19 August, 2018

Psalm 41:9—“Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted … hath lifted up his heel against me”

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me (Ps. 41:9).

This text is sometimes used to teach that Jesus must have loved Judas Iscariot, and is therefore an example of a love of Christ for the reprobate (aka, a “common grace”).
The argument is usually that Judas, according to this passage, is said to be Jesus’ “familiar friend.” We usually love our friends, at least a little; therefore Jesus must also have loved Judas to some extent …


Q. 1. “How can Judas be called Jesus’ ‘familiar friend’ (Ps. 41:9) and yet Jesus did not love him? Surely his being a ‘friend’ must imply some form of love for Judas, on the part of Jesus? After all, don’t we love our friends?”

With regards to this question, Acts 1:17 explains “familiar friend” in Psalm 41.  Judas was numbered with the disciples and obtained part of the ministry of special discipleship.  He was in the position of friend and officebearer in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.  “Friend” therefore does not describe Jesus’ attitude toward Judas.  Any reference to personal relation is to Judas’ professed attitude toward Jesus, not to Jesus’ attitude towards Judas. (Prof. David J. Engelsma, 06/08/2018)


Q. 2. “Can we not say that Christ did love Judas … but only the human Christ?—whereas the divine Christ (and God) did not love him, since Judas was eternally decreed to be a vessel of wrath for the lake of fire (Matt. 7:23; 25:41; John 17:12)? After all, there are differences between the human (nature of) Christ and the divine (nature of) Christ. The latter is impassable and happy forever and cannot be sad. The former is lower in nature than God. Of course, Christ's human nature and divine nature are in one Person. But can they not love differently? They can certainly ‘feel’ differently?”

The effort to have Jesus’ loving His and God’s reprobate enemies by distinguishing Jesus’ human and divine natures fails and is dangerous.  For one thing, it puts confusion into Jesus.  He Himself is at odds with Himself.  As God, He hates; as human, He loves.  In addition, His attitude towards Judas concerns Himself in the office of God's Messiah.  As Messiah, He either hates or loves Judas.  Also, as Messiah, He reveals God.  If He loved Judas, He also worked, unsuccessfully, as Messiah, to save Judas, including the cross, which was the supreme work of the Messiah.  Then, as Messiah, He failed.  And whatever may have been the attitude of Jesus as Messiah toward Judas was also the attitude of God, for Jesus came as Messiah to do the will of God.  If Jesus loved Judas, God loved Judas with a love that sought Judas’ salvation.  This is the theology of Pelagianism and Arminianism.  Dordt and Westminster refute this theology.
Involved in the error is the error of two kinds of love in Jesus with all the serious implications of two loves:  one a saving, and the other a non-saving.  What really is gained by a non-saving love over a denial that Jesus loves the reprobate at all? (Prof. David J. Engelsma, 06/08/2018)

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