Paul’s purpose in writing this letter was to appeal to Philemon on behalf of a man who was previously a useless slave, a thief, and a runaway. Because of Onesimus’ conversion to faith in Christ, Paul argues that his character has been transformed and that he should be moved from bondage to brotherhood in the eyes of his former master. Just as Philemon himself received grace and forgiveness in Christ, so he must extend the same to this new brother in the Lord. Paul urges Philemon to receive Onesimus just as he would receive him, and even invites Philemon to charge Onesimus’ debt to him.
Philemon is a brief but powerful testimony to the transforming power of faith, forgiveness, and freedom in Christ. This transformation on the vertical level should result in transformation on the horizontal level of our relationships with others. This epistle teaches us that spiritual change produces social change.
READING of PHILEMON
Lord, may I no longer view people according to the flesh, but according to the way You see them, as people You love and for whom Christ gave His life.
Meditation passage for today: verses 6, 15-18
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