Today's Devotions

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Showcase:Thanksgiving

  • Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgivings +

    Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, O Lord, turn from yourfierce wrath; change your mind and do not Read More
  • Thanksgiving +

    Why should we give thanks to God? Why should we come to him with our praises,? In the scriptures, there Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Don  Carson

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-kings/18.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/philemon/1.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/hosea/11.html

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+132-134%2C1+Corinthians+11%3A17-34&version=NRSV

2 Kings 18; Philemon; Hosea 11; Psalms 132–134

IN THE FIRST CENTURY, a slave who ran away could legally be executed. A master might not enforce that punishment, but at the very least the runaway slave who was caught would face very brutal treatment.

Onesimus is a slave who has run away from Philemon. Somewhere along the line, Onesimus has been converted. Whether he sought out Paul before his conversion or after, Onesimus is now with Paul, probably in Rome. The apostle is in prison awaiting trial, and Onesimus, now a believer, is running errands for him and otherwise helping him out.

But Paul knows this cannot continue. The apostle himself could be charged with aiding and abetting a fugitive. Legally, even morally, Onesimus must go back to Philemon and square things. But where is the morality in Roman slavery itself?

So Paul writes to Philemon and Apphia, knowing they are Christians, presumably well-to-do, with a home big enough to house the church where they live. The letter is a masterpiece of firm, godly diplomacy.

Paul commends Philemon for his love and encouragement (v. 7). He mentions that he could simply order him to take certain actions (v. 8), yet he prefers to appeal to him "as Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus" (v. 9) so that Philemon will act out of love. Only then does he mention Onesimus, and state what the appeal consists in. Paul wants Philemon to take back Onesimus, whom Paul characterizes as his "son," now a "useful" person (which is what the name Onesimus means), and so loved by the apostle that he is Paul's "very heart" (vv. 10–12). Paul would have been happy to keep him, but would not do anything without Philemon's "consent" (v. 14). Of course, Onesimus had run away, but regardless of how reprehensible that act had been, in the larger scheme of things "perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while [a convenient passive!] was that you might have him back for good—no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother" (vv. 15–16). Surely he will therefore be dear to Philemon, "both as a man and as a brother in the Lord" (v. 16).

So Philemon is to welcome back Onesimus as he would welcome the apostle himself (v. 17), who hopes to come soon on a visit that will check up on things (v. 22). Apparently Onesimus stole from Philemon when he left: Paul says he will gladly repay the full amount—though Paul gently reminds Philemon of the supreme debt he owes to the man who brought him the Gospel.

Nothing can destroy brutal relationships faster than the Gospel rightly applied.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/2013/11/05/2-kings-18-philemon-hosea-11-psalms-132%e2%80%93134/

Reflections to Consider

  • 1

Publications

  • 1

Music

  • 1

Audio & Video

  • 1

Favorites

  • Christ the King Sunday by Art Going (Holy Trinity Chatham) +

    A thoughtful discussion of how we function as colonizers for Christ the King.  Read More
  • Trinity and Baptisms-David Hyman, Holy Trinity Chatham +

    An excellent discussion of what baptism is about, and the wonderful mystery of the Trinity.  Read More
  • Praying to the Father-David Hyman, Holy Trinity Chatham +

    What does it mean to pray to our Father? Read More
  • Success by David Hyman, Holy Trinity Chatham +

    As followers of Jesus, how should we measure success? Read More
  • 1

Hidden Blessings

  • God's Healing Touch by Sylvia Gunter +

    Listen to God's word for you in Isaiah 42:3. "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick Read More
  • The Healing Day by Bill Fay +

    It will be okay on the healing dayno more coldest placeon the healing day Read More
  • Inner Healing by Judith MacNutt +

    The following is a clip from a teaching at the MacNutt's Level I School. While brief, it provides a good Read More
  • Healing Ministry & Spiritual Warfare by Judith MacNutt +

    Judith MacNutt on the relationship between spiritual warfare and healing ministry. Read More
  • 1