Couple notes from my Life Application Study Bible....
The altar of burnt offering was the first thing the Israelites saw as they entered the tabernacle courtyard. Here sacrifices were constantly made. Its vivid presence constantly reminded the people that they could only come to God by means of the sacrifice. It was the only way their sins could be forgiven and taken away. In Hebrews 10:1-18, Jesus Christ is portrayed as the ultimate sacrifice. This teaches that we are not to seek any other means to having a personal relationship with God. No counselling theory, Eastern mysticism, or modern ideas of spirituality can remove our sin. Jesus is our only High Priest today. Put all your confidence in him.
It is clear from all of these instructions that there was going to be a lot of skill involved in crafting everything for the tabernacle and the priestly garments. God has given all of us special skills. God wants to fill us with His Spirit so that we will use these skills for His glory, not our own. How can you and I use our gifts and talents to help people and glorify God?
Reading Philemon reminded me again of how encouraging Paul was to his friends and the people he ministered to. Can you imagine getting one of his letters? His love and dedication is clear, but so is his willingness to challenge, convict, and hold accountable! Are we being that type of friend to those around us? Do we build them up in love? Do we love them enough to challenge them in their walk with God? Do we try to reconcile two believers who are at odds with each other? Do we do so humbly, and in love - not from a position of power or authority? Do we share with others our faith, our resources, and our love? Do we have someone we need to forgive?
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Exodus 29-30; James 1
Onesimus--from slave to son!
I looked into the story of Onesimus a little bit and found this website (http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/onesimus.htm)
where some further info is given. I really liked this quote:
"We read above that while running from his master, Onesimus met up with Paul and became a Christian. The slave, who had stolen betrayed and run from his master, had been turned around by the power of the gospel! While you may not have thought about it, there is a very real sense in which this speaks of our lives, for all of humanity are slaves until they find the Lord Jesus Christ."
and this one:
"“Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:35-36)
Isn’t that fantastic? I think it is. A son belongs to the family forever! And that is the wonderful position believers find themselves in today… no longer just a slave or a servant of God, but a member of the very household of God. Paul also emphasised to Philemon that Onesimus would return ‘no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother.’ So it is with us..."
"And the Lord Jesus, for His part, said ‘whatever debt of sin that is owed to you Father, charge that to my account.’ Your debt of sin was not overlooked but was entirely paid for by the once and for all sacrifice of our wonderful saviour Jesus Christ.
So Onesimus was a very fortunate man. At one time a runaway thieving slave, but now an accepted beloved brother, restored to his master. It is a fantastic reminder of the wonderful grace that has been shown to each of us who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus. We are no longer slaves but sons."
My train of thought after reading the Philemon passage is similar to that of Pamela's. Paul doesn't use the word forgiveness, but that is the story of Onesimus here.
Every action we make causes a ripple effect. Belief in God alters our language. Our love for God affects our daily relationships. Our hope in God enters into our work. On the flip side, their opposites (unbelief, indifference, and despair) also have a rippling effect.
In vs 4-7 The Message translation reads:
Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, "Oh, thank you, God!" I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other Christians. And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers.
Paul was confident that Philemon would forgive Onesimus and welcome him back because of the strong faith and love he had in Christ. Paul's call to forgiveness is foundational for those who have been set free through the life changing experience of God's grace.
If our faith in God doesn't spill out, it is under suspicion of being a fantasy at best, or hypocrisy at worst.
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