The New Testament brings out the best in Christian characters, and gives us descriptive stories about the Acts of the Apostles for us to use as examples, and provides the distinction between law and grace so beautifully portrayed. In the law punishment was due, but in New Testament grace was given, having responsibility weighing upon every decision that has to be made, but in the end the pain brings joy.
The letter to Philemon is the shortest of all Paul’s writings and deals with the practice of slavery; the letter suggests that Paul was in prison at the time of the writing. Philemon was a slave owner who also hosted a church in his home. During the time of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus, Philemon had likely journeyed to the city, heard Paul’s preaching and became a Christian.
Paul takes some thought to honor Philemon and great curtsey to be polite to him. He could have esteemed his own self, and called himself an apostle in verse 1, but he spoke only of his low position.
Philemon had become a Christian as a result of Paul’s work, and so Philemon as a Christian was given the opportunity to forgive someone who had wrong him, the virtue of Christianity is to forgive one another even as Christ forgave us.
The slave Onesimus robbed his master, Philemon, and ran away, making his way to Rome and to Paul. Onesimus was still the property of Philemon, and Paul wrote to smooth the way for his return to his master. Through Paul’s witnessing to him, Onesimus had become a Christian and Paul wanted Philemon to accept Onesimus as a brother in Christ and not merely as a slave.
Addressing the issues
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. Anger and bitter feelings brings resentment, the apostle Paul in his gentleness, disarm the hostility created between servant and slave, he does not use words that are harmful, but rather he kindly pleads for clemency.
Paul became a prisoner for the Gospel; he went about preaching the Good News of salvation about Jesus Christ to everyone. The Good News is that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world. To die for our sins and to destroy the works of the Devil,
Jesus died to free us from our sins. When He rose from death, he led captivity captive and gave gifts to me; to you and me he gave new life.
The essence of the letter gives us a model way of how to behave, it has a links of dealing with business matters, it also illustrates the relationship that Paul had with the Lord, what Onesimus was to Paul, and Philemon would al last combined.
Prayer and thanksgiving, been grateful to God for situation that may arise in your life, suggest that you are not a novice, but a mature Christian, walking in the spirit of Christ.
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. The letter to Philemon speaks of the Goodness of Christianity and the real reason we exist to serve one another, a man like Philemon had many good things taking place in his life, but God was about to do a greater miracle, by restoring the sheep that was lost.
Maybe you know some one today that is lost, ran away through fear of reprisal, God wants to bring them back home to the fold, when we grow strong in our faith we are not afraid of the truth, and our faith will move our action nearer towards forgiveness. When God’s love favor us, it heals the hurt and soften the pain, we become kind and good to others al though they have offended us, we can bury the hatchet and disarm the war inside.