I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. – Philemon 1:10-16 ESV
What a great message and a timely message. This epistle (letter) is USEFUL to us more today in America, than ever before. This book is useful to deal with the rampant RACISM and SOCIAL JUSTICE, and CRITICAL RACE THEORY and all the other vehicles that the devil is using in America today to divide us and destroy us- not only as a nation, but as a body. From Gotquestions.org: Latinized form of the Greek name Ὀνήσιμος (Onesimos), which meant “beneficial, profitable”. Saint Onesimus was an escaped slave of Philemon who met Saint Paul while in prison and was converted by him. Paul sent him back to Philemon carrying the epistle that appears in the New Testament. Paul uses a play on words when he refers to Onesimus in verse 11: “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.” The name Onesimus means “helpful,” “useful,” or “profitable.” It was a common name for slaves in that day. Before salvation, Onesimus had been useless or unprofitable to Philemon, but now he had become immensely beneficial to both his master and to Paul. As a believer in Jesus Christ, Onesimus lived up to his name. Philemon, from the noun φιλημα (philema), kiss or hug, from the adjective φιλος (philos), friend or beloved. He Who Shows Kindness, Mister Kiss- we might call this LOVE. It actually has the same Greek root; PHILOS, as does Phileo, which is where the name Philadelphia comes from as well, it is brother love! This is how great our God is, he has layers of meaning in each word, in each verse, in each chapter and throughout the entire Bible! The biblical use of the word, “mystery” refers to some truth that had been hidden in the past, but was eventually revealed by God. In this sense it is a “sacred secret. It is truly a mystery and a blessing to have this light illuminated to the glory of God!
Leader, this book is misused in teaching, and in wanting to manipulate the WORD OF GOD, to meet our fleshly needs, our fleshly way of thinking. We are called to think differently than the world, yet we have been CONNED into participating in the politics and hate of the world. The devil learned early on that he could not defeat the church from outside of it. So in the 4th century the devil joined the church and has been working to RID IT OF ITS EFFECTIVENESS since Constantine assisted the devil in his scheme and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 6:11, 2 Corinthians11:14) This letter is the only prison letter that Paul addressed to an individual. Philemon- the only place this name is ever used in the Bible, this small letter, seemingly specifically targeted to one man, about one man, about ONE GOD-MAN- is about FORGIVENESS, which is about LOVE! This letter is not about slavery, it is not about social justice, it is not about Critical Race Theory- it is about forgiveness and love. We are never more like GOD than when we forgive. We are never more like the SONS OF PERDITION, as when we are keeping a record of wrong, keeping a pound of flesh, telling the world about our wrongs and our injustices. Notice Paul sent him back to his MASTER and never once said anything about the institution of slavery, or indentured servitude. He sent him back, with a request to set HIM FREE! This is what Jesus does for us! We might still be a slave to sin, or addiction, or hatred, or self-pity- but Jesus offers us freedom under all circumstances!
Conduit, John MacArthur states the following regarding the book of Philemon and the subject of slavery: “At no point in scripture is there ever made to abolish slavery. At any time did any prophet, preachers, teachers, or apostles- of the New Testament ever attack slavery. But any call to righteous living, any call to HOLY LOVE will eliminate the abuses that are in ANY social system. In fact, quite the contrary, there are, throughout the new testament, many, may texts to where slavery becomes a model of Christian Principle. Slavery become a picture, as it were, as how we are related to God as His slaves, as His servants.” See Ephesians 6, Colossians 4, 1 Timothy 6:1-2, 1 Peter 2:18. 1 Corinthians 7, what I call the REMAIN chapter, states this, as well: Each one should remain in the situation he was in when he was called. Were you a slave when you were called? Do not let it concern you—but if you can gain your freedom, take the opportunity. For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman. Conversely, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. Brothers, each one should remain in the situation he was in when God called him. (1 Corinthians 7:20-24) The entire ROMAN EMPIRE was built on slavery, 2\3 of the people at that time were slaves. When the Christian Gospel, the GOOD NEWS came into this “environment”, Apostles and Preachers were not about to change the focus from a SPIRITUAL one, to a SOCIAL ONE! Oh if we could have such wisdom today! The church is being destroyed from within by so many people who IDENTIFY as Christian, but are hosting the SPIRIT OF OFFENSE with the CANCER of SOCIAL JUSTICE. We have an example in this book, and the GOOD BOOK: If Jesus and the apostles would have attacked slavery, it would have destroyed the Roman Empire. The hope that any slave had, and that we have today is in a CHANGED HEART. That is what Jesus, and the GOSPEL offers us, a changed heart, to where we treat our fellow man as ourselves. This is the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37–40). We are never more LIKE GOD, than when we FORGIVE! We are never more like the Sons of Perdition as when we keep our record of wrong, our pound of flesh and tell the world of every grievance that has ever happened to us and anybody who looked like us! Jesus COMMANDED us, forgive or He will not forgive you! When the devil reminds you, our country-of our past- you remind him of his future! “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10)