Search Your Own Heart
Do you know who is most likely to be a Judas in this church? I am. As the Senior Pastor, I stand in the closest analogy to the place where Judas stood. Someone says, “Surely not you, Pastor.” That’s what they said about Judas. Remember, the shock of Judas’ betrayal was that he looked so good on the outside. If I can tell you this story without searching my own heart, then I have missed the point.
I want you to know that I truly believe in the assurance of salvation through the Word of God and the testimony of the Holy Spirit. I’m not in favor of constant introspection about whether or not you are a Christian. But there is a place for healthy self-examination in the Christian life. No one should take for granted his hope of heaven. I wish to say clearly that as I have considered the matter this week, the thought occurs to me that if I am a Christian at all, it is not because I am a pastor, an elder, a church member, a husband, a father, or a doer of good deeds. None of those things matter in the least when it comes to eternal salvation. If I am a Christian at all, it is because I am trusting in Jesus Christ and him alone for the forgiveness of my sins. I’m staking my hope of heaven on the fact that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. If he can’t take me to heaven, then I’m not going there.
Judas does us a favor if his story causes us to rethink our basic commitment to Jesus Christ. You call yourself a Christian. But are you a true follower or are you just going through the motions? Are you a pretender or a true believer? Have you truly turned from your sins and trusted Jesus Christ as Savior? Are you a fair-weather friend of the Savior?
These are searching questions that may be easier to ask than to answer. I ask you not to take them lightly. The one main lesson from Judas’ life is lost unless we at least ask ourselves the questions.
After all, if one can be an apostle of Christ and still be lost, what about you and what about me? Perhaps we may conclude the matter this way. One apostle was lost, that none should presume. Eleven were saved, that none should despair. In the end, most of us who call ourselves Christians will search our hearts and conclude that Yes, although we fail him in many ways, we do love Jesus and claim him as our Savior. That is as it should be. The story of Judas is in the Bible for many reasons, not the least of which is that before we take anything for granted, we at least ask the question the other apostles asked that fateful night: “Lord, is it I?"
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries and author of And When You Pray. He has ministered extensively overseas and is a frequent conference speaker and guest on Christian radio and television talk shows. He has authored over 27 books, including Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul, and Why Did This Happen to Me?
This article was adapted from Dr. Pritchard's Crosswalk.com article, "What Happened to Judas?"
Photo Credit: Unsplash