“It is Love that leads the Way to Complete Forgiveness” Philemon Bible Study Week 1
Love leads to forgiveness and all other graces. The apostle Paul penned the book of Philemon while under house arrest in Rome. He writes this short letter to his beloved brother Philemon making an appeal for his new convert Onesimus. We understand from this book that Onesimus was Philemon’s slave. He apparently had run away from Colosse, Colossians 4:9, to Rome where he encountered Jesus Christ through the Apostle Paul. Philemon 1:10. Onesimus not only ran away, which is punishable by death according to the Roman law but also stole from Philemon. So not only was he a runaway but a thief. Both accounts punishable by human law. But things are different now for Onesimus. He is no longer a slave of sin but a born again child of God.
Called to Exercise the Grace of Forgiveness
In this book, Paul is calling Philemon to exercise forgiveness to his runaway slave Onesimus. When Onesimus ran away he was a slave, property of Philemon, he is now more than a slave, he is a brother in Christ. Philemon is now faced with a different set of circumstances. God calls believers to treat their brothers and sisters differently than they treat the world. That is not to say that a believer would not extend love, grace, or forgiveness to the world but believers do have a higher calling concerning our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Philemon 1:5, teaches that Paul heard of Philemon’s great love and faith toward Jesus Christ and the saints. More often than not we are called to a greater manifestation of faith. I do not think I am wrong in thinking that Philemon’s faith is going to be stretched and tested. Our faith is tested, stretched, and grown
- for the glory of God,
- the sake of Christ,
- and the good of others.
Philemon’s called to set an example of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness to the church. What a high calling!
But this message is not just for Philemon. It is a directive to all that are true believers in Jesus Christ and make a claim to faith.
Forgiveness is Given When Love is Extended
The flesh does not want to extend forgiveness when it is wronged. But blood bought believers do not react to their feelings. Instead, we walk in the Spirit. The Spirit of God produces the fruit of love. Galatians 5:22. Love leads the way for all other graces.Love leads the way to all other graces. Click To Tweet
Love(Agape) is defined in the Strong’s Dictionary as, unconditional love, sacrificial love which ultimately reflects the very essence of God Himself. 1 John 4:8 teaches, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Agape is what God is, the love He expresses, the love He commands, and the love He provides.
- God expressed His love toward us in while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
- God commands love for Himself and love for our neighbor. Matthew 22: 37-39
- God provides that which He commands: Romans 5:5
The command to Philemon, extend sacrificial, unconditional love to Onesimus who had wronged him. The end result will be the forgiveness of the wrong that Onesimus committed against him.
Love Keeps No Record of Wrong
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16
“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sin.” 1 Peter 4:8
Love is where it all begins. Love is where it all ends. The book of Philemon calls each of us to Love as Christ loved us!
Be sure and come back on Monday for Week 2 resource.
If you missed week one resource you can get it here: Introduction to Philemon.
Let’s talk about Philemon.
Please join in the discussion by answering one or more of the following questions!
1. What one truth did you learn this week after reading Philemon every day?
2. Has someone wronged you in any way? How should you respond to this wrong?
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