"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world and is departed into Thessalonica." (2 Timothy 4:10a) Paul was writing under Holy Spirit inspiration to his young protege Timothy and to 'us' concerning his soon departure. He was sentenced to death by Roman Emperor Nero and then martyred for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ felt alone while his disciples scattered during time of trial and crucifixion. This apostle now felt humanly abandoned but yet, comforted from the Lord.
Demas had been converted to Christ. He is also mentioned as a companion and fellow laborer with Paul during the apostle's first imprisonment at Rome. Colossians 4:14 says "Luke, the beloved physician, and 'Demas' greet you." He is referenced again in Philemon 24: "Marcus, Aristarchus, 'Demas,' Lucas my fellow laborers."
From the opening scripture in 2 Timothy it appears that the love of the world's attractions caused Demas to part company with Paul. John writes in his first epistle chapter 2; verses 15 and 16: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love 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 pride of life, is 'not' of the Father, but is of the world." (KJV) The Bible declares that we 'must' overcome the world, the flesh and the Devil during our Christian journey.
Demas was lured away into Thessalonica, a large populous, capital city, in one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia. One theological opinion suggests that Thessalonica was renown for its brothel houses and other locations of "ill repute." Perhaps, Demas had an illicit desire for this perversion. Paul's wayward 'fellow laborer' was not unlike any of us who may yield to sin's deception. This man had been converted to Christ and then gave us his faith. There is no evidence that Demas ever returned to Paul or to the Lord.
I enjoy watching the video presentation of John Bunyan's best selling classic book "Pilgrims' Progress." A young family man named "Pilgrim" who later is called "Christian," leaves the sinful "City of Destruction." On this quest for heaven, he is constantly troubled by Satan's attacks, schemes and traps. While accompanied by three different companions named Pliable, Faithful and Hopeful, he sojourns through many pitfalls such as: "The Slough of Despond" and "Doubting Castle" hosted by "Giant Despair." At one point "Christian" and "Faithful" stop at "Vanity Fair." Here, the worldly town people are entangled in sordid pleasures. Being offended by the testimony of these heaven bound saints, the inhabitants proceed to cruelly mock, laugh, lampoon and attempt to subvert their faith in God. After "Faithful" is burned at the stake, "Christian" and "Hopeful" continue their perilous journey until reaching the Celestial City.
In reality as with "Vanity Fare," we live in an evil, carnal, "carnival atmosphere." Anyone who dares to preach the word of God during these times is often mocked. "God is not mocked"; "whatsoever a person sows, they're going to reap." Today's attitude, as it has been through the ages, is "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."
This world is 'temporal.' Paul's life was to end and he was going to inherit eternal life. Demas decides that the pleasures and comfort zone of 'this' life was more important. Hebrews chapter 11, salutes the heroes of faith. "By faith," Moses after being raised in Egyptian luxury and comfort, 'refused' to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." The epistle of James, chapter four, speaks that "life is a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away." Wise Solomon mentions the "vanity of vanities," throughout Ecclesiastes.
As truly born again, sanctified and Holy Ghost filled Christian, we too are pilgrims and strangers in this present world and should 'abstain from ungodly lusts which war against the soul.' Was Demas frightened and offended, knowing Paul's fate? The biblical account of him is limited to three passages. However, these references should serve as a warning to followers of Jesus Christ to remain 'steadfast and unmovable' in God. Paul discerns the motives of Demas' departure and God's word says Paul marveled about foolish Galatians who quickly left their faith in Christ.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times (now) some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron." (1 Timothy 4:1-2) Second Timothy chapter 3:1-8 describes our current 'perilous' age: "men shall be lovers of their own selves." Some, so called "church hopping" Christians are described by Paul and others as 'not' enduring 'sound' doctrine but desiring to find teachers who will tickle their 'itching' ears. As Christians, shall we love this present world and depart from the faith in Jesus Christ?
Whether your belief in Christ is based strictly on 'Calvinistic' theology which promotes 'irresistible grace,' or Armenian theology which adheres to 'conditional grace;' or anything else; The word of God speaks for mankind to repent. God's mercy and grace is sufficient. You must be born again and washed in the blood of the lamb. Once born again, we must endure until the end to be eternally saved. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. God's word informs us of 'only' two eternal destinations.
(The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author's church affiliation.)