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 "Redeeming 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. Apphia was Philemon's wife and the fellow soldier Archippus was their son. They loved in Colossae and the Church often met in their home. Philemon was an Elder. Paul gracefully addresses this letter to them which we have come to know as the Book of Philemon.
Paul makes a heartfelt personal plea to his friend Philemon challenging him to forgive his now radically transformed “beloved brother” Onesimus. He wanted him to also accept and welcome him back not as a slave but as a brother. It is clear that Onesimus had genuinely repented! Paul was even prepared to pay Philemon if necessary any restitution for Onesimus' time of lost service as well as for the cost of the theft. Here is a classic case of "Redeeming Forgiveness."
The Apostle Paul was not seeking to gain something materially. His motive was not because of how he himself would benefit. It was diligently seeking to bring about spiritual wholeness. He was seeking an admirable way to atone for the sin that had been done. To restore both Philemon & Onesimus and begin anew. God always knows our intents and motives. Does not HIS WORD teach us that "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee..." Isaiah 26 This is why we must be daily led by His Holy Spirit. Only HE can give you "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4
Few overlook the importance of repentance. Often people with take certain liberties and continue to add injury to insult without any remorse. Or justify whatever they do and say then want you to overlook it but expect you to comply. Or simply say I am sorry but continue to do the same stuff over and over... In order for something to change, change has to be made. This is how and why there are many unreconcilable differences. This is also how an impasse is formed. Quite often the problem is not resolved both parties just move on. This leaves an unhealthy lingering residual effect. Listen closely to what Luke says about repentance. Repentance does not mean repeat. It means to turn away from; and make a change. Redeeming forgiveness comes with a condition.
KNOW GOD & HIS WORD and embrace its TRUTH and put it into practice!
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.
Repent. For the Kingdom of GOD is at hand.
This is a healthy formula for forgiveness. The evidence is clear in Philemon. This is not a legalistic approach. But an acknowledgement of a wrong and moving forward in grace towards honoring God...
Each of us as individuals are quite different in Christ. Yet God loves us. We differ in our likes and dislikes. However, spiritually we really should not be separated simply by racial, political, cultural, personality differences, education, or economic barriers. We should seek to be on one accord in the Word. This is quite often not the case. This is why there is so much conflict. We should not compromise the Word to be accepted. As believers we should be willing to submit to the Truth of God's Word! After all this is why we say we are believers. However beliefs, culture, doctrines, denominational differences and traditions of men, often take precedent.
What will separate us all from GOD is sin. We do not have to allow sin to reign within our lives. This is why Christ Jesus died on the Cross. It is so very important to know the Lord & His Word for Yourself. As believers we each should be able to Stand upon the Word of God. As believers we can call upon Him 24/ 7. This is what we are called to do. A mutual desire to bring about healing in any relationship is sincerely wanting the Will of the Lord! Many operate outside of the Will of Lord and want you to cosign. Do not compromise what you now to be right. This is not about pride or rebellion but breaking a continuing cycle of dysfunction.
Today we can see the effects of what happens when God's principles or ignored.
God is worthy of all the honor and praise. It is He that should have the preeminence in all situations.
“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... You cannot buy or place a monetary value on SALVATION! It is priceless.
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? Philemon was truly remorseful. He was converted. Paul himself vouched for his changed behavior. There was not doubt that he had repented. This is what broke down the walls. The building of a healthier relationship was established. This is how 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 took responsibility for his actions. He was a new creation! the new man took the reigns. He had now really 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 daily personal intimate 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? "Be God's Church everyday and everywhere." We are to live or begin to live our daily lives in a way that pleases GOD; CHRIST JESUS really is coming back for HIS CHURCH without spot or wrinkle. "
The Apostle Paul begins and concludes Philemon expressing the need for the grace of God. "...The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you in Spirit."