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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Becoming Useful for God

We live in a broken world. Since sin entered our world, brokenness has been part of it. The effects of broken relationships with God and others are apparent in the world we live in. You probably know some of them or perhaps it is you. But we are not hopeless. The Gospel of Christ offers hope. It offers restoration and reconciliation with God and others. In some cases, it requires restitution.

Philemon is a very short book (only 335 words) found in the New Testament. It is a personal letter written by the Apostle Paul to a believer called Philemon. It deals with a runaway slave named Onesimus (meaning “useful”). In the providence of God, Onesimus met Paul while he was incarcerated for the Gospel. Paul shared the Gospel with him and Onesimus became a believer in Christ. Onesimus was restored and reconciled with God. Onesimus became useful for Paul and for God. But Paul knew that Onesimus had a broken relationship with Philemon that needed to be reconciled and restored. Paul wrote the letter, which Onesimus took with him back to the man he had wronged. In it, he asks-not with apostolic authority but as a brother bound in chains for Christ’s sake-to take Onesimus back not as a slave but as a brother in Christ (Paul points to God’s providence in allowing this to have happened in v. 15). Paul tells Philemon, “… welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” (vv. 17-18) Paul calls for reconciliation between Onesimus and Philemon. There is no doubt that Philemon did as Paul asked and Onesimus made his wrong right.

The Gospel of Christ restores and reconciles our relationship with God and with others. This often requires we make things right with others as well. In some cases, our restitution offers will be denied but our duty remains the same.

Think about your life and those around you this week. How is your relationship with Christ? Are you being useful for him? Are there relationships that need to be reconciled and restored? Seek those opportunities to share the Gospel of peace to those with broken relationships.
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