Saved by Grace – Philemon

  

So, if you consider me you partner,
receive him as you would receive me.
If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything,
charge that to my account.

Don’t you hate those darn “if’s” in life? If you do this, then I will do that? It makes life “conditional.”

And yet, life is conditional. There are tradeoffs and consequences for actions.

First, “If you consider me your partner,” Paul, once again, takes a position of humility, not as Philemon’s leader or elder, but as a equal partner.

After all, they are both sinners saved by grace.

Then, “receive him as you would receive me.” Just as Jesus takes our place in payment for our sins, Paul draws a dramatic picture of Onesimus taking Paul’s place, as a “partner,” not a runaway slave.

After all, they are both sinners saved by grace.

Second, “If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything” Paul acknowledges the wrong done. He knows this is not easy. Onesimus is a sinner who has been saved by grace. Before God, he is holy. But, he still has debts here on earth that need to be reckoned. 

Then, “charge it to my account.” Just as Jesus took all our actions, our wrongs, our debts, and paid for them through the cross, Paul steps into position to take on Onesimus’ debts and put them onto his account. Remember, Paul is in prison. How would he pay? He doesn’t know, but he does know…

After all, they are all sinners saved by grace. 

It’s hard to forgive others, even if they are brothers or sisters in faith. The physical things they did, and maybe still do, grind within us. We want payment. At the very least, we want a confession. It‘s hard to move forward without it.

For me, it’s only when I’ve been able to say in my heart, “OK, God, put it on my account. You’ve saved me when I owed so much more, and you are continuing to save me as I continue to sin. Put it on my account, because I know…”

We are sinners…

saved by your immeasurable, freely given, sacrificial…

grace.