Ed Stetzer Interviews Pastor Colin Smith on New Book ‘Heaven, So Near – So Far: the Story of Judas Iscariot’

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I am happy to welcome Colin Smith to The Exchange today. Colin is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard , a multi-campus church in the Chicago suburbs, and the teaching pastor for the daily radio program called Unlocking the Bible. We also have an academic partnership with Colin and The Orchard, offering master’s degrees through a partnership with Wheaton College. Colin recently wrote Heaven, So Near – So Far: The Story of Judas Iscariot .

Ed: Colin, why did you write a book about Judas?

Colin: I wrote the book because there are a growing number of people who are abandoning the faith that they once professed. I’m not just thinking about people in general, but specific people. Like, for example, a guy who was brought up in a Christian home, but no longer has an interest in the faith. Or a person who really extended herself in Christian ministry, but got disappointed and now no longer wants anything to do with Christianity. Or a couple who have experienced great difficulties in their lives, and they’ve moved away from a faith that they once professed so brightly.

I wrote it because I want to see people like these brought back to living faith in Jesus Christ.

Ed: Don’t you think it’s possible that Judas might be in heaven?

Colin: [Smiles] You know, Ed, that is the question I’m asked more than any other in relation to this book. I think part of the motivation is that if people can believe that Judas might be in heaven, it opens the door to believing that everyone will be in heaven.

But there is no way in the world that Judas is in heaven, and there are three scriptures that speak very clearly to this. First, on one occasion, Jesus said to the disciples, “One of you is a devil” (John 6:70). That’s what Jesus said about Judas. That’s not what Judas was at the beginning, but that’s what he became. Second, Jesus said to the disciples at the Last Supper, “You are clean, but not all of you” (John 13:10), referring to Judas. Finally, in John 17, Jesus says that he’s kept and preserved all of the disciples, “except the son of destruction” (17:12).

This is a sad truth, but it bears witness to the fact that there is a heaven to gain and there is a hell to avoid.

Ed: How does this relate to the doctrine of eternal security?

Colin: I am absolutely convinced that the Bible teaches the eternal security of all who are in Jesus Christ. Jesus makes this very, very clear. He says that “no one” shall snatch his sheep from his hand. My sheep will “never perish” (John 10:28).

But the question, of course, is: Who are Jesus’ sheep? And our Lord answers that question very clearly. He says that his sheep are the ones who hear his voice, and his sheep are the ones who follow him (John 10:27).

In the Bible, the evidence of true faith is that it perseveres. Now here’s what that means: If a person really belongs to Jesus, he or she will persevere in faith. And if a person has abandoned the faith that he or she once professed, and it was a true faith, you know what? That person will come back.

That’s my biggest prayer for this book: That there will be people who will read it and come back to faith in Jesus Christ, because their faith was real. True faith always perseveres. And faith that doesn’t persevere? It isn’t true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Source: Christianity Today