Tuesday, 8 May 2018
for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 2 Timothy 4:10
Paul had just said, “Be diligent to come to me quickly.” The reason for this is forthcoming, but it is more urgently necessitated because of the words of this verse. He says, “for Demas has forsaken me.” Demas is mentioned in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24. He had obviously been around Paul for some time, and during his previous imprisonment, but now he has abandoned him.
Though we can only speculate, he was probably afraid of the persecution Paul was experiencing, feeling it may come to him as well. It was seemingly assured that Paul would be martyred, and he didn’t want to be the next one on the chopping block. Paul says that instead of staying by his side Demas had forsaken him, “having loved this present world.”
The word translated as “world” here, aión, signifies the present age in contrast to the future age. It is the time in which he is living. Therefore, this doesn’t necessarily mean he loved the world and the things in the world, but he loved his life and did not want it to end. Obviously, if he didn’t care about the things of the world, he wouldn’t care about his life in the same way either, but Paul’s choice of the word shows that he was probably more afraid of the termination of this present life. He had believed in Christ’s resurrection, thus he was a saved person, but his unsurety about his own mortal life seems to show a failure to stand fast on what the resurrection meant to him personally.
Because of this failing, Paul says that he “has departed for Thessalonica.” By leaving the reason why Demas chose Thessalonica unstated, it can be assumed that Timothy knew, or would have understood, the reason for the choice. It may have been his home; it may be that during their travels he really liked the place and wanted to go back and get established there; or he may have seen it as an opportunity to get reestablished in life in a new spot. Thessalonica at this time was one of the great Roman cities. It thus had many opportunities for someone to live out life in the present age.
Paul then says, “Crescens for Galatia.” Crescens, or as the Greek reads, Kréskés, is found only here in the Bible, but he was obviously known to Timothy. His name is actually Latin. Paul doesn’t say that he departed for a negative reason such as Demas did. He merely notes that he had departed. The same is true with Titus who had gone on to Dalmatia.
Dalmatia was a part of Illyricum, a Roman province which lays on the east coast of the Adriatic Sea. As nothing is said about why Demas and Titus had left, and nothing negative is indicated by Paul, we can only speculate as to the reason for their departure. It would be nice to think that both were commissioned by Paul to continue preaching the gospel in places that Paul was now unable to go to.
Life application: Paul often writes about those who had moral failings in his epistles. He also notes things about people, such as Demas today, showing that they were imperfect beings. However, there is not a single instance in his writings that he says, “That person was never saved,” or “That guy has lost his salvation.” Paul’s writings show us, time and again, that salvation is eternal, but we will be judged based on our actions after salvation. Let us stand steadfast in our faith, not be counted as those who shy away from our duties, and let us instead go forward in the Lord’s strength, applying His word to our lives always.
Heavenly Father, it sure is wonderful to know that You are ever-present in our lives. There is no time that You are on vacation or unavailable to us. Throughout the span of our lives, and wherever we go, we can seek Your face. And more, we can come to You with our needs, desires, and hopes. It is a wonderful thought that we are always in Your presence. Glory to You, O God. Amen.