"Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 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, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.” Philemon 1:15-16 NIV
As we reflect upon Paul's relationship with Onesimus, Philemon's slave, we cannot help but be reminded of God's love for us.
Onesimus ran away from Philemon, and whilst he was on the run, he grew in his relationship with God. Paul, seeing his potential, reminded Philemon that relationship founded on limitless, unmerited love and freedom demonstrate the very essence of God.
Onesimus was a slave; he knew no other way of life...it would have been easy for Philemon to simply receive him back to his prior position. But Paul urges Philemon to promote him to the status of a brother, to liberate him from his previous status.Today you have been liberated from the position of slave to that of brother.
Love and freedom always win above bondage and judgement