Thursday, March 12, 2015

Is My Way God's High Way?

image used under Public Domain license, photo obtained from pixabay
Sunday, my friend Pastor Bob Colban preached at our 9am service.  Our head pastor was on his way back from our European conference.  What Pastor Bob shared was worth resharing, but it also triggered some thoughts of my own.  So, you're going to get a mix.  Pastor Bob started with a verse in 2 Timothy:

2 Timothy 4:10 (KJV)  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

There are a couple of things we need to note, here.  First, as Pastor Colban mentioned, if we do a search in the New Testament for Demas, we'll find out that Demas was active in ministry and had previously been a great help to Paul.  I'll let you do your own search for that one.  Then, in this verse, we see some interesting statements.  We'll get to that on the other side of the break.


Demas "hath forsaken me".  Not God, "me".  In the Greek, the word for "forsaken" is stronger in meaning.  It suggests that Paul had forces coming against him and Demas left at the worst possible time.  And, while Crescens and Titus leave to follow their call, Demas goes off to play in the world.

Thessalonica was both a crossroads city, plus a much used port.  So the city likely had all the worldly attractions to attract and satisfy its visitors.  When we consider that Demas headed there, even though Paul didn't say so, it's evident that he was rejecting God, too.  But that brings up another interesting insight.

Nowhere in this verse or passage does it say God left Demas.  It doesn't say he lost his salvation. Men will give things, then, when circumstances change, take them back.  God doesn't do that.  He's consistent and faithful, adhering to John 10.

John 10:28-30 (KJV)  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  I and my Father are one.

I've always wondered how those who suggest that it's possible to lose your salvation deal with "neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand"?  The word "man" isn't actually in the original Greek.  But is there a man or any other being strong enough to take the saved away from God? Wouldn't that suggest there's something or someone stronger and greater than God?  Which would make God not God.  And we know that's not the case.

There's another point.  I'll let you read Deuteronomy 6:21-24, yourself.  But the point Pastor Colban highlighted was that God's people were different from Egypt, different than the world.  Whether we latch onto God and never let go, or periodically backslide, or completely dump God for the world, our salvation changes us.

Follow my mental picture, here.  Demas leaves Paul, ready to take full advantage of what the world has to offer.  But he's different, now.  Which means Demas can't get the same pleasure out of them that he may have in his pre-salvation days.  Whether it's guilt or the recognition that there's something worthwhile missing, some of the pleasure of sin is gone.  And that's us, too.  Yes, there's the possibility that Demas made a hollow profession and ministered in the flesh.  But then he wouldn't really have salvation.  And none of the passages question his salvation.  Ironic, isn't it?  Demas leaves Paul and God for pleasures that no longer will satisfy in the same way.

Let's get back to Sunday's message.  And the next passage.

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 (KJV)  For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.  The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Think about that.  Chosen.  Not by our power, not by anything about what we are or what we do. Strictly by God's love.  And that last part is key.  By His love.  Think about everything in the Bible.  It points to the fact that God loves entire creation.  Think about how much pain it must give God, when He loves us deeply and someone rejects salvation and Him.  That love is so great that it mediates His justice to the point that He waits till that moment His omniscience knows someone will never choose Him, before sending them to Hell.  And the fact that they go there it their choice, not God's.  They determined they want an existence without God.  That's what they get in Hell.

I've said it before, recently, but I suspect the description of what Hell is like when its residents realize what being without God is like, that they could have chosen otherwise, that this condition is no longer possible to change.  It may be the regret, remorse, and anguish from all that.  Or there may be a physical component created or magnified by that.

So, here's Demas, though not going to Hell, still trying to reject God in favor of earthly pleasures, pleasures that he will no longer enjoy as much as he'd like.  And then, though not only chosen, but saved as well, he loses rewards and status in God's presence because of choices he made that led to others choosing wrongly.  That will be dealt with at the final judgement, then entering God's heavenly presence will wipe away the tears.  But everything Demas was due will be diminished because his own choices limited his capacity to receive them.

Based on Demas, our illustration is a bunch of warning wrong way signs.  God gives us no end of warnings in this life.  So, do we take even a partial detour, like Demas?  Or do we take God's highway as my way?

2 comments:

  1. I see what you are saying, and had never thought out Demas like this. I am sure I have been guilty of this also?? Now reading this I realise its a wake up call to be a much better servant.. I am getting older, now 70 yrs and I know I do not do as much for the Lord as I once did.. God Bless You for this.

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  2. Our holiness, our difference from the world is something we can increase or decrease, but it's really part of what happens with salvation. If we're suddenly God's, we must be holy, like He is. So, God makes us that way as part of our salvation. If we fight that difference, we aim for the world. And we get a disappointing surprise because it can never satisfy the way it did when we were unsaved. On the other hand, if we "go with the flow" (God's flow), all we have toi do is make ourselves available for His blessings. He'll guide us into who we're supposed to be and what we need to do. We don't have to do anything to earn His love. We already have it.

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