Question: "Was Judas Iscariot forgiven / saved?"
Answer: The Bible clearly indicates that Judas was not saved. Jesus Himself said of Judas, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24). Here is a clear picture of the sovereignty of God and the will of man working together. God had, from ages past, determined that Christ would be betrayed by Judas, die on the cross for our sins, and be resurrected. This is what Jesus meant when He said He would “go just as it is written about him.” Nothing would stop the plan of God to provide salvation for mankind.
However, the fact that it was all foreordained does not excuse Judas or absolve him from the punishment he would suffer for his part in the drama. Judas made his own choices, and they were the source of his own damnation. Yet the choices fit perfectly into the sovereign plan of God. God controls not only the good, but also the evil of man to accomplish His own ends. Here we see Jesus condemning Judas, but considering that Judas travelled with Jesus for nearly three years, we know He also gave Judas ample opportunity for salvation and repentance. Even after his dreadful deed, Judas could have fallen on his knees to beg God’s forgiveness. But he did not. He may have felt some remorse born of fear, which caused him to return the money to the Pharisees, but he never repented, preferring instead to commit suicide, the ultimate act of selfishness (Matthew 27:5-8).
In John 17:12, Jesus prays concerning His disciples, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” At one time, though, Judas believed that Jesus was a prophet, or possibly even believed He was the Messiah. Jesus sent the disciples out to proclaim the gospel and perform miracles (Luke 9:1-6). Judas was included in this group. Judas had faith, but it was not a true saving faith. Judas was never “saved,” but for a time he was a follower of Christ.