Give the main features of Paul's letter to Philemon

Paul began his letter to Philemon by first thanking God for
the love which he learnt Philemon had in serving the Lord and toward the
church. As Philemon’s benefactor, Paul claimed that he had a right to command
him to do his bidding but he would, however, not use compulsion.Rattier, he
chose to use persuasion in asking Philemon to accept back his former stave,
Onesimus who had wronged him but had now become Paul’s son in Christ. Again,
Onesimus had previously made himself useless to Philemon, but now as a
Christian, he could become useful to both Philemon and Paul. He was, therefore,
sending Onesimus back with love-though he would have wished to retain him in
his service in Rome. He would however not do so without first getting
Philemon’s consent in order to remove any shade of command. Paul then observed
that Onesimus had departed from his master (for a short while) so that at his
return, he might have him for ever, but this time, no longer as a slave, but
more importantly, as a Christian brother. He, therefore, appealed to Philemon,
if he still regarded him as a partner in Christ, to receive Onesimus back as he
would receive Paul himself. If Onesimus owed him anything, he should charge
same to his own (Paul’s) account with assurance that he would pay it back on
his next visit. In the mean time, he should prepare a guest room for him and
pray to God to make his visit a reality.

Reasons why a Christian should
show forgiveness include:

  • It shows obedience to Jesus’ injunction 
  • Forgiveness restores peace and love in family, community, 
  • Forgiveness of
    our sins by God depends on the extent to which we forgive others.

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