Watering the Tulips
“If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me. But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account” – Philemon 1:17-18
Onesimus had been “unprofitable” to Philemon in previous days (Philemon 1:11). In fact, there could have been much more to this story than one may think. Perhaps Onesimus had actually cost Philemon money in one way or another. Whatever happened, one thing we can be sure of – Onesimus owed Philemon in some form or fashion.
It may be that Philemon had tried to find his useless servant and was unable to. It may be that he sent Onesimus away and told him never to return. Either way, we know that Onesimus had wronged him and owed him.
However, Paul was the friend of Onesimus. Paul had neither wronged Philemon nor robbed him. In fact, it seems that Paul had been a very faithful friend to Philemon. As the faithful friend of both Philemon and Onesimus, Paul desired to stand between the two as a mediator. Our text even says that anything which Onesimus owed to Philemon was to be put on the account of Paul. Oh, what a wonderful picture of the work of Jesus Christ for sinners.
There isn’t one person that hasn’t done far worse to God than anything Onesimus could have done to Philemon. Naturally, we are all “unprofitable” (Romans 3:12). Each of us has “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Though Onesimus owed a debt that was temporal, we owed a debt that was eternal (Matthew 25:41). Because we had sinned against the Holy and Righteous King of the universe, we owed a debt that we had no ability to repay. What a horrible predicament man is naturally in!!
Yet, just as there was hope for Onesimus, so there is hope for man through Christ. Without Christ, man is without “hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). In Christ, we are assured eternal life. As believers, we are guaranteed that all of our wrongs were put on His account when He died on the cross for our sins. Our entire debt of sin (past, present and future) has been paid! Without any help on our part, Christ passed through the judgment of God that we deserved and paid it in full. What a wonderful Savior is He!
Child of God, thank Him today for the wonderful gift of forgiveness that we have in Christ. Surely, Biblical forgiveness isn’t the “forgive and forget” mentality that we have today. God’s forgiveness of our sins is based on the work of our Substitute, Jesus Christ.
Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net . “Your App to the Gospel” can be downloaded at iTunes for iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch, Google Play for Android, the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the Windows Store for Windows 8/8.1 based tablets and computers. Please download it today!