Onesimus: A Picture Of Grace
Philemon was a truly gracious man (v. 5).
He loved Christ,his church,his gospel,and his
servants. He maintained a church in his house. He treated God's servants with
the highest respect, kindness, and generosity. He was an especially benevolent
friend to the Apostle Paul. Onesimus was a slave whom Philemon had come to
trust. But this trusted steward of Philemon's household betrayed his master,
stole his money, and ran away to
1. All true believers are united to one another in sincere love (vv. 1-5, 16).
2. God always uses the appointed means of grace, gospel preaching, to save chosen sinners (v. 10). By one means or another, he causes his elect to hear the Word (Rom. ).
3. The transforming power of God's sovereign grace makes the most useless sinners profitable servants to him (v. 11; I Cor. -30; 6:9-11).
4. The providence of God arranges all things for the salvation of his elect, overruling the most evil deeds of men, even the sins of his chosen, to bring them to Christ (v. 15; Psa. 76:10).
5. As Onesimus was accepted for Paul's sake, so God's elect are accepted for Christ's sake on the basis of his substitutionary work and intercession (vv. 17-18).
6. Saved sinners owe a debt of gratitude to those who are the instruments of their salvation (v.19;Isa.52:7).
7. The most blessed thing in the world is the experience and the exercise of free forgiveness (v. 17; Matt. 6:14-15; Eph. 4:32).