Was Judas Saved?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Was Judas saved?  Some claim the gospel of Judas proves he didn’t hang himself? What is the eternal state of Judas according to the Bible?

Judas Iscariot, Son of Perdition

The word perdition has a particular meaning of importance in regard to Judas’ name.

Perdition defined: utter destruction, eternal damnation, a final and irrevocable spiritual ruin, a state of destruction, the state of the wicked one, and finally, it is defined as hell itself.

There is no wiggle room here with the word perdition and so we can now ask “What was the fate of Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus?”  He was called the “son of perdition” by Jesus in John 17:12 where Christ said “While 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 perdition (or destruction…they are the same thing), that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”  The son of perdition and the son of destruction are referred to by this same name by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.”  The “son of destruction” is literally translated “the son of perdition” but this chapter is speaking about someone totally different than Judas.  Even so, every time the term “perdition” is associated with a person it is a term of one who is doomed to destruction, condemnation, and total depravity from which there is no state of repentance possible.

Judas Didn’t Repent

When Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, he was very remorseful and deeply regretted what he had done, yet there is no record of him asking for forgiveness or of his repenting.  He could have gone back to Jesus or the disciples and repented and he could have also asked for God’s forgiveness.  There is record of either of these in the Bible.  Some translations of Matthew 27:3 say that Judas repented but the better translations say “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.” Now repentance is a change of mind, yes, but it is much more than that. It is a change of direction.  Judas could have turned to Jesus or the disciples but instead he returned to the chief priests and elders.  Interestingly, Judas Iscariot means “Judah from Kerioth” and Kerioth means “betrayer.”

In Acts chapter one the apostles had to find a replacement for Judas and why was this needed?

In Acts chapter one the apostles had to find a replacement for Judas and why was this needed?

A replacement for Judas was needed because “the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.  For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”  (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:16-18).  So David prophesied about the betrayal of Judas and it was fulfilled on that fateful day hundreds of years later which is mentioned in Psalm 41:9 “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”  There is no biblical support to say that Judas repented and didn’t actually hang himself (commit suicide).  The earliest church historians and church tradition say that he did!  There are many conspiracy theories but they are just that…theories.

Gospel of Judas?

Since many conspiracy theories exist that Judas survived, they also came up with him supposedly writing another gospel.  Is the gospel of Judas legitimate?  It was never canonized by the church nor was it ever accepted as Scripture.  Why?  Because it was written many years after Judas was supposed to have lived and only then, so the theory goes, was this “lost gospel” found.  If it was lost, it should have stayed lost because it is a fraud. Here are some of the writings found in the gospel of Judas so you can read for yourself just how ridiculous it is:

  • There was a secret account of the revelation that “Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot during a week, three days before he celebrated Passover.”
  • Jesus supposedly tells Judas that “you will exceed all of them (the disciples). For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me.”
  • It describes Judas as Jesus’ closest friend.
  • Jesus says it is necessary for someone to finally free him from his human body, and he prefers that this liberation be done by a friend rather than by an enemy “So he [Jesus] asks Judas, who is his friend, to sell him out, to betray him. It’s treason to the general public, but between Jesus and Judas it’s not treachery.”

I refuse to quote anymore because this false gospel of Judas is so outrageous.

Conclusion

There is absolutely no biblical evidence that Judas ever repented.  The question I have for you is this:  Have you ever repented?  If not, then you too are a son or daughter of perdition. It will not go well for you if you don’t and for time without end.  If you are reading this, there is yet time to repent and confess your sins, unlike Judas did, who is in hell right now.  You need to see your sinfulness and hopefully see your need for the Savior.  If you have repented and trusted in Christ, then the wrath of God that you deserved was placed on Christ for you.  If not, it’s still all on you (John 3:36).  Don’t stay there.  Repent and trust in Christ.  There is no other way to have the wrath of God removed from you and to have the peace of God instead (Rom 5:1).

Related reading: Judas Iscariot: Bible Story and Profile

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

REV JAMES D SPAULDING May 23, 2015 at 8:18 am

I JUST READ THE ARTICLE WAS JUDAS SAVED? I AM A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL AND IT IS SURELY NICE TO KNOW THAT THERE ARE STILL FELLOW SOLDIERS OUT HERE THAT ARE STILL TELLING THE TRUTH AS IT IS PRESENTED FROM THE BIBLE. JUDAS WAS CERTAINLY NOT SAVED NOR DID HE REPENT. JESUS SAID OF HIM THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER FOR HIM NOT TO HAVE BEEN BORN. THE VERY LAST TRANSACTION THAT JUDAS CARRIED OUT WAS A DIRECT BREAKING OF THE 6TH COMMANDMENT. HOW THEN COULD HE OF BEEN SAVED OR MADE IT TO HEAVEN WHEN THE LAST THING HE DID ON EARTH WAS THE MURDER HIS SELF. KING SAUL IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF ONE DYING OUT OF FELLOWSHIP AND IN DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD. GREAT WORK MAN OF GOD KEEP IT UP GOD BLESS YOU.

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Celia Vorster April 12, 2019 at 5:25 am

Thank you for the articles of Jack Wellman and the explanations about Jesus and Judas.

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Jack Wellman April 12, 2019 at 1:29 pm

How kind of you my friend. Thank you Celia.

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Mark February 27, 2020 at 1:32 am

When was Judas given the chance to repent? If he joined the rest of the disciples they would’ve killed him for what he did and he could not turn to god because Judas feared him, so Judas repented the best he could by renouncing the 30 pieces of silver and killing himself out of remorse. Also was the act of betrayal an act free will if Jesus predicted it? Also could Judas been used as justification for anti-Semitic acts and stereotypes during the middle ages?

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Jack Wellman February 27, 2020 at 9:30 am

Judas had a chance to repent as long as he was alive, so therefore, his sin is on his own self. Judas showed remorse and regret and not repentance. We do not know whether he would have been killed if he joined the disciples, but his destiny was to betray Jesus as prophesied, and your speculation of “what if” won’t change that.

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Mark February 28, 2020 at 12:23 am

The definition of repent is to feel regret or contrition witch Judas showed. Also would the all knowing and well meaning God willingly doom a man to hell. The god i know and love would never do this not even to save the whole world. This idea is talked about in the parable of the lost sheep is it not.

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Jack Wellman February 28, 2020 at 10:58 am

Judas was called the Son of Perdition. You need to study this better and stop jumping to conclusions that are not from Scripture. Judas was a betrayer and never saved. It would be good for you to read the Bible and these accounts rather than assume God would do this or God would do that. You’ve created a god in your own image Mark.

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Ado Danbaka kekema April 16, 2020 at 4:45 am

To me the issue of Judas the betroyer in
Regard to his salvation one can not conclude that
He will not be save . If repentance means regret and confession as Paul will mention in Rom10:9 ,now going back to the account of the gospel Matt 27:4 ” I have sinned ” the shows that Judas realized what he did was a violation by betroying an innocent blood
And Peter said Judas attude toward Jesus was a fulfilment of scriptures . And he served as a guide, so to me conclusion will be made .

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Jack Wellman April 16, 2020 at 9:32 am

Judas had a chance to repent and didn’t but repentance means that he turned away from his sin and would have asked Jesus to forgive him, even after Jesus was arrestest Judas had a chance to ask God for forgiveness, so Judas had his chance but refused to repent. Remorse or regret are not part of repentance. God alone grants repentance (. He is called the “son of perdition” so it was already known that he woud betray Jesus. Please read this to show Judas was never saved: https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/is-repentance-necessary-for-salvation/

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Andy Claar April 9, 2021 at 8:31 am

Why didn’t you mention the fact that Satan entered Judas during the last supper, and Jesus didn’t cast him out in order that scripture would be fulfilled. This is a major part of the story. So this betrayal wasn’t Judas on his own-Satan was in him and part of this whole event. Plus, is it possible to be forgiven and still condemned to hell? Remember Jesus asked for forgiveness for those actually conducting the crucifixion – it would seem that Jesus would forgive Judas too, especially if we are instructed to forgive our enemies 70×7 times. Why do you say there is no scripture support to say Judas hung himself? Matthew 27 says exactly that! And regret surely is a part of repentance – how would you really have a spirit of repentance if you don’t regret what you did? I don’t know how you could express greater repentance, actually. How many of us have hated our own sin to the point of wanting to kill ourselves?

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Jack Wellman April 9, 2021 at 10:05 am

Hello Mr. Claar. Are you saying that Judas could have repented? Judas could not escape the divinely designed signal of guilt that reminds men of their sin and warns them of its consequences. Just as pain is an intrinsic and automatic warning of physical danger, guilt is an intrinsic and automatic warning of spiritual danger. It was not that Judas suddenly became afraid of God, else he would have turned in desperation to the One he knew could forgive him. Nor was he afraid of men. Although he was now discarded and despised by the Jewish leaders, they had no reason to harm him. It was rather that Judas suddenly realized the horrible wrongness of what he had done. An innate awareness of right and wrong is divinely built into every human being and cannot be totally erased, no matter how deep a person may fall into depravity or how consciously and rebelliously he may turn against God. This is intensified by the convicting pressure of the Spirit of God.

Judas’s remorse was not repentance of sin, as the King James version suggests. Matthew did not use metanoeo, which means a genuine change of mind and will, but metamelomai, which merely connotes regret or sorrow. He did not experience spiritual penitence but only emotional remorse. Although he would not repent of his sin, he could not escape the reality of his guilt. Genuine sorrow for sin (metamelomai) can be prompted by God in order to produce repentance (metanoeo), as Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 7:10. But Judas’s remorse was not prompted by God to lead to repentance but only to guilt and despair.

Because he was a kind of witness against Jesus, perhaps Judas thought that by admitting the wickedness of what he had done he would be punished as a false witness, as Deuteronomy 19:16–19 prescribed. Under that provision, he would have been crucified himself, suffering the penalty imposed on the one he caused to be falsely convicted. Instead of looking to Jesus’ for forgiveness and trusting in His atoning death, Judas’s perverted mind may have led him to believe that by dying he somehow could atone for his own sin.

Proof that Judas’s sorrow was ungodly and selfish is seen in the fact that he made no effort to defend or rescue Jesus. He had no desire to vindicate or save Jesus but only to salve his own conscience, which he attempted to do by returning the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. I suggest you find a good Study Bible to get a better understanding.

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Andy Claar April 9, 2021 at 12:19 pm

Thank you for responding so quickly. But you didn’t address Satan’s entering Judas and that effect on the situation. If we compare Judas to the thief on the cross, the thief was saved because he believed Jesus was innocent, and that he recognized his own guilt and deserved to die. It seems like Judas also fits those two criteria – in fact he recognized his own guilt and executed his own death sentence himself. Did the thief repent for every sin? I don’t know. Is it possible to commit any sin in the last moments of life and cancel out any salvation? Or do only “serious” sins in the final moments cause you to lose salvation? Is this a case of sin increasing, but grace NOT increasing all the more? And if penal substitution is true, where is the line between sin and God’s will? If it was God’s will for Jesus to be betrayed, tried, and executed, was it still sin? Is that a unique case where sin is actually God’s will?

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Jack Wellman April 9, 2021 at 12:27 pm

The Bible says it only takes one sin to deserve the wrath of God in hell. It was God’s will for Jesus to be betrayed but He is not the author of evil. Judas is responsible for his actions. God’s will is never sin. We do fine on our own without God’s help. James says we are all carried away by our own lusts. The thief was saved by believing in Jesus. There was no time for repentance. What is your main concern as you seem unhappy with God’s redemptive plan, like He could have done this or that better and is responsible for sin. Have you talked with your pastor about this, yes or no? If not, why not? If yes, what did he say to these things? I suggest a good study Bible (the MacArthur Study ESV is great).

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