Christ Changes everything! Philemon was a man that was selfish and self driven. He met Paul and then met Christ. His life was changed. Still, in the midst of the change, he still had a life and a business. In that business, was the slave Onesimus. Onesimus met Paul in prison and clearly was changed and befriended Paul. But, now came time to make amends. So Paul asks the question God asks of us–Since God freed you, will you now free Onesimus?
In our lives, we see God do so many great things for us. Freedom from the slavery of sin, provision, protection and power in our daily journey. God molds us and leads us so we can be free and peaceful. But, we are then faced with opportunities to free others from holds we have–bitterness, unforgiveness and unresolved issues that are like chains to them and to us. As Paul requested from Philemon, God requests from us–Love those I love, and you free them from the holds you have and welcome them–as I did for you. It is a tall order, but, God knows that it is the one granting freedom that is really the slave. When we give up our rights for Christ, we gain them back so more fully in him.
God Bless You
Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, 9 yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus,[b] who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.