I warn a bad man that he will surely die, but this man is leaving his wrong way, and he begins to respect the laws and to do what is right.” Well, that man will not die This is what he can do: he returns the object he has been given to secure a debt, or he returns what he stole, or he obeys the laws that give life and does not commit anymore. “Well, this man will surely live, he will not die, his past faults will not count, and he will live because he has kept the laws and righteousness.” Ezekiel 33: 14-16 (Version Word Of Life).
” If a wicked man ever gets out of his way to abide by the laws and righteousness, he will live through it.” Ezekiel 33:19 (Word of Life Version).
Given all the above concerning God’s wish that we all be saved without acceptance of persons – to the personal responsibility of man (the choice/decision) and the principle of God’s judgment; we understand 2 things:
* (1st thing) * To each one God has given us free will. We can refuse or accept, adhere or not to join, do or not do. It’s up to us to decide, without God obliging us or forcing us into our choices or decisions…
At the same time that God gives us the freedom to choose and to decide the way, we want to follow, like a good father he also shows us what is good for us without constraining us.
Let’s read Deuteronomy 30: 15-19 (New King James Version): ” See, I put life and good, death and evil before you today, for I command you today to love the LORD, your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, his laws, and his ordinances, so that you may live and multiply, and may the Lord your God bless you … But if your heart turns away If you do not obey, and if you allow yourself to be prostrated before other gods and to serve them, today I declare to you that you will perish, that you will not prolong your days. Take heaven and earth to witness against you today: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse, choose life, that you may live, you and your seed, to love it. O LORD your God, to obey his voice, and to bind you to him: for from that your life and the prolongation of your days depend, and so it is, and thou shalt dwell in the land which the LORD hath sworn to thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. ”
* (2nd thing) * The throne of God is based on equity.
His judgments are based on fairness and justice. Goodness and faithfulness are before his face (Psalms 45: 7, Psalms 89: 15, Psalms 98: 9). These are in some ways the traits of the nature and character of God (this list is not exhaustive). It would be wise if God did not decide in advance to save some and let others perish.
Until then we are able to understand this truth: No one is predestined for evil or misguidance … No. No one is predestined for good or salvation in Jesus. No. It is up to man to choose, to follow his own way, and to assume it.
On this, as an illustration: Let’s now look at the case of Judas Iscariot from the Bible.
II – The Predestination and the Free Will-Arbitrator: The Case of Judas Iscariot from the Bible
First of all, let us note that we are victims of our choices … To speak of predestination in the case of Judas Iscariot from the bible, we must also consider that of Peter. They both betrayed Jesus Christ in one way or another. But also, both had the opportunity and the grace to repent (in one way or another) … except that one was able to seize them and the other not.
Let’s turn to the case of Judas Iscariot from the Bible.
From the beginning, Jesus Christ read in the thoughts of Judas, he knew the ambitions and ideas that nourished Judas Iscariot; he also knew what the character of Judas Iscariot was; he also knew the dispositions of Judas Iscariot’s heart, and even he knew that he was going to betray him … (Read John 6: 70-71, John 13:11).
But that does not define the fact that it was God who had prepared Judas Iscariot for that. No. Far from there. It is rather Judas Iscariot himself who has made himself disposed to the Devil by his conduct and the character he has forged himself.
On the other hand, Jesus Christ accepted him as a disciple and even allowed him to occupy the position of treasurer: all this for one purpose, that of saving Judas Iscariot from the Bible.
God does not call a man to mislead him, but rather to save him.
Let us return to the last scene, at the last supper, before Judas definitively and consciously resolved to betray Jesus Christ.
As the disciples sat down at the table to take the Passover with their beloved Master, they observed that he seemed still very troubled and dejected. All were filled with sadness at the presage of some terrible calamity of which they did not understand nature. As they ate in silence, Jesus said, ” Truly I say to you that one of you will betray me.” (John 13:21). At these words, all were astonished and dismayed. They could not conceive that one of them could treacherously act against their divine Master. For what causes could they have betrayed him, and with whom? In what heart could such a design be born? Surely not in the heart of one of the twelve, who had had the privilege so great to hear his teachings, who had tasted his marvelous love, and whom he had so highly honored by associating them so intimately!
As they understood the full meaning of his words and remembered how true all he said was, fear and distrust of themselves seized them. They began to examine their own hearts to see if they had a single thought against their Master. Filled with the most painful feelings, they asked one after another: ” Lord! Is it me? “(Mark 14:19).
But Judas Iscariot from the Bible remained silent. In the end, John asked Jesus, ” Who is it? ” (John 13: 25). And Jesus answered: ” He who puts his hand in the dish with me, it is he who betrays me. As for the Son of man, he goes away, according to what was written about him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for this man never to have been born ” (Mark 14: 20-21).
But then, to escape the rigorous examination of the disciples, Judas Iscariot asked as the latter had done: ” Master! Is it me? “. Jesus answered solemnly, ” You said it. ” (Matthew 26:25).
In this scene, there is one thing that needs to attract our attention:
It is touching to see with what indulgence Jesus deals with Judas Iscariot from the Bible. This shows the infinite mercy of the Savior, which gives the guilty person the opportunity to repent by showing him that all his purposes and thoughts were perfectly known to the Son of God. He deigned to give Judas Iscariot before he had consummated this betrayal, a final and convincing proof of his divinity so that he could turn away from his plan before repentance was impossible.
But Judas, though surprised and frightened, was not moved to repentance. The fact that his guilt was discovered and unveiled only strengthened his determination to carry out his plan. He went away and prepared for the execution of what he had resolved to do…
When we read the passages on the life of Judas Iscariot, we retain this.
Initially, Judas Iscariot was not a traitor. He subsequently became there (Luke 6: 16). But we know that he was stingy, materialistic, greedy – as revealed in the story of the woman who anointed the hair of Christ (see John 12: 1-6).
Judas Iscariot had resolved to betray Jesus Christ even before the last supper, and Satan had already inspired this unhealthy project (Mark 14: 10-11, Luke 22: 1-6, John 13: 2). And when Satan saw that Judah Iscariots himself, beset by greed, was willing to betray Jesus Christ, he was his instrument.
To conclude the case of Judas Iscariot from the Bible: It would be wise for us to remember that Jesus Christ sought to save Judas Iscariot, but the heart of Judas had already been submitted entirely to the spirit of the evil one. He had already consumed in his heart this betrayal.
Do not think that it was God himself who had chosen Judas Iscariot in advance so that he could betray Jesus and commit suicide then. How can God do this?
Let us not lose sight of the fact that God is just, holy, good, wise, loving, and perfect – he does not violate his own principles, he does not betray his character either, and his nature remains invariable [To say that he is the same yesterday, today and forever].
Judas Iscariot from the Bible was, therefore, the victim of his own choices, his own ways, his own decisions, his own dispositions. In John 12: 1-6, we have a glimpse of the unconverted character of Judas Iscariot from the Bible.
Conclusion About Predestination and Free Will
The more the subject of Predestination is misunderstood, the more the character and nature of God are called into question. And so, we risk blaming God. Most often, those who misinterpret the term Predestination are those who flee their responsibility for their actions. We also know that God directs and follows the events of this world in general and even in the life of each of His creatures.
However, between the notion of predestination and that of free will does it not have the notion of divine providence? Well, what is divine providence?