Philemon 1.23-25 – Grace

Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you. Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my colaborers, greet you too. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

(Philemon 1.23-25)

Paul signs off today by sending Philemon (the you of v.24) the greetings of five of his colaborers. The same five also appear in his letter to the Colossians (4.10-14) with the addition there of Jesus, who is called Justus. Epaphras is highly commended as a fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, too.

All of the letters attributed to Paul finish with a benediction, a short word of blessing. Philemon is no different:

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

Having spoken to Philemon singularly in v.24, now Paul is speaking to a broader audience, perhaps the church in your house of vv.1-2. The believers there already knew that salvation came by grace alone (Ephesians 2.8-9) but now Paul wanted them to experience it in their daily walk through life. The ‘your spirit’ of his closing words refers to one’s inner spiritual self. As they had experienced grace for salvation, Paul wanted them to experience grace for living, too. 

The same is true for you and me. If you’ve come to a place where you know that your salvation is assured through the grace of God alone, then the next step is to live in and with that grace each and every day. 

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”


So what happened to Onesimus?

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It seems like Onesimus was received back as the dear brother that Paul wished and, very likely, that he went on to serve the Lord and His people in the same manner in which he served Paul:

“In A.D. 110, the bishop of Ephesus was named Onesimus, and it could have been this same man. If Onesimus was in his late teens or early twenties when Paul wrote this letter, he would then be about 70 years old in A.D.110 and that was not an unreasonable age for a bishop in those days.”

“Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Ephesians, maketh mention of Onesimus, as pastor of Ephesus, next after Timothy. The Roman Martyrologue saith, that he was stoned to death at Rome, under Trajan the emperor.”


References

Edwin C. Deibler – Philemon

Enduring Word – Philemon

John Trapp – Philemon

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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