Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Salvation for all in Christ.
VS.6 “I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ!”
The letter to Philemon is the shortest of Apostle Paul’s letters which is private in nature, written on behalf of Onesimus who was believed to be a runaway-slave of Philemon. However, this letter tells us how salvation in Christ unites mankind, transforms people and brings reconciliation in relationships.
Salvation in Christ unites people into the one body of Jesus Christ regardless of their race, class, or gender. Apostle Paul, a Jewish scholar and well-respected apostle of Christ; Philemon, a wealthy Gentile believer and a slave owner and Onesimus, his slave; all are now part of one fellowship under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This letter presents the authority of leadership in Christ (Vs.8); the responsibility to build up the weak (Vs.10); mutual respect among believers (Vs.9 and 14); and a refreshing fellowship filled with joy, comfort and love (Vs.7 and 20). In present day Christendom where divisions and disputes are common, this letter depicts a perfect model for the church of Christ.
Salvation in Christ has the power to transform any individual to fulfill their divine purpose. Onesimus, who was a slave and a person who used to be unprofitable, through Christ became very useful and valuable for the Apostle Paul, Philemon and the Kingdom of God. We too can have the confidence that God our potter can transform any broken vessel in to a beautiful new one in His hands.
Salvation in Christ redefines relationships. Onesimus served Apostle Paul in prison and Paul loved and cared for Onesimus like a father. In a society where run-away slaves could receive a death sentence, Paul was sending Onesimus to his old master with a request to receive him not simply as a slave, but as a dear brother in Christ with forgiveness and love. Paul appeals to Philemon to welcome Onesimus as he would welcome Paul.
Jesus Christ loved us and paid the debts of all mankind on the Cross of Calvary to restore mankind’s relationship with God. The Apostle Paul’s willingness to compensate Philemon on behalf of Onesimus truly reflects Christ’s love and compassion towards us.
Apostle Paul’s prayer for Philemon (Vs.6) is a beautiful reminder for all the believers to be intentional and active in sharing their faith as it is an expression of all good things Christ brings to us. Paul is emphasizing that the duty of a mature Christian is to exercise love and forgiveness in order to bring reconciliation and to treat others with dignity in a world of separation and discrimination.
Lord, thank you for the gift of salvation. You have reconciled us to you through Christ Jesus and have made us your children. Help us to bring unity and healing to this world through your love.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
In Christ we reclaim our divine purpose.
Abey Cherian, St. Thomas MTC, Yonkers, NY
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church