Saved or Lost? #8

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:19,20 KJV).

Are these people really saved—or really lost?

The physical realm abounds with abnormalities or seeming impossibilities (extreme or rare medical conditions). Similarly, the spiritual world is filled with eccentric or appalling disorders (contradictions or paradoxes). These sinning saints appear to be unbelievers in thoughts and/or actions, but are indeed members of God’s family!

Believers in the God of the Bible have done stupid things, spoken foolish words, and entertained silly ideas. The Apostle Peter thrice denied he knew his Saviour (Mark 14:66-72). Moreover, he had even intensely argued with the Lord how this would never happen—essentially calling Christ a “liar” (verses 27-31; also see the other occasion in Luke 22:31-34)! Moses, in an infantile rage, struck the rock twice when the LORD had ordered him to speak to it instead (Numbers 20:1-12). Let us not forget how Noah ruined his testimony with drunkenness in Genesis 9:20-27!

Abraham listened to his wife (not the LORD) concerning his sexual relations with Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4): resulting son Ishmael, a product of Abraham’s flesh (law, religious performance), competed with God’s promised son, Isaac (grace). King David committed adultery, fathered an illegitimate child, and then murdered the adulteress’ husband to cover it all up (2 Samuel 11:1–12:14). In 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, a Christian brother is fornicating with “his father’s wife” (hopefully, it was his stepmother and not his biological mother)! Not even the Gentile idolaters had such a revolting reputation (verse 1)!

Believers in Christ Jesus in John 12:42,43 were silent about their faith, since they would be excommunicated from the synagogue if they were outspoken (“for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”). King Solomon was romantically involved with almost 1,000 idolatrous women, not only permitting their heathen religion in the Promised Land but even practicing it himself (1 Kings 11:1-13)! Finally, the Apostle Paul, awaiting his execution, wrote some poignant words concerning a grace ministry coworker: “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:10; cf. Galatians 1:4; 1 John 2:15-17).

Yes, these were believers (!!!!!!)….

Saints, please remember this work of the ministry requires monthly financial support to operate (Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Those who prefer electronic giving can donate securely here: Anyone who wishes to donate by regular mail can visit for details. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! Unfortunately, since our ministry audience is so large and our ministry staff is so small, I can no longer personally respond to everyone. Thanks so much for understanding in this regard. 🙂

How You Finish, Not How You Start

Monday, June 6, 2016

“Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:9-11 KJV).

In these verses, we see two saints—profitable and unfaithful, and unfaithful and profitable.

Today’s Scripture is Paul beginning to conclude his farewell epistle. Guilty of preaching an “illegal religion,” the aged Apostle awaits his beheading. Sitting in a cruel dungeon in Rome, he writes to Timothy one last time, urging the young man to come to the prison as quickly as possible. Why? Paul explains that “only Luke” remains with him. His other ministry companions are travelling, possibly visiting local grace assemblies on his behalf. In today’s Scripture, two contrasting names are set in bold relief.

First appearing in Paul and Barnabas’ apostolic ministry at the very end of Acts chapter 12, John Mark is Barnabas’ nephew (Colossians 4:10). He travels with Paul and Barnabas during their first apostolic journey (Acts chapters 13-14). By the start of their second apostolic journey, Barnabas wants to take John Mark with them but Paul refuses because John Mark had previously abandoned them around Acts 14:24. Barnabas and Paul, due to this momentous disagreement, go their separate ways at Acts 15:36-41.

Just over 10 years later, in Acts chapter 28, Demas appears in Paul’s ministry. Paul greets the Colossian believers on behalf of Demas (4:14). In Philemon 24, the companion epistle, Paul calls Demas a “fellow-labourer.” Most definitely, Demas was very useful to Paul’s ministry. Oh, but what a tragedy! A few years later, Paul writes today’s Scripture: Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world….” Demas’ precise motives are unknown.

Friends, just think! The actions of John Mark and Demas are written down forever in God’s Word! John Mark, once unfaithful, returned to Paul’s ministry at the very end. Demas, once faithful, abandoned Paul’s ministry at the very end. Brethren, just think! Those you expect to stay with the truth, they may not! Those you expect to never embrace the truth, they just may!