I Appeal to You for Love's Sake [Philemon]
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; 6and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake. 7For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. 8Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do what is proper, 9yet for love's sake I rather appeal to you--since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus--
25The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Philemon is a short one-chapter book which tucked in the New Testament and probably seldom read. Paul is pleading the case for a runaway slave who has now become a Christian. He is sending him back to his owner who is not only a Christian but one who is know for his love for Jesus and other Christians. As usual in his letters, Paul begins and ends it with reminding them about God's grace.
I remember when my eyes were first being opened to God's grace. I was teaching inductive Bible studies and one of the things we did was look for key words and try to put a title to each book that would include those key words. It dawned on me one day that every one of the epistles should have the word grace in the title because it was so prevalent in each book. Up to that time in my life "grace" was just a word that kind of floated out there. I could not have defined it but in my mind it had something to do with my forgiveness. I had no idea that it was a word that would change the way I lived, a word that actually was ongoing and described God's continued work in my life. Paul did understand. I don't think he ever got tired of reminding others about God's grace. He knew how crucial it was in each life. He also know it would only be God's grace that would cause Philemon to take back his runaway slave and treat him with love and give him the strength to "have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord." (v. 15-16)
Lord, I praise You, today for Your grace. It is only Your work in my live that would enable me to do the impossible - love someone who has wronged me deeply. May "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit," as you face impossible situations today.