The Book of Philemon

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Paul points out to Philemon: …perhaps he [ Onesimus, Philemon’s rebellious, runaway servant] departed for a season, that you [ Philemon] should receive him forever; not now as a servant [ a slave, a nepios, an infant that “differs nothing from a slave” (Gal 4:1)] but above a servant, a brother [ a fellow huios, a full brother in Christ] beloved… (vs 16).

Onesimus had left Philemon in rebellion. He was a slave both literally and figuratively. But the Spirit drew (dragged) him to Christ, and by becoming Christ’s slave, he found true liberty. He was a free man regardless of what Philemon did, because in Christ he was Philemon’s fellow ‘huios‘. They were now brothers in Christ.

Did being “delivered from the law” (Rom 7:6) make Onesimus a lawless man? On the contrary, the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the LAW OF GOD [“love is the fulfilling of the law” – Rom 13:10] neither indeed can be (Rom 8:7). Being then made free from sin [ those are biblical words] ye became the servants of righteousness (Rom 6:18).

He that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called being free is Christ’s servant (1Co 7:21).

Yours in Christ,
Mike Vinson

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