So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
Now that Paul has made his appeal to Philemon for Onesimus, he lets Philemon know that he is wiling to go the extra mile for Onesimus. Paul lets Philemon know that if Onesimus owes him anything, he (Paul) would absorb his debt. Paul is saying, “whatever he (Onesimus) owes you, put it on my account.” What a beautiful picture of the Gospel! This is what Jesus did for us. He took on the debt that we were unable to pay. When we trust Him for our salvation, our sin debt is charged to His account. Paul is asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus’ sin debt just like Jesus had forgiven his sin debt. This is a glorious picture of what God the Father has done for us through His Son Jesus.
Unlike his usual practice of dictating his letters, Paul probably wrote this personal letter by his own hand. This letter would have meant more to Philemon knowing that Paul himself penned these words. Paul then expresses his confidence in Philemon and believes that he will do more than he requests. Some might say that true believers will always do more than is requested. Jesus asks us to go the second mile. This means we should go above and beyond what is expected of us. The Lord is a giving and generous God. Therefore, our lives should be marked by giving and generosity.
There is so much truth packed into this short letter. Even though we are not sure of Philemon’s response to Paul’s letter, we can assume that it was received in the spirit in which it was written. Even though this letter does not address some of the bigger issues of the day, it clearly teaches us that love and faith are to be exercised in all of life’s affairs. It also teaches us that in Christ, there is always room for reconciliation and a second chance. It also illustrates how God works behind the scenes to bring people to faith. As Pastor Bob often says, “When you struggle to understand God’s ways, continue to trust in His character.”
Questions to Ponder
Are you always willing to go the second mile for others? How do you feel knowing that “Jesus paid it all” for you? Is your life marked by giving and generosity? Is there a person you need to reconcile with today? If so, what is keeping you from reconciling with them? Where are you giving and serving?
- Praise the Lord for being consistent in His nature—who He is. Praise Him for being trustworthy, a firm foundation, the Rock, powerful, all-knowing, and full of tender, faithful love that is fierce and jealous. Thank Him for His protection, provision, and His giving and generous heart.
- Confess times when you were not generous or giving with your time, talent, or treasure, and you knew the Lord was leading you to bless someone with what You had. Ask Him to help you to listen and obey the next time, knowing that He will enable You to do what He has called you to by His own Holy Spirit inside of you.
- Thank Him for reconciling You to Him and those around you.
- Ask Holy Spirit to search your heart and see if there is anyone that You need to go and be reconciled with. Allow time to sit quietly with the Lord and let Him bring to your mind names or situations.
God of Reconciliation, I want to thank You, Lord, for reconciling me to You. Thank You for reconciling me to those around me by Your blood. Abba, I ask that You would daily give me Your heart to love as You love, to serve as You serve. Thank You for all of the body of Christ at Oak Pointe Church. I ask, Lord, that each person would be activated in using their gifting. Bring to their hearts and minds areas in their life where they feel fully alive in You by using their gifts. Thank You, Lord, that we need You, and we need each other. Show us where and how we can be serving and help us to serve those in our midst each day, too. We don’t want to love others and then not love those we live with. Help us, Abba, to love as You love with a love that is unconditional. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.