1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty”
In the early days of the church, new believers arose by the thousands while faithful men and women spanned the globe bringing the good news of salvation. As Paul went out on his missionary journeys there were those who accompanied him in doing the work of God, Demas was one such man.
Demas is mentioned a few times in Paul’s letters to the church. In Philemon Demas is listed as a fellow worker, in Colossians along with Luke by a greeting, and then in 2 Timothy chapter 4, a different perspective is given.
2 Timothy 4:9-10 “Make every effort to come to me quickly, because Demas, in his love of this world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.”
Some have described Demas as “Paul’s Judas”, a scathing rebuke for the greatest form of betrayal it’s a harsh title for a man that was still wrestling with the flesh.
John Bunyan, author of the “Pilgrim’s Progress”, used Demas as an example of a deceiver and yet a fellow pilgrim, similarly as Paul described him as a “fellow worker”.
What made Demas’ betrayal so troubling for Paul was the timing and nature of his betrayal. Not only had Demas left Paul, he left him in a lurch, or in other words, at a moment of great need. Paul was in prison, facing a death sentence and it was at that time Demas chose to leave.
We don’t know for sure what motivated Demas at that time, for most people fear is a driving force as well as uncertainty or family matters. Whatever the reason, Demas bailed when the going wasn’t going so smooth. Paul summarized it as a love for the world, but letting go of securities in the midst of insecurity is a great obstacle to overcome for anyone.
1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
What do think brings true security in life?
Does having enough money, a good job, working out, eating healthy, do any of these things bring security?
What about safety, feeling safe and secure is a multi-million billion dollar industry, systems are used in computers, businesses, homes, and land borders, all in trying to maintain security.
The hope of Demas is the hope of the world. A noble task seems great until trouble comes along and presents an uncertain future. Sacrifice seems suitable for applause until the sacrifice encroaches on your comfort. Whatever the cause, the question has to be asked, am I only available as long as the road is easy?
Revelation 2:26 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—”
Overcoming this world isn’t done with weapons of war, overcoming this world is done by a faith in God that carries forth until the end. Regardless of what God leads you into, you have the confident assurance He will see you through. The task may not be enjoyable, but for those who follow Christ, the promise isn’t for comfort but for something else.
The journey of a servant of God receives God’s grace during the trial and at the end of line. What He promises is far more valuable than anything this world can provide.
Demas’ departure from Paul was very hurtful to him. It’s difficult going through the fire and then being left alone.
Does Demas’ departure indicate a loss of salvation?
Descriptions of Demas are as a fellow worker with Paul and others who served faithfully in administration of the gospel. This trait of servitude does not qualify an individual as being saved by grace, anyone can learn the gospel and work in ministry. The manner by which Demas left does not indicate an abdication of his faith nor does it signify having never been saved.
In case anyone has a false assumption regarding ‘Christians’……they still wrestle with sin!
The question isn’t whether a believer in Christ can stumble and fall, it’s how they respond to stumbling that indicates a difference in their spirit. The Spirit of God indwells a man or woman of God and so habitual sinning becomes a miserable state to dwell in. The loss of fellowship with God occurs when sin is at the forefront of a person’s character, and love dissipates into self-denial and doubt. The most miserable person on earth (I believe) is a Spirit filled believer who tries to acquiesce to the world.
If you are indeed a believer, if you have partaken of the things of God and have known the fellowship of His presence in your life, you are under grace.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Grace cannot be removed by sin, to the contrary, it covers it. Demas’ failure was not a denial of his faith but more of a reflection of his character. If he was truly a christian, he was weak in the area of having faith and a steadfast spirit. If lacking consistency in one’s life is a negation of salvation, I am hopelessly lost.
I can relate to Demas because I can relate to fear and weakness. It is so easy to become busy doing ministry, that you forget to spend time alone in prayer or in honest fellowship with other believers which allows for a time of strengthening. Walking in the Spirit is not just being obedient in service, it is being obedient in quieting yourself and listening. Allowing for the Spirit to administer truth into your life through the Word of God is likewise critical in growth and maturity.
If the repentant sinner has the expectation of God’s grace, then the expectation is the same for ourselves. Paul was undoubtedly frustrated, I’m sure later on He would have welcomed Demas back with open arms, that kind of godly love was evident throughout his life.
We must not forget who we are and from where we have come and become too harsh with those who are weaker in their faith. Remembering to allow for those times of refreshing and strengthening so that we don’t become vulnerable to the enemies attack. In doing so, we will find ourselves becoming stronger than we ever thought possible.
By God’s grace of course.