Regular Christians (Part 10): Demas

Regular Christians

Demas was one who fell away because he loved the world. Paul mentioned his unfortunate decision in his second letter to Timothy.

For Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…” (2 Timothy 4:10).

Previously, Demas had been a faithful Christian and a companion of the apostle Paul. He sent greetings to the church in Colossae when Paul wrote his letter to those brethren (Colossians 4:14). So we know that at one point, he made the commitment to follow Christ and put spiritual things first in order to press on to the goal of heaven. Yet some time after this, he decided that he preferred the things of the world over the things of God.

In the previous lesson, Jesus warned of persecution because His followers were not of the world: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). The reason for this hostility is because the world is under the power of Satan (1 John 5:19); therefore, the followers of Christ are the enemy. Because of this, James wrote, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). We cannot choose both God and the world for the same reason that a soldier cannot fight for two armies that are at war with one another.

John warned, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). There are two reasons why we must choose the things of God over the world.

  • This world is passing away – “The world is passing away, and also its lusts…” (1 John 2:17). The things of this world are only temporal. Therefore, if we choose to pursue the things of this world, we are choosing something that will not last.
  • God offers us a way to live forever – “…but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). The things of this world are temporal, yet God does not offer us a better alternative that is also temporal. Instead, He offers something that is not just better but eternal.

Satan tempts us with the things of this world. Remember the choice that Moses made: “Choosing to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). There are certain pleasures associated with sin – that is why sin is so popular among those in the world (and such a temptation for Christians). Yet we have not chosen to follow God based upon what will happen in this life. Paul told the brethren in Corinth, “If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). In other words, there is no point in following Christ if this world is all there is. But there is more than this life – we have the hope of eternal life in heaven with the Lord. Therefore, Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man gives in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Sadly, Demas chose to forfeit his soul for the things of this world.

Demas had fallen away by the time Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy. We do not know if he ever repented and returned to the Lord. However, we do have the Hebrew writer’s warning: “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6). While it is always possible for a fallen Christian to repent and return, it is difficult to do when they know the blessings and promises that come from following the Lord and then willfully reject them. Let us take this as a warning not to allow the world to pull us back into it.

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