Paying attention to the personal greetings at the end of Paul’s letters can yield interesting but also distressing details. At the end of Colossians and Philemon Paul mentions a man named Demas. He is a fellow worker in the gospel who is known to the churches. He has traveled with Paul and spent a lot of time with him.
However, at the end of 2 Timothy we read this about Demas:
“Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.” 2 Timothy 4:9-10
What happened to Demas? He left Paul and possibly left the gospel work. Paul says he fell in love with this present world. John warns of something similar in his first epistle:
“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. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
What does it mean to be in love with the world? Isn’t the world something God created for our enjoyment? Definitely God has created the world itself to display his glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19 But to fall in love with the world as Demas did doesn’t mean he was spending his time admiring mountains and sunsets. Loving the world in the way John explains means having your heart captured by worldly mindsets and passions. You lust after the what the world thinks is important: power, prestige, wealth.
The love of the world and the things of the world pass away. They are temporal and fade. Only the love of God and those who do the will of God abide forever.
Hopefully this was not the end of the story for Demas.