The Demas Disease
One has to cringe with fear at the words of Hebrews 6:1-8 if you genuinely take the warning of these eight verses to heart. Many students of the Bible have struggled with the correct understanding of this warning, especially when you believe in the perseverance of the saints, a biblical doctrine, that if God has begun a good work in you, He will complete it. (Philippians 1:6) Jesus said of all the men, women, and children whom the Father has given Him for salvation: “No one can snatch you out of My hand. (John 10:28). Apparently, when all of Scripture is brought to bear in understanding these verses in Hebrews, the passage is talking about people who mingled in the community of believers for a time, and even could be taken for fellow believers by some, but never came to the point of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, experiencing the new birth which Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3. But the fact is that we seem to see the evidence of this fearful phenomenon all around us all too often; and it has to be a heavy weight on the souls of those true believers who have an acquaintance with them.
Perhaps the single most disappointing and frustrating aspect of the ministry at the Paul Anderson Youth Home is to see a young man come out of his present world of drugs, crime, and spiritual lethargy, be seemingly transformed during his time with us, and then return to his old world once leaving. This has been the case with a few young men who even give vibrant testimony of the change in their life and their new found faith in Christ while at the PAYH. The only hope we have, when we get word of a return to their old lifestyle, and this has happened often enough that we have reason for hope, is that the seed of God’s Word and the Gospel, though lying fallow for a time, finally takes root and results in a renewed repentance. They come to the end of their rope once again because the life of “this present world is a dead end street, and remember something of what they learned at the PAYH.
Demas was a companion of the Apostle Paul. He must have seen and heard amazing things and he must have witnessed the transformative power of the Holy Spirit over and over again in Paul’s company. But make no mistake about it; life with Paul was not a cakewalk. It was often dangerous and life threatening, as Satan in the guise of many of Paul’s and the gospel’s enemies pressed every effort to destroy his witness to the saving work of Christ. Demas is only mentioned three times in the NT; twice as a companion of Paul along with others like Mark and Luke, and once when he deserts him. Since God’s Word is eternal, Demas will forever be known by this description: “in love with this present world. Would you like for those words to be emblazoned on your forehead for all the world to see as the Scripture is read in every time and place? Or as you stand before the Judge in the last day?
This Demas Disease is a strong sickness. It appears to infect a lot of people. “This present world has tentacles that reach into all the portals of our senses and confounds the will. It takes hold of a will in which the fear and love of God and His Word is not as strong or clear as the fear of losing the enticement and baubles of what “this present world offers; which in the final analysis turns out to be dust. Demas Disease is a sad, sad commentary of what could have been. I would say it is the worst and deadliest cancer that has ever been discovered. How strong is your immunity?
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