Onesimus: The story of grace

In the book of Philemon, Paul writes to Philemon urging him to receive Onesimus as a brother. Onesimus was a slave owned by Philemon and ran away after taking his money. He meets Paul and gets converted under Paul’s leading. Paul took him as his son, verse 10. He develops an affection for Onesimus and resolves that he be freed from slavery, verse 12. He calls him ” My very heart”.

He says in verse 15 and 16 that perhaps the reason he was separated from Philemon was that he might have him back but no longer as a slave. As a dear brother instead. I like verse 18, which reminds me of what God did for us through Christ. He says: ” If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me”

I think this book, speaks about grace, privilege and promotion. The privilege we get when we come to christ. That many things we get but not by earning them with our efforts Titus 3:5. We were like slaves but by his grace received privilege and promotion to become heirs.

He says again in verse 19 that ” I will pay it back”. Not only was he bought out of slavery but he was earned a part equal to Paul’s in Philemon’s ministry , verse 17. He was promoted to be on the same level as his former master. It is a beautiful message of grace. I think of this book as one of those release papers we see in the movies for slaves.

In the end, Onesimus gets saved, returns home, is forgiven and get promoted. A beautiful happy ending. We were bought with a price out of slavery to become heirs. Everything has been made new.

” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… Not counting men’s sins against them…” 2Corinthians 5:17 – 19.

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