THE FALSE GOSPEL OF JUDAS!

by C. L. Cagan, Ph.D., M.Div., Ph.D., 
Deacon and Director of Education

A sermon preached on Lords Day Morning, February 11, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).


A strange religious book has caught the attention of people around the world. Since it was published last year it has sold over a million copies. The book has been made into a television special by the National Geographic Society. No, Im not talking about The Da Vinci Code. Im talking about another book, called The Gospel of Judas (edited and translated by Rodolphe Kasser, Marvin Meyer and Gregor Wurst; Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2006).

The Gospel of Judas? you say. Wasnt Judas the disciple who betrayed Jesus? Wasnt Judas the worst traitor in the history of the world? Yes, thats who Judas was, and thats what Judas did. The Gospel of Judas? Everything about the book, including the title, is false. First of all, it wasnt written by Judas! Second, its not the Gospel!

The so-called Gospel of Judas was written by a religious cult called the Gnostics, 150 years after the time of Christs ministry on earth. The name Gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, which means knowledge. The Gnostics believed that they had knowledge that no one else had, and that the way to be saved was to get this knowledge, and progress into the world of the spirit. In 180 A.D. Irenaeus, a Christian who defended the truth about Jesus, mentioned that some people were reading The Gospel of Judas in his book, Against Heresies. And Irenaeus said that The Gospel of Judas is really a book filled with heretical false teachings.

The Gospel of Judas says that Judas wasnt really a bad man. It says that Judas was the greatest disciple of Jesus, who actually did something very good when he handed Jesus over to be killed. As Dr. Marvin Meyer, one of the translators of the document, wrote, The Judas Iscariot of the Gospel of Judas is the betrayer of Jesus, but he is simultaneously the hero of the gospel (ibid., p. 3). This book truly is Christianity turned on its head (the title of a chapter in the book, presenting commentary by Dr. Bart D. Ehrman; ibid., p. 77). This gospel has a completely different understanding of God, the world, Christ, salvation, human existence (Ehrman, ibid., p. 80). According to this false Gospel, Jesus asked Judas to betray Him so He could be free from human flesh and enter the realm of pure spirit. In this book of deception and error, Jesus supposedly says to Judas, You will exceed all of them [the other disciples]. For you will sacrifice the man [my body] that clothes me [my spirit] (ibid., p. 43). For Jesus in The Gospel of Judas, death is no tragedy, nor is it a necessary evil to bring about the forgiveness of sins (Meyer, introductory notes; ibid., p. 4).

Ladies and gentlemen, that book is a lie from the Devil! It says that Jesus didnt die in order to pay for your sins but only to get rid of His body and become a spirit and that He didnt physically rise from the dead! As Dr. Ehrman comments, in the false Gospel of Judas,

There will be no resurrection. This is perhaps the key point of all. Jesus will not be raised from the dead in this book. Why would he be? The entire point of salvation is to escape this material worlda resurrection of the body is the very last thing that Jesus, or any of his true followers, would want [according to that false Gospel of Judas] (ibid., page 110).

To borrow a few words from Dr. A. W. Tozer, I call it heresy! The Gospel of Judas isnt the Gospel at all! It is what the Bible calls another gospel a false teaching about salvation, which denies the true meaning of Jesus death and resurrection.

Why are so many people interested in The Gospel of Judas today? Why, for the same reason that so many people were interested back in the second century the book tells people what they want to hear! As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians,

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another [it really isnt the gospel; in fact there isnt any other gospel]; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-7).

Is there another Gospel? Not in truth thats why Paul says which is not another in Galatians 1:7. There really isnt any other gospel! The Gospel of Judas is a forgery written late in the second century! Paul explained the real Gospel when he wrote to the Corinthians,

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospelthat Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures (I Corinthians 15:1, 3-4).

That is the only real Gospel! That is the only way to be saved! Jesus, who died and rose from the dead, is the only way to go to Heaven. All other world religions, all other systems of belief, lead to Hell! Thats why the Apostle Paul wrote,

If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).

Accursed! The Greek word translated accursed in the King James Bible is anathema the strongest possible condemnation. Christians are told to reject any so-called gospel which does not present salvation through the Bloody death of Jesus and His glorious physical resurrection!

You may say, What does the false Gospel of Judas have to do with me? Why are you talking about it? I say to you that its errors are just the same errors that unconverted people throughout all the centuries of history have believed and followed in their lives. They are the same lies that are so often believed today. I will give you four of these lies.

I. First, the lie that salvation comes by learning.

The so-called Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic book, not written by Judas, but forged by the Gnostic heretics. The word Gnostic comes from the Greek word gnosis, which means knowledge. These Gnostic heretics believed that salvation doesnt come by the Bloody death and the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, but instead through a process of learning of receiving some sort of secret knowledge. Thats why the introduction to the English translation of the Gospel of Judas says,

In the central part of this gospel, Jesus teaches Judas the mysteries of the universe. In the Gospel of Judas, as in the other Gnostic gospels, Jesus is primarily a teacher and revealer of wisdom and knowledge, not a savior who dies for the sins of the world (ibid. p. 7).

In The Gospel of Judas itself, Christ supposedly said to Judas,

Come, that I may teach you about secrets no person has ever seen (ibid., p. 33).

Wow! Secrets no person has ever seen! Thats exactly what lost people want to hear! They want secret knowledge! They dont want to see themselves as law-breaking, God-offending sinners who deserve to go to Hell and can only be forgiven by the Blood of Jesus shed on the Cross. No, they want to hear some secret some teaching and think of themselves as growing through learning. And this false gospel presents Jesus as a great teacher just as do the non-Christian religions of the world. Hinduism says that Christ was one of the great religious teachers of the world. Islam says that Jesus was one of the great prophets. Many people are glad to accept Jesus as merely a great teacher. But only a few will humble themselves before Him as God the Son, who alone can save them by His death and physical resurrection!

Some people today want to be saved by learning about Christianity. They think, If I can study and learn the historical facts and doctrines about Jesus, and believe those things, Ill be saved. If I can learn enough about the Bible and Christian doctrine, Ill be saved. If someone would teach me how to be a Christian, Im good enough to do it.

The Bible describes people like that as

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (II Timothy 3:7).

Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He is the truth! You can never be converted you can never enter Heaven by studying and learning doctrine or Bible facts! You can only be saved by the Blood of Jesus Himself!

If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).

II. Second, the lie that salvation is an achievement,
something earned by good works.

The Gospel of Judas teaches that salvation is a great human work an achievement. In that false gospel, Judas is presented as the best and highest Christian of all, who does a very good deed by betraying Jesus, which moved Him into the spirit world by handing Christ over to be killed. By doing this, Judas supposedly shows that he is far above all other Christians, and Jesus supposedly benefited from Judas betrayal by getting out of His body and becoming a pure spirit creature. In that false book, Jesus says to Judas,

You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man [that is, my human body] that clothes me [that is, my spirit]
      (ibid., p. 43).

That forged book says Judas will exceed the other Christians he will be better than all of them, do a greater work, advance higher than the others. It says he will perform the greatest achievement of all.

Yes, we all know that what Judas did was actually bad, not good. But this morning I want you to focus on something else the whole idea that religion is a set of good deeds and achievements, a path to progress and moving up by human works. If this were true, people could boast (and brag) about what they had achieved. But the true Scriptures teach salvation by grace alone, without human works or achievements. The Bible says,

Now to him that worketh [thinks he can be saved by his achievements] is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt [something he deserves, that is owed to him] (Romans 4:4).

The Bible says that salvation is not of works, lest any man should boast [or brag] (Ephesians 2:9). No, you have nothing to brag about! You have nothing to brag about! You have nothing good in yourself and thats why youve got to be saved by grace, looking to Jesus, not to yourself! Then youll be able to brag about Jesus and what He did for you!

The Bible teaches the exact opposite of what lost sinners want to believe. The Bible says that people are dead in sins (Ephesians 2:5). You are born as a son or daughter of Adam, with a sinful nature that is turned against God and turned toward selfishness. Because you have this nature, you have committed actual, particular sins in your own life. You have nothing in yourself with which you can please God, because you are wicked in your heart and sinful in your life.

But thank God, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (I Timothy 1:15). Thank God that when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). Jesus did not come to teach us how to be better people or how to achieve salvation by our own good works or human decisions. He came to die for sinners like you! The Bible says,

But God commendeth [shows] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:8-9).

All praise and thanks to Jesus Christ for giving His Blood for sinners like you and me!

If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).

III. Third, the lie that salvation is found through a personal leading
outside the Bible.

It was common for Gnostics to believe that each person was associated with his own star, which was to be his guiding light. Early in The Gospel of Judas, Christ says, Judas, your star has led you astray (ibid., p. 31). But then the Jesus of this false gospel gives a long set of strange and secret teachings to Judas which none of the other disciples understand, and finally sends Judas out to betray Him unto death, saying, You will exceed all of them. For you will sacrifice the man that clothes me (ibid., p. 43). After giving Judas this so-called enlightenment, Jesus praises the star that supposedly led Judas, telling him, Your star has shone brightly (ibid.). Then the false Jesus tells Judas that his star will lead the way for him, saying,

Look, you have been told everything. Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star (ibid., pages 43-44).

That sounds just like what is taught and believed in much of the world today follow your own leading, follow your heart, even follow your star. It is proclaimed on television, in the movies, and in secular music. Follow your heart. Follow your guiding star. Do what your heart tells you. Trust your feelings. Its no surprise that the false Gospel of Judas is in perfect agreement with modern pop-psychology. They both spring from the same root the proud and corrupted will of man, who wants to trust his own heart rather than the true Jesus of the Holy Scriptures.

But the Bible says there is something wrong with your heart. You must not trust your own heart. Your thoughts and feelings go this way and that and play tricks on you. In fact, your heart is evil and lies to you, leading you down the wrong path and not in the narrow way that leads to life in Christ (cf. Matthew 7:14). The Bible says,

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

Its a terrible mistake to trust your own thoughts and feelings. Its a terrible mistake to follow a personal leading rather than the Bible. Its a terrible mistake to trust your own heart, and follow your own star. The Bible says,

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool (Proverbs 28:26).

Theres no point in looking to your depraved, unconverted heart. In your heart is only sin and confusion. You must look outside of your sinful heart to Jesus Christ Himself, up in Heaven, praying for you.

If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).

IV. Fourth, the lie that salvation comes without the bodily resurrection and
Blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of Judas says that Jesus will not be raised from the dead in a physical body that would be considered a step backward to the Gnostic heretics! Instead, Jesus would become a spirit. Thats why Ehrman explains in his commentary on The Gospel of Judas,

There will be no resurrection. This is perhaps the key point of all. Jesus will not be raised from the dead in this book [The Gospel of Judas]. Why would he be? The entire point of salvation is to escape this material worlda resurrection of the body is the very last thing that Jesus, or any of his true followers, would want [according to this false gospel] (ibid., page 110).

The physical resurrection of Jesus was the last thing that Gnostic heretics wanted but I for one am glad that Jesus rose physically from the dead! In fact, without the bodily resurrection of Christ, no one can be saved! The Book of Romans tells us that we shall be saved by his life (Romans 5:10) and says that Jesus was raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25). In fact, the Bible goes so far as to say,

If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins (I Corinthians 15:17).

Thats right! If you arent saved by the resurrected Christ, you are yet in your sins you are still lost and going to Hell. The Holy Scriptures teach that Jesus rose physically, not as a spirit!

Millions of people today, even some who call themselves Christians, believe in a spirit-Christ, similar to the Gnostic false spirit Christ of The Gospel of Judas. They think that Christ rose from the dead as a spirit and that He is in Heaven as a spirit now. But the Apostolic Holy Scriptures teach that Jesus rose in a physical, flesh and bone resurrected body. After He rose from the dead, Christ said,

Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet (Luke 24:39-40).

After Jesus rose from the dead, Thomas, one of His Disciples, still did not believe in Him. Thomas said,

Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God
      (John 20:25-28).

Why did Jesus show the Disciples His hands and His feet, and invite them to feel Him? Why did Jesus invite Thomas to touch His hands and side? To show that He did not rise as a spirit but in a physical, flesh and bone resurrected body that people could touch and handle. That is the only real Christ and the only true Christ who can save anybody. If you believe that Christ is a spirit, you are trusting in a nonexistent and false Christ!

If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).

Whats more, in the false Gospel of Judas, Jesus wants Judas to sacrifice the man that clothes me (ibid., p. 43); that is, to take Jesus out of His body and change Him into a spirit. In that false gospel, the Bloody death of Jesus wasnt a sacrifice to pay for anyones sins. But the Bible says,

Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him (Romans 5:8-9).

If you are not justified declared as righteous in the sight of Almighty God with your sins covered by the Blood of Jesus, you are not justified at all. If you are not saved by the Christ who rose physically from the dead in a flesh and bone body, who ascended up to the right hand of God the Father in Heaven, you are not saved at all!

If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).

If you have some other trust in learning and doctrine alone, in your goodness and achievements, in your own heart, or anywhere else but the real flesh and bone resurrected Christ, Himself you dont believe the true Gospel. You are trusting what the Bible calls another gospel. Jesus gave these solemn words,

He that entereth not by the doorbut climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber (John 10:1).

The physically resurrected Christ is the true door. If you try to enter into salvation in any other way, Jesus calls you a thief and a robber. He said, I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved (John 10:9). There is no other door into eternal life. Jesus said,

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).

Give up on yourself. Give up on what you have believed and trusted. Come to Jesus. Enter in to Him. Have your sins washed away by His Blood. Receive new life through His physical resurrection. I pray that you will come to the physically risen Christ by faith this morning. Amen.

If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Galatians 1:6-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
Faith of our Fathers (by Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1863).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE FALSE GOSPEL OF JUDAS!

by Dr. C. L. Cagan


If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:9).

(Galatians 1:6-7; I Corinthians 15:1, 3-4)

I.   First, the lie that salvation comes by learning, II Timothy 3:7;
John 14:6.

II.  Second, the lie that salvation is an achievement, something
earned by good works, Romans 4:4; Ephesians 2:9, 5;
I Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:6, 8-9.

III. Third, the lie that salvation is found through a personal
leading outside the Bible, Matthew 7:14; Jeremiah 17:9;
Proverbs 28:26.

IV.  Fourth, the lie that salvation comes without the bodily
resurrection and Blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ,
Romans 5:10; 4:25; I Corinthians 15:17; Luke 24:39-40;
John 20:25-28; Romans 5:8-9; John 10:1, 9; John 14:6.