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Philemon a Case History of God's Grace & Forgiveness

Pastoral Counselor ordained Minister at Alpha 7 Ministries & M. A. Christian Clinical Counseling Certified in Creation Therapy


Redeeming Forgiveness


Philemon is a wonderful masterpiece and an often overlooked Book of the New Testament. It showcases the Grace of God and "Redeeming Forgiveness." The key verse here is Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back for good, 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…” Philemon was a Christian who was a prominent member of the Church in Colosse. Philemon had come to know the Lord under the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Onesimus, his legal slave had stolen from him and fled to Rome. It was in Rome that Onesimus met and encountered Paul. After hearing Paul’s powerful ministry, he too confessed Jesus Christ and became converted. Paul grew to dearly love Onesimus!

Onesimus had become very dear and helpful to Paul. This is interesting because Onesimus name means “useful.” Paul convinced him that he needed to return back to Philemon. Under Roman law Philemon could have him beaten and possibly killed if he desired. Apphia was Philemon's wife, and the fellow soldier Archippus was their son. They loved in Colossae and the Church often met in their home. Philemon was an Elder. Paul gracefully addresses this letter to them which we have come to know as the Book of Philemon.

Paul makes a heartfelt personal plea to his friend Philemon challenging him to forgive his now radically transformed “beloved brotherOnesimus. He wanted him to also accept and welcome him back not as a slave but as a brother. It is clear that Onesimus had genuinely repented! Paul was even prepared to pay Philemon if necessary any restitution for Onesimus' time of lost service as well as for the cost of the theft. Here is a classic case of "Redeeming Forgiveness."

The Apostle Paul was not seeking to gain something materially. His motive was not because of how he himself would benefit. It was diligently seeking to bring about spiritual wholeness. He was seeking an admirable way to atone for the sin that had been done. To restore both Philemon & Onesimus and begin anew. God always knows our intents and motives. Does not HIS WORD teach us that "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee..." Isaiah 26 This is why we must be daily led by His Holy Spirit. Only HE can give you "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4

God always knows when we are genuine and real!

Few overlook the importance of repentance.

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Often people with take certain liberties and continue to add injury to insult without any remorse. They will uplift you one week and try to tear you down then next. They want others to respond to you according to their will and desires... Or simply justify whatever they do and say, then want you to overlook it but yet still expect you to comply. Or simply say I am sorry, but continue to do the same stuff over and over... They are in and out with you. This actually becomes an unhealthy established pattern of double-mindedness... Go figure?

In order for something to change, change has to be made. This is how and why there are many unreconcilable differences. This is also how an impasse is formed. Quite often the problem is not resolved both parties just move on. This leaves an unhealthy lingering residual effect. Listen closely to what Luke says about repentance. Repentance does not mean repeat. It means to turn away from; and make a change.

Redeeming forgiveness comes with a condition.

Know some will never acknowledge wrongdoing, say they are sorry, or REPENT!

KNOW GOD & HIS WORD for yourself, and embrace its TRUTH and daily put it into practice. Seek the will and way of God above all.

What a difference the WORD of GOD makes! Repentance truly makes a difference. How interesting; Now they were brothers in Christ and both were “members of God’s family!” They took God's word seriously. This is why it is so important to know God’s Word and know who we are in Christ! “…Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents. Forgive him…” Luke 3.

Take heed.

Rebuke him.

Repent. For the Kingdom of GOD is at hand.

Forgive Him.

This is a healthy formula for forgiveness. The evidence is clear in Philemon. This is not a legalistic approach. But an acknowledgement of a wrong and moving forward in grace towards honoring God...

Each of us as individuals are quite different in Christ. We do not all think alike. Yet God loves us. We differ in our likes and dislikes. However, spiritually we really should not be separated simply by racial, political, cultural, personality differences, education, or economic barriers. We should seek to be on one accord in the Word. This is quite often not the case. when others malign you in the background or question your motives and intent. Fear not! Especially when you know they are totally wrong. Give them over to the Lord... This is why there is so much conflict. We should not compromise the Word to be accepted. As believers we should be willing to submit to the Truth of God's Word! After all this is why we say we are believers. However, the beliefs, culture, doctrines, denominational differences and traditions of men, often take precedent.

What will separate us all from GOD is sin. We do not have to allow sin to reign within our lives. This is why Christ Jesus died on the Cross. It is so very important to know the Lord & His Word for Yourself. As believers we each should be able to Stand upon the Word of God. As believers we can call upon Him 24/ 7. This is what we are called to do. A mutual desire to bring about healing in any relationship is sincerely wanting the Will of the Lord! Many operate outside of the Will of Lord and want you to cosign. Do not compromise what you now to be right. This is not about pride or rebellion but breaking a continuing cycle of ongoing dysfunction.

Today we can see the effects of what happens when God's principles or ignored.

"LIVE TO PLEASE GOD NOT man or woman."

God is worthy of all the honor and praise. It is He that should have the preeminence in all situations.

“This RIGHTEOUSNESS from GOD comes though FAITH in JESUS CHRIST to ALL that BELIEVE. There is no difference, for All have sinned and fallen short of the GLORY of GOD, and are justified freely by HIS GRACE through the redemption that came through JESUS CHRIST…” ROMAN 3. To be justified means to be declared not guilty! When GOD forgives us the record is wiped clean! JESUS CHRIST became our ATONEMENT! HE purchased our FREEDOM with HIS LIFE! It is now to HIM we owe our lives... You cannot buy or place a monetary value on SALVATION! It is priceless.

The Book of Philemon demonstrates true Christian fellowship and forgiveness. Paul gives a wonderful example of how to possibly deal with conflict within the Church or between friends. Since we have been forgiven then we too must learn to forgive. Is there someone you need to forgive? This does not mean that you have to resume a relationship with them.

Is God making a difference in your life? Philemon was truly remorseful. He was indeed converted. Paul himself vouched for his changed behavior. There was no doubt that he had repented. This is what broke down the walls. In this case, the building of a healthier relationship was established. This is how we break down the walls of division? God is powerful! Accepting Jesus Christ makes a difference! The key here is that Onesimus had repented! He took responsibility for his actions. He was a new creation! the new man took the reins. He had now really embraced God’s Way! God’s principles have not changed.

The relationship between Philemon and Onesimus were so important that this short powerful letter or should I say epistle has been included in the Bible as a Book! Philemon is one of the prison epistles that was written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment.

Although, we now come together to fellowship and congregate in a plethora of different types of small, large, grand and magnificent massive brick, and mortar buildings throughout the world, we must each personally embrace and hold dear the Word of God! Keep in mind that the building is not the Church. It is a place designated to gather for worship! Know God's Word for yourself! "In Him you are being built together to become a dwelling in which GOD lives by HIS SPIRIT." Ephesians 2 "Our Body is the Temple of the LIVING GOD!" It is so very important to develop an ongoing daily personal intimate relationship with JESUS CHRIST!

The early Church met in homes and Christianity was a daily lifestyle. Christ Jesus boldly taught the Apostles/Disciples that their bodies were the Temple of God. It is important to remember that “we the believers” are the Church! We must seek to embrace godly principles and implement them in our daily lives in this 21st century and embrace it as a daily lifestyle as well. Is Christ really making a difference in your life? "Be God's Church everyday and everywhere." We are to live or begin to live our daily lives in a way that pleases GOD; CHRIST JESUS really is coming back for HIS CHURCH without spot or wrinkle. "

Always keep in mind that GOD has only one CHURCH!

The Apostle Paul begins and concludes Philemon expressing the need for the grace of God. "...The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you in Spirit."



Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on October 13, 2020:

Grace, Joy, Peace and Blessings!

Celestine on August 13, 2020:

Thanks for sharing dear.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on April 16, 2012:

DR PastorCarlotta, Praise God! We are on one accord! Yes! Nobody comments are very insightful! Having the LORD in our lives truly does make a difference! Thank You for stopping by to share as well! In HIS, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings! God Bless You!

Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC on April 10, 2012:

Love this message and I also love with nobody said. Well written DeBorrah, as always you bring the message home! I pray that things are going well with you! Voted-Up on this message and when you have time, come visit. God Bless you always!!!!!

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on November 30, 2011:

Jesusmyjoy, Great! Thank You! In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings! God Bless You!

Betty Bolden from Bucyrus Ohio on November 29, 2011:

this is wonderful sis.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on September 20, 2011:

thang te, Philemon really teaches us great life lessons! Thank you for stopping by to share and Please do come again!

Peace & Blessings!

thang te on September 20, 2011:

The forgiveness from the book of philemon

WE need to imitate the life of Philemon.The true

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on May 31, 2011:

Stars, This really is a great overlooked book! I am glad that you enjoyed this! Thank you for stopping by to share, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on May 29, 2011:

This is such a wonderful hub, and so dearly enjoyed. God Bless You Mr.s Deborrah, and your work is always beautiful. And God Bless Your Precious Family.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on March 17, 2011:

Nobody, Philemon is a great book that illustrates forgiveness. Onesimus was converted after his encounter with Paul... How beautiful to see how powerful the Light of the Lord was shining through Paul! We can learn much here... God Bless you and may He continue to restore and replace all that has been lost and more for the sake of Christ Jesus... All His promises are true!

In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on March 16, 2011:

DeBorrah, as you know some of my personal testimony, my family has disowned me because of my choice to become a Christian. The reason I cherish my relationships with my Christian brothers and sisters is that they are what God has given me to replace that which the Gospel "took". God promises to give back anything we lose because of the cause of Christ Jesus. He says that forgiveness is a blessing that we will see. He forgives us so much and then gives so much, how can I not forgive and accept back a dear brother in Christ after he has wronged me. Look how much I wrong my God.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 10, 2010:

Kristine Manley, You are so welcome and Thank You! I am so glad that you enjoyed this! Thank you for stopping by to share and please do come again. In HIS Love, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

Kristine Manley from Atlanta, GA on December 10, 2010:

I so enjoyed this message. Thank you and Praise God for you.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on August 16, 2010:

Mamai Geoffrey, Amen! In HIS Love, Peace & Blessings!

MAMAI GEOFFREY on August 14, 2010:

Truly Forgiveness can bring peace ,love and unity among family and the public

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 20, 2009:

Sweetie1, This truly is a wonderful story of Forgiveness. When and if carried out sincerely the world really would be a much better place...Thank you for visiting and sharing your comments! Blessings!

sweetie1 from India on December 19, 2009:

Hi DeBorrah,

lovely hub and the thing about forgiveness is it makes world a beautiful place to live in. We Hindus are supposed to forgive everyone including our enemies on all our festivals and mind u we got atleast one festival every month.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 14, 2009:

James A. Watkins, The Bible was never meant to be used to justify the personal desires of anyone. It is to point us all to Jesus Christ and the Will and Way of the LORD! To be our "Life Manual" for daily living...

You are so right about "God's wisdom being foolishness to them." There is no spiritual value when one tries to use it to justify something that is not right! No doubt that it shines the LIGHT on whatever is not of Him! Thank you for visiting, Your comments are always enjoyed and welcomed! Love & Blessings!

James A Watkins from Chicago on December 14, 2009:

Amen! You are so right that this little book is overlooked. The only time I hear it mentioned is by pro-abortionists or pro-homosexual groups, who try to use to say: you can't follow the Bible, it justifies slavery! Obviously, the true point of the story escapes them. Ah, God's wisdom is but foolishness to them. Thank you for a great article. A hidden gem.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 11, 2009:

Einron, Thank You! Yes, I Agree as you say; "If you love, you can forgive." Thank You for visiting and sharing your wise! Blessings!

einron from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on December 11, 2009:

Very well written. Thanks! Forgiveness, I believe comes from love of God and love of Man. If you have love, you can forgive.

God bless.

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 11, 2009:

Creativeone, Thank you! As always your visits and comments are welcomed! It is by His Grace we are Saved! I agree! "Forgiveness is healing of the soul" Yes it helps you to get "better not bitter." You are quite welcome! Love & Blessings!

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 10, 2009:

Donnaisabella, You are quite welcome! Thank you sister for adding your wonderful wise comments. Thank you for visiting as well and please do come again, Blessings!

Benny Faye Ashton Douglass from Gold Canyon, Arizona on December 10, 2009:

We all know that Gods good grace goes a long ways, but without forgiveness, we will just fade away and die; forgiveness is the healing of soul, mind and body and we cannot grow without it. Thank you Lady D, for a wonderful hub. Godspeed to you. creativeone59

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 08, 2009:

PeacenHim, "Forgive them for they know not what they do" This is still so often true today! This is why it is important for us to cling to the Lord and be sure of who we are in HIM! Mistreatment and persecution comes along with being a child of God!

Just imagine how it must have been for Jesus to know that they sought to undermine His integrity, catch him doing something wrong, they slandered Him, mistreated Him and even killed Him! He is the ultimate case of ABUSE! Yet He arose with ALL POWER!!! He remained FAITHFUL and conquered sin in the flesh! Therefore He redeemed us from the power of sin reigning in our lives... He has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit to guide us to ALL TRUTH through this maze of life... What a wonderful example He is for ALL of us!

This is why we NEED HIM as SAVIOR! PRAISE GOD! We have so much to be thankful for!

Thank you for sharing, Blessings!

Isabella Mukanda from Fort Myers on December 08, 2009:

Thanks sister for this wonderful and timely message. The message of forgiveness more than anything is what we need to hear, embrace and apply as God's children for the world has a lot to give that requires a forgiving heart each and every day. Thanks DeBorrah! May God richly bless your heart.

peacenhim on December 08, 2009:

Wonderful!! "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." Was Jesus' last Words on the cross. I believe it was of course by no accident that these were His last utterances, just ten words, but most powerful as "Forgiveness" was the reason for His Being. He came in order to save us from sin, and to teach us how to forgive by example. Not seven times seven, as Peter suggested, but seventy times seven, meaning as many times as it takes, always be ready and willing to forgive your brother. Thank you DeBorrah for another great Hub!

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 08, 2009:

RevLady, There is so much precious Treasure we can share & proclaim; what a wealth of wisdom and knowledge that is available in the WORD! We must remember that God has forgiven us all! As His children we have been "washed in the Blood" and forgiven! PRAISE GOD! It is my prayer that we encourage others to get excited about who we are in Jesus Christ!

You are quite welcome! Thank you for sharing, In HIS love & Blessings!

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans (author) on December 08, 2009:

TimesHealsAll, It is truly a Blessing when you know without doubt you are GOD'S child! There is power in the precious Blood of JESUS! "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of JESUS! Who can make me whole again? Nothing but the Blood of JESUS!"

Yes! you are so right! We can celebrate life knowing we have VICTORY through CHRIST JESUS and HIS precious gift of ETERNAL LIFE! PRAISE GOD!!!

Forgiveness is powerful! Yes let's get excited for what He has done in our lives! PRAISE GOD!!! Thank you sister for sharing, Blessings!

RevLady from Lantana, Florida on December 08, 2009:

DeBorrah, This hub is certainly timely as it not only directs us to an often time overlooked book of the Bible, but it also presents an emphasis on forgiveness, one of the primary tenets of the Christian faith. As we celebrate the birth of our Lord, we appreciate being reminded of His many lessons on forgiveness and the spiritual freedom that comes with it.

Thank you!

Vicky Gentry from Las Vegas, Nevada on December 07, 2009:

By faith we ARE justified, forgiven by the Grace of our loving God through his Son Jesus Christ! Wiped clean. Sin has NO power and no part in our lives anymore. We are family, members of one body, the body of Christ! We will enter the Kingdom of our lord and unite for eternity in his abiding love! Death is washed away and life is eternal! Praise God!!! I love Hugs on forgiveness and this one is wonderful DeBorrah!!! I get so fired up! Blessings sister!!!

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