Daily Devotional: Saturday 13th Juneby William Moody
12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant1 but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.
Paul (v17) continues to speak for Onesimus, asking Philemon to receive him as he would receive Paul. Paul is sticking his neck out for his new brother in the Lord. He also offers to pay Onesimus’ debt (v18). In Paul’s actions we see the love of Christ shining through. Jesus at great cost to Himself, took the debt of His people for sin upon Himself on the cross. In response to this love we are to show practical and sacrificial love to others, even sticking out our necks for them. (see 1 John 3v16)
Paul writing with his own hand (v19) and not dictating this letter to a secretary which would have been his normal practice, shows his sincerity about this issue. He also seeks for Philemon to get things into perspective considering what he himself owes Paul. This is presumably in reference to Paul teaching the Gospel through which he was saved. When we consider how others have wronged and let us down, we need always to remember how we wrong and let others down, particularly in how often we fail Christ.
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