27.Satan entered into him. As it is certain that it was only at the instigation of Satan that Judas formed the design of committing so heinous a crime, why is it now said, for the first time, that Satan entered into him, who had already held the throne in his heart? But as they who are more fully confirmed in The faith which they formerly possessed are often said tobelieve, and thus an increase of their faith is called faith, so now that Judas is utterly given up to Satan, so as to be hurried on, by vehement impetuosity, to every extremity of evil, Satan is said to have entered into him. For as the saints make gradual progress, and in proportion to the new gifts by which they are continually enlarged, they are said to be filled with the Holy Spirit; so, in proportion as wicked men provoke the anger of God against themselves by their ingratitude, The Lord deprives them of his Spirit, of all light of reason, and, indeed, of all human feeling, and delivers them unreservedly to Satan. This is a dreadful vengeance of God, when men are given up to a reprobate mind, (Rom_1:28,) so that they scarcely differ at all from the brutes, and — what is worse — fall into horrid crimes from which the brutes themselves would shrink. We ought, therefore, to walk diligently in the fear of the Lord, lest, if we overpower his goodness by our wickedness, he at length give us up to the rage of, Satan.
By giving the sop, Christ did not give an opportunity to Satan, but rather Judas, having received the sop, gave himself up entirely to Satan. It was, indeed, the occasion, but not the cause. His heart, which was harder than iron, ought to have been softened by so great kindness showed to him by Christ; and now his desperate and incurable obstinacy deserves that God, by his just judgment, should harden his heart still more by Satan. Thus, when, by acts of kindness to enemies, we heap coals of fire on their heads, (Rom_12:20,) if they are utterly incurable, they are the more enraged and inflamed (55) to their destruction. And yet no blame is due, on this account, to our kindness, by which their hearts ought to have been inflamed to love us.
Augustine was wrong in thinking that this sop was an emblem of the body of Christ, since it was not during the Lord’ Supper that it was given to Judas. It is also a very foolish dream to imagine that the devil entered essentially — as the phrase is — into Judas; for the Evangelist speaks only of the power and efficacy of Satan. This example reminds us what a dreadful punishment awaits all those who profane the gifts of the Lord by abusing them.
What thou doest, do quickly. The exhortation addressed by Christ to Judas is not of such a nature that he can be regarded as exciting him to do the action: it is rather the language of one who views the crime with horror and detestation. (56) Hitherto he had endeavored, by various methods, to bring him back, but to no purpose. Now he addresses him as a desperate man, “ to destruction, since you have resolved to go to destruction;” and, in doing so, he performs the office of a, judge, who condemns to death not those whom he, of his own accord, desires to ruin, but those who have already ruined themselves by their own fault. In short, Christ does not lay Judas under the necessity of perishing, but declares him to be what he had formerly been.
(55) “Ils se despitent et enflamment davantage.”
(56) “C’ plustost la parole d’ homme qui a en horreur et detestation quelque forfait.”