February 22, 2015

Stage Three: The Spiritual Young Adult

Philemon 17-25

The word translated “partner” is koinonia, which means “to have in common.” It is translated “communication” in Philemon 6, which means “fellowship.” Paul volunteered to help him solve the problem with Onesimus. He made two suggestions: “Accept him as you would me” and “Charge [whatever Onesimus owes you] to my account” (Philemon 18).

In order to truly obey the Great Commission’s command to make disciples, we must partner with fellow Christians in all stages of the discipleship process. This very human story of Onesimus and Philemon is the perfect illustration of what Jesus Christ has done for us as believers. God’s people are identified with Jesus Christ like Onesimus was with Paul. God receives us just like he receives his son. “He made [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). We certainly cannot approach God with any merit of our own. God receives us when we come to him through faith in Jesus Christ. The word “receive” in Philemon 17 means “to receive into one’s family circle.”

Imagine a slave entering and becoming a full member of his master’s family!