PHILEMON A Case History of GOD'S GRACE & FORGIVENESS
PHILEMON Case Study of GOD’S GRACE & FORGIVENESS
Philemon is a wonderful masterpiece and an often overlooked Book of the New Testament. It showcases the Grace of God and Forgiveness. The key verse here is “Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good, no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you…” Philemon was a Christian who was a prominent member of the Church in Colosse. Philemon had come to know the Lord under the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Onesimus, his legal slave had stole from him and fled to Rome. It was in Rome that Onesimus met and encountered Paul. After hearing Paul’s powerful ministry he too confessed Jesus Christ and became converted. Paul grew to dearly love Onesimus!
Onesimus had become very dear and helpful to Paul. This is interesting because Onesimus name means “useful.” Paul convinced him that he needed to return back to Philemon. Under Roman law Philemon could have him beaten and possibly killed if he desired. Paul addresses this letter which we have come to know as the Book of Philemon; and makes a heartfelt personal plea to his friend challenging him to forgive his now radically transformed “beloved brother” Onesimus, and accept and welcome him back not as a slave but as a brother. Onesimus had repented! Paul was prepared to pay Philemon if necessary any restitution for the time of his lost service as well as for the cost of the theft.
What a difference! How interesting; Now they were brothers in Christ and both were “members of God’s family!” This is why it is so important to know God’s Word and know who we are in Christ! “…Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents. Forgive him…” Luke 3. Although each of us as individuals are quite different, in Christ we really should not be separated by racial, sex, political, cultural, personality differences, education, or economic barriers. “This righteousness from God comes though FAITH in JESUS CHRIST to ALL that believe. There is no difference, for All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His GRACE through the redemption that came through JESUS CHRIST…” ROMAN 3. To be justified means to be declared not guilty! When God forgives us the record is wiped clean! Jesus Christ became our atonement! He purchased our freedom with His life! It is now to Him we owe our lives...
The Book of Philemon demonstrates true Christian fellowship and forgiveness. Paul gives a wonderful example of how to possibly deal with conflict within the church or between friends. Since we have been forgiven then we too must learn to forgive. Is there someone you need to forgive? Is God making a difference in your life? How do we break down the walls of division? God is powerful! Accepting Jesus Christ makes a difference! The key here is that Onesimus had repented! He was a new creation! He had now embraced God’s Way! God’s principles have not changed. The relationship between Philemon and Onesimus were so important that this short powerful letter or should I say epistle has been included in the Bible as a Book! Philemon is one of the prison epistles that was written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment.
Although, we now come together to fellowship and congregate in a plethora of different types of small, large, grand and magnificent massive brick, and mortar buildings throughout the world, we must each personally embrace and hold dear the Word of God! "In Him you are being built together to become a dwelling in which GOD lives by HIS SPIRIT ." Ephesians 2 "Our body is the Temple of the living GOD!" It is so very important to develop an ongoing personal relationship with Jesus Christ! The early Church met in homes and Christianity was a daily lifestyle. It is important to remember that “we the believers” are the Church! We must seek to embrace godly principles and implement them in our daily lives in this 21st century and embrace it as a daily lifestyle as well. Is Christ really making a difference in your life? We must begin to live our lives in a way that pleases God; JESUS CHRIST really is coming back for His Church !