Gospel Forgiveness

This weeks’ Reading Challenge

(3-21-12 through 3-28-12)
Philemon 1:8-16


The book of Philemon presents the perfect picture of what gospel forgiveness is. Just like Philemon was Onesimus’ master, God is our master. When Onesimus sinned against Philemon, he could not come back to Philemon on his own terms. The same is true with us. Because we have sinned against God, we cannot come back to God on our own terms. Therefore, Paul steps in as a mediator between Philemon and Onesimus and pleads with Philemon to receive Onesimus back. Paul is even willing to pay back the debt that Phile­mon is owed. In the gospel, Christ serves as our mediator, bringing us back to God, and paying the debt that we owed.

If were to overlay this example to our own lives, God would be Philemon, we would be Onesimus, and Jesus would be Paul.  We owe God a debt due to our sin, a debt that results in death (just like Onesimus’ debt). God has every right to collect on this but like Paul, Jesus stands between us and God taking on our debt for us.

Discussion Questions

How is the book of Philemon an example of the gospel? Who does each person represent?

Why cant Onesimus come back to Philemon on his own terms? Why can’t we come back to God on our own terms?

How does Paul represent what Christ has done for us?


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