Judas was one of the world’s worst sinners. He committed the world’s worst betrayal: he arranged for Jesus’s murder. If you want to know how God treats sinners, look at Judas. We catch a glimpse of it in John 13:1-30.
- God loves sinners. “He loved them to the end” (v 1). Even Judas. God loves the world (John 3:16). No exceptions.
- God demonstrates His love through service. Jesus “washed the disciples’ feet” (v 5). It was an act of humility and of sacrificial service. God demonstrates His love to sinners, even to Judas. The cross is the greatest demonstration of that sacrificial love.
- God privately warns sinners. God is not out to embarrass us. He is not out to get us. He wants to win your heart. When you sin, God begins by privately warning you. That’s what He did to Judas. Jesus warned the disciples, “You are not all clean” (vv 10, 11) and “He who eats bread with Me has lifted up His heel against Me” (v 18). The disciples did not know what Jesus was talking about (v 22). But I’m sure Judas knew. When you sin, God will send you a private warning. Maybe your conscience will sting. Maybe a verse of Scripture will convict you. But you’ll know you should stop.
- God publicly warns sinners. Judas did not repent at the private warning. So Jesus made a public one. But it was subtle. Only Judas and John knew. John asked Jesus who would betray Him. Jesus said, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread.” He gave the bread to Judas (vv. 24-26). At that moment, Judas knew that Jesus knew what he planned to do. He could have changed his mind. He could have rebuked the thought of betrayal that was planted in his heart. But he didn’t.
- God gives the sinner over to his desires. Judas still didn’t repent. He refused God’s love. He refused God’s service. He ignored the private warning. He ignored the public one. Instead, he persisted in rebelling against God. His mind was set. So what did God do? Did He send fire and brimstone? Did He stop Judas in his tracks? No. God punished Judas by giving him over to his sin. He let him go. Jesus told him, “What you do, do quickly” (v 27). And Judas left. And Judas reaped the bitter consequences of his betrayal. There comes a point in your life when God stops fighting your rebellion. He stops trying to draw you to Himself. There comes a moment when God gives you over to your sin (cf. Rom 1).
Don’t repudiate God’s love or loving warnings. When your conscience stings, come to your senses and return to God.