Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:24-30)
At the time in Judah, wheat and tares (weeds) looked identical to one another, and grew in the same conditions. What’s the only thing that can determine the difference? According to Jesus it’s time and ultimately Him. “Tares”…we know they exist and we know they are there. They sit next to us in church. They can even lead the church. They worship with us in song. They study The Bible with us, and in the case of “the field” in the parable, well, “the field” represents the entire world. In other terms, they walk our walk and they talk our talk. From all outward appearances the tares are just like you and me. It’s highly likely that you’ve noticed a few possible tares here and there on your journey with Jesus, and if you’re someone like me, than it’s also highly likely that you were tempted to pull that tare out by it’s roots. Yet, our Lord says this action or “mentality” is wrong. Why? Wouldn’t it make sense to discard all the bad players so all that’s left are the good players? It’s extremely tempting and provocative because when we begin to notice the slight differences in the tare it’s in our very nature to call them out and immediately categorize and place that person in a “penalty box”, or even outside “the box”. Here’s why it’s not up to you and me to pull out a tare.
Ask yourself this…who was it that knew Judas Iscariot was not who he seemed to be? Was it Peter? Was it John? Was it James? No, it was Jesus. Yes, there were signs or subtle hints along the way to indicate that Judas was not a true believer. You and I notice these signs when we read the scriptures, but Jesus himself puts the matter to rest when he says…
The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. (Matthew 26:24)
Jesus knows Judas serves a purpose, and that is to fulfill prophecy by betraying Him.
“And I said unto them, If you think good, give me my hire; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my hire thirty pieces of silver. And Jehovah said unto me, Cast it unto the potter, the goodly price that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them unto the potter, in the house of Jehovah” (Zechariah 11:12-13)
The prophet foretells a “haggling” on the price of Jesus’s capture. He even foretells the exact amount and type of currency that will be used by Judas in the Temple when meeting with the Pharisees. Are there people born only to be eternally separated from God? Yes. Does God send these people to Hell? No. I know it’s a hard concept to grasp, I don’t fully grasp it myself, but scripture tells us this is the case. This means there are some who are born, and before their birth, God knows they are going to Hell. There is no way to change their predicament, and they still genuinely 100% freely “choose” Hell when they are living. It’s an utterly mind numbing profound conundrum that speaks of the very nature of free will and it’s association with space and time. Paul reiterates this fact of God knowing everything before anything on numerous occasions in the book of Romans.
“…does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.” (Romans 9:21-23)
From the outside looking in this may seem extremely unfair and an absolute injustice. However, once again, we must remind ourselves that Gods ways are not our ways. Cutting edge science is beginning to indicate that there are potential “realities” that may be measurable based on possibilities. The world is calling this “the multiverse theory”, but once again, you and I know the true answer to this worldly “mystery” because scripture tells us that God knows every decision we will potentially make and He knows the life or outcome said decision will lead to. Stop and think for a moment how many thoughts you have in a day that entail a choice. God knows the thought before you even have that thought. Let’s take it one step further, He knew you would have that thought even before He created the universe, and He knows the choice you will make before you make the choice. Then He knows every possible outcome and where they will ultimately lead based on the possible choices you have. Finally, you genuinely and freely make the choice. The very Bible itself proves God knows and controls every outcome of every possibility from Genesis to Revelation.
So if God controls every decision then what is “free will”? Let me rephrase this question. If God controls every decision then how do we recognize sin? God gave us the ability to do something very special, and that is to make choices in order for us to realize when we are not choosing Him. He designed us with something called a “conscience” which is why we know from a very early age when we do “bad”. He also handed down laws to Moses so we would know exactly what sin is. Having said all this, if God knows and controls every outcome of every decision than do we really make choices? The Bible says “yes” and it says “no”. This, Christian, is THE paradox and if you truly have the answer to this question that has stumped Biblical scholars and philosophers since the word was handed down to mankind, than my friend you can take a seat right next to Jesus in Heaven because you have the mind of God.
One cannot lose their salvation. Scripture shouts this out over and over again. Does God make mistakes? No, once you are saved then YOU ARE SAVED. Judas Iscariot was a tare among wheat. He followed Christ, but was never a Christ follower. If someone calls out “Lord, Lord”, and actively continues to turn away from Him without a repentant heart then this person was never a Christian in the first place. What does Judas do when he begins to endure guilt over betraying Jesus? He tries to make things better on his own terms and throws the money back over to the pharisees instead of dropping to his knees and begging for forgiveness from our Lord. Yes, I understand Judas may have been able to cast out demons just like the other apostles, and I know Mark says this is one of the signs that someone is a Christian, but can God influence demons and those who are destined to eternal damnation? Absolutely…who was Baalam? Why was Saul able to summon Samuel from the dead through a necromancer? Whom did God dispatch to lie to king Ahab? Who were the Magi? If you can lose eternal salvation then it’s not eternal at all.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us” (1 John 2:19:)
John makes it very clear…once saved, always saved. There are numerous passages that prove this fact and no passages that indicate we can lose our salvation. Show me the passage that states a person can lose their salvation and I’ll show you why it means, in all likelihood, that this person was never a Christian in the first place. However, only God truly knows. Here are the facts, and I’d like to first say that I am in no way trying to portray anyone in a negative light. All I’m doing is calling out plain history. “Losing your salvation” was heavily portrayed in the early Eastern Orthodox tradition, then Roman Catholicism and then eventually Catholicism. Why? Control. If you preach a salvation that is works based you can control the masses. Therefore salvation is not a free gift, instead it comes with a price rather than Christ already having paid the price for you. This is the very nature behind these traditions’ continual atonement for sin. You either bent the knee to the emperor’s “Christianity” or you and your entire family would be put to death. This bred a world of “tares” whom the Roman Empire could control under the guise of “Christianity”. It’s also the reason why some of our Christian celebrations are infused with pagan beliefs such as Christmas and Easter. These “tares” that were created by the empire were “Christian” on paper, but also followed their pagan beliefs as well. This mentality to create a world full of Christians by force is what led to the Christian Crusades. One of the darkest periods of mankind. Dare I ask, how many soldiers who put the sword to men, women, and children had the parable of the wheat and the tares in their minds at the time? It doesn’t matter whether their target was the Muslim nation or not. The crusades are a perfect reason why we cannot pull a tare out of the field. It’s not our duty to do so nor our calling. Even Christ says we do not even have the ability to know who truly is a tare and in attempting to uproot one we may be sending grief towards a brother or sister in Christ.
The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
No, Christian, instead separating the wheat and the tares is up to Jesus and the angels whether it’s by rapture or by death. God can only judge someone’s final destination, because he already knew before the beginning of time. We cannot and should not judge someone’s salvation. We can only take notice and approach someone else’s sin if we ourselves are not struggling with the same sin. We should deal with other’s sin with love and understanding not with the intent to assassinate one’s character. Why, because when we see a brother or sister in Christ struggling this shouldn’t elevate us above them instead it should remind us that we struggle too. Our job is to make sure that our eyes are not fixed on the tares, but fixed on being the wheat.