Vol.XVIII No.X Pg.3
December 1981

A Costly Love Affair

Dan S. Shipley

"...for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world..." (2 Tim. 4:10). This is the third and final mention made of Demas in Paul's letters. In Col. 4:14, he is listed as one sending greetings to the Colossians. In Phlm. 24, he is named by Paul as a fellow-worker. Now, he is identified as a deserter from the Lord's work. Bible readers of all time have come to know Demas as a name of shame. We are not told whether his love for the world was centered on any one thing, but only that he loved it and what it caused him to do. No love affair ever cost more. Some have called what he paid "the high cost of low living". I agree, because he certainly did descend to a lower plane when he left the Lord to walk with the world. And just consider the costly consequences of his decision.

In the first place, what Demas did cost him fellowship with God. Recall the words of Jas .4:4. "Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God." So, Demas didn't just forsake Paul — he forsook God Himself! And no wonder, because, as John says, "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 Jn. 2:15) No doubt, Demas nor his modern counterparts would acknowledge being the enemies of God or not loving Him — few ever have. In fact many deluded disciples imagine themselves as being in God's favor while flirting with the world in a dignified and sophisticated way in their business and social affairs. Respectable trappings do not lessen the severity of the sin, they only deceive the worldling posing as a Christian. Every Demas becomes like the Gentiles of old, "having no hope and without God in the world." As Jesus asks, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul...?" (Matt. 16:26) For those who may think the sacrifice required in faithfulness costs too much, just remember the cost of unfaithfulness! Loving and living for the world carries the highest price mortal man can pay for anything!

But even beyond all that Demas did in hurting himself, consider what his desertion did to the cause of Christ. In addition to being deprived of a worker, it was also robbed of all the good Demas might have accomplished had he remained faithful. We can but wonder as to how many lives could have been helped by his efforts. We also wonder how many became disheartened and discouraged by his example — especially among his close brethren and kinsmen. Like every willful sinner, he crucified Christ afresh and put Him to an open shame (Heb. 6:6; 10: 29). No man can do as Demas without encouraging other to do the same.

Finally, doing as Demas did hurts the world too. It robs it of the flavor of righteousness imparted unto it by godly living. It deprives it of a good example, a liver and teacher of truth. It snuffs out another desperately needed light in a sin-darkened world (Phil. 2:15). Every Demas who leaves the truth makes it a little more difficult for some Cornelius to learn the truth — or for some Timothy to be reared in it. Doing as Demas hurts all, profits none.