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PHILEMON

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, MAY 12

SCRIPTURE: PHILEMON

I have no way of knowing how much you know about this short book/letter that was written by Paul to a man named Philemon.  It doesn’t get a lot of publicity for some reason but it really is a theologically rich book.  Let me give you a little background and then we will look at some really cool theology.

When Paul wrote this book/letter, he was a prisoner in Rome.  He wrote to a dear friend of his, Philemon, who lived in Colossae.  The human link between these two was a runaway slave name Onesimus.  

It appears that Onesimus may have robbed his master, Philemon, and ran off to Rome to get lost in the crowd.  It is estimated that there were possibly tens of millions of slaves in the Roman Empire at this time and there would have been an untold number of slaves that had escaped their masters.  So, it would have been an easy thing for a runaway slave like Onesimus to get lost in the crowd.

Through God’s amazing providence, Onesimus met Paul in Rome.  And Paul led him to the Lord.  Much of the rest of the letter has to do with whether Philemon should allow Onesimus to stay with Paul and help him or whether Paul should Onesimus back to Philemon.  There all kinds of social issues at play in the decision that would have had far reaching implications.

I want you to skip down to verse 17.  Here Paul says to Philemon that whatever Onesimus owes should be charged to Paul’s account.  And Paul promised to take that debt upon himself and pay it.  Now let’s use this and let me help you walk through some theology.

First, notice that Paul did not suggest Philemon ignore the Onesimus’ crimes or forget about the debt that he owed.  Instead Paul assured Philemon it would all be paid. 

It takes more than love to solve this problem.  Love must pay a price.  God does not save us by His love.  He loves the whole world but the whole world is not going to be saved.  God saves us by His grace which is love that is willing to pay a price, love that is willing to make a sacrifice.

Our sin created a huge debt that we could not repay, not in a million years.  So, Jesus went to the cross and died for our sin, paying that debt for us.  

This is what is called imputation.  To impute means to put on account.  When Jesus hung on the cross my sins were put on His account and He paid the debt of my sins which is death.  When I accepted Jesus as my Savior, His righteousness was put on my account.  

At that point, Jesus can say to the Father, receive this one as you receive me because I have paid his debt.  In verse 17, Paul challenged Philemon to receive Onesimus as he would receive Paul.

Wowzers!  My sin was put on Jesus’ account.  Jesus’ righteousness was put on my account.  And now God receives me as He received Jesus. 

What a Savior!  What a glorious Savior!

Posted by Joe Ligon with 0 Comments

Ephesians 6

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, MAY 11

SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 6

Today we bring our journey through Ephesians to a close.  Although this book has only six chapters, it really is just full of good, important stuff.  I regret that we were only able to scratch the surface.  But the reality is we all have limited time and limited space for everything including these daily devotions.  I hope our quick tour through Ephesians has been helpful.

Although this final chapter of Ephesians speaks of parent/child relationships and employer/employee relationships, it is perhaps best known for its section on the armor of God.  This begins in verse 10.

As this section opens we are encouraged to be strong and to put on the whole armor of God.  The reason for this is the spiritual battle(s) that Christ followers face on at least a daily basis.  We are told this is necessary to stand up against the schemes or wiles of the devil.  The word translated schemes or wiles is where we get our word methods from but it refers to trickery or deceit.  In other words, the devil does not fight fair.  He is a liar who will use every trick in the book to defeat you or any other Christ follower.

Verse 12 gives us an incredible insight to our spiritual battles.  Our battle or fight or wrestling is not with flesh and blood.  In other words, our actual enemy is not human.  Our struggle should never be with each other.  Instead our battles are with the demons that serve Satan.  Honestly that sometimes takes on a human form and sometimes humans are used mightily of Satan.  But we really need to remember who are real enemy really is.

As you read through the description of the armor of God, you will find that the vast majority of it is defensive in nature.  It is designed to protect our minds and our hearts.  We are to be wrapped in God’s truth and to wear spiritual shoes that will keep us from slipping down or slipping backwards.  We are given a shield that absorbs and extinguishes the fiery, flaming darts of the enemy. 

The only offensive weapon we are given is a sword which this passage defines as the Word of God.  The only offensive weapon we have is the Bible.  The only way we can be adept at using this offensive weapon is we have to spend time with it and in it.  We just can’t carry around our Bibles and swing them at unsuspecting folks.  We have to get into the Word deep enough that the Word gets into us.

But even with all that armor and with that very sharp sword, we still need spiritual help to survive and even be victorious in the spiritual battles.  Verse 18 challenges us to pray for ourselves.  The same verse also challenges us to pray for other Christ followers.  Prayer not only prepares our hearts but also prayer unleashes the power of God.  Remember He is able to do immeasurably more than all that we ask or think according to His power that is at work in us. (Ephesians 3:20)

When you put all of this together, you realize that the Christian life is not for sissies.  And it is not for the faint of heart.  The call to the Christian life is a call to battle that is not only real and intense but it is also often an unseen spiritual conflict.  As Christ followers we have to be willing to stand against the enemy and to pray for our brothers and sisters to stand with us.

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