Grace Baptist Devotional
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
If you were asked which person ended up being closer to Christ, who would you say? A man who spent time with Jesus as an Apostle, saw miracles, ate with, traveled with and listened to Christ daily? Or a Pharisee who persecuted Christians even unto death and had them thrown into prison (Acts 22:4)?
Yes, I’m speaking of Judas and Paul, but your probably knew that. We have the benefit of hindsight and are able to see the story through a different lens. We know the story. We know how it ended, But pause for a moment before reading on (this is important) and as best you can, put this hindsight information behind you.
The Bible is full of examples and warnings about self-deception. Sometimes because of modern life with all of its medicines, large cities and technological marvels we tend to (probably unjustly) think of people who lived “back then” as overly simple. Just as if you heard of someone in today’s age successfully healing an advanced ailment or bringing back someone from total verifiable clinical death, you would likely have a very hard time accepting it. So it was in the time of Jesus’s earthly ministry that people had a hard time accepting “the impossible”.
So for Judas, it’s not as if he was selected one day, and became the betrayer the very next day. He had the benefit of actually seeing these miracles and was self-deceived. Its important to realize:
At some point, Judas was personally selected by Jesus.
He heard the teachings of Jesus and traveled with him.
Judas personally saw miracles.
He traveled with believers (other Apostles) and fellowshipped with them, he likely enjoyed the company of his friends, sometimes laughing with them, sometimes crying with them.
He had to have seemed trustworthy, he was the one who handled the money after all.
He was able to deceive the other Apostles for awhile.
As close as he was; hearing parables straight from the Son of God, he missed it. If Judas was running an errand with the money in town and you saw him and asked him a question, it’s likely he could have quoted Jesus himself, could have taken you back to camp to meet Him and tell you the time and date of his latest miracle. Likewise, there are those who know a lot about Jesus but they don’t know Jesus. Like meeting Judas in town, they could probably answer your questions with raw facts and even wow you with their research and book knowledge of the Lord.
With this I turn to bearing of fruits. The Bible says in Matthew in 7:17-20
So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Despite Judas being an Apostle, we see evidence of an unchanged life. Judas (the apostle) who traveled with Jesus, stole from the money bag - John 12:6
Paul who persecuted Christians, on first impression, the one you would not think close to Christ ended with a lifetime of spreading the gospel all over.
If you were to go to a quiet place and ask yourself about your own fruits, how would you respond? Is there evidence of a changed life? Has the old been put to death and are you a new creation?
Is there any desire to read the Bible?
Do you care about others? Do you do something about it?
Are you kind, gentle and patient or quick to argue?
Do you have a desire to see others come to salvation?
Do you have a desire for righteousness, even when it’s unpopular.
Galatians 5:22-23 tell us: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
To be sure, I am not saying works of any kind lead to salvation, but a saved life should produce good fruits of the Spirit. I’m simply saying, Judas traveled with Jesus and listened to scripture, attended Jesus teachings of the people, believed the miracles and still never came to salvation by faith.
Jesus himself said: “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Mathew 7:22-23
In the end, we all sin, we’re not perfect and once justified, this life is a journey to be sanctified. Peter, event though he traveled with Jesus became a coward on the night before his crucifixion, yet believed in Jesus and was saved. Peter made a mistake, even after knowing Jesus, but went on to show great evidence of a changed life. That’s the question, is there evidence of a changed life? Does your life look any different from the time you came to salvation? This devotional isn’t meant to scare you, but it is meant to help you meaningfully reflect on a question only you can answer: Am I bearing fruit that gives evidence of a heart changed by Jesus.
Grace be with you.