Onesimus

Written by Joyce Knight
 
In his letter to Philemon, Paul asked Philemon, a Christian slave master, to kindly restore, or even release, a recently converted runaway slave. Onesimus had been tending to the needs of Paul while he was in prison in Rome. During that time, Paul introduced Onesimus to the Lord and Onesimus had a life changing experience. The essence of the letter is that forgiveness is vital for this fellow believer who is now on an equal stance as a true follower of Christ. 
 
Take a journey with Onesimus, who was a former runaway slave under the ownership of Philemon. Onesimus, under God’s providence, is introduced to Paul and is empowered by his spirit and devotion to Jesus Christ. He is then led to the Lord through Paul and becomes a devout believer. He recognizes the fact that he needs to justify having run away from Philemon, who is a church leader in the town of Colossae. Onesimus became vital in Paul’s life while he was imprisoned, assisting in his needs and giving greatly needed companionship. As much as Paul mourns the thought of having him leave, they agree that Onesimus needs to make things right with his master, Philemon. Paul, in his letter, urges Philemon to show forgiveness and compassion to this new believer. He left as a runaway slave but returns to him as a fellow brother in the Christian faith.
 
At any given time, we can be either Philemon, Paul, or Onesimus. We could be a Philemon, someone who has been hurt by somebody. Someone who has to understand that denying the ability to forgive, is denying that the love of Christ has been made manifest in their heart. We need to consider that it might be time for a heart assessment to see if there is someone out there that we may have to forgive.
 
There are some people who are like Paul. People that call themselves Christians. They are willing to stand in the gap to help people get together. So maybe if you’re a Paul and you know people that are in some sort of disagreement, you can intercede and encourage reconciliation.
 
You could be Onesimus. Someone who knows that they have said or done something wrong and needs to humble themselves, go to that person, and seek reconciliation. We all have been an Onesimus. We all have been to a place where we understand that we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We have been able to receive the grace of God. So now we need to be able to take the grace that has been given to us and freely give it to others.
 
Philemon is asked to prove his love for the Lord by his actions After all of those words of love and encouragement, it would be hard to say no to anything Paul would ask for, but Paul continues to prepare him for the request. What a blessing when someone like Paul finds you profitable, but even greater is it if the Lord finds us profitable. Paul wants a clean conscience for himself and Onesimus. He wanted Philemon to have forgiveness in his heart and he wanted his decision to come from a willing mind and not to feel coerced into it. He is pleading a case for forgiveness. Yes, he had run away and had been unprofitable for a time. However, he will be profitable forever as a servant of Christ. The status has changed for Onesimus because now Philemon is to see him as more than just a slave or servant, but as a brother in Christ.
 

Wouldn’t it be great to have people around you that have the same confidence in your obedience that Paul has for Philemon?  They do not just perform their duty, but they do it out of love for the Lord

 

 


One Response to “Onesimus”

  1. Robert Zoeller says:

    May all of our reconciliations truly be humbled first before The Lord as a priority in all respects, True Fellowship of Believers, after all, To love, with our whole heart mind and very being is Truth in action (God and Man) being aware of said beliefs/truths/facts of Spiritual gifts, Spiritual entertainments, etc. always inevitably towards God first regardless of our own understanding or not, thank you and bless The Lord

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