In Defense

Men, how far would you go to defend someone? If they had done something wrong would you take their punishment for them or pay their fine? A family member or a friend would be one thing, but what if it were someone you didn’t even know?

The Bible tells us of a man named Philemon, whose slave, Onesimus, had run away. Somehow Onesimus had come to be in the company of the Apostle Paul while Paul was being held for trial. This is part of a letter that Paul wrote:

“To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker,

“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

“I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus—I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me. No longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother.

“So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—” (Philemon).

You’d think that Paul would be far too important to concern himself with a runaway slave. After all, he’s not family. He’s a man he just met. And, really Onesimus deserves to be sent back to his owner and punished. But, Paul looks past the offense and sees value in this slave.

That’s the example that God has given us. You don’t get a greater spread in value than Holy God and sinful man. Yet, God saw enough value in us that rather than getting what we deserve, He paid our debt and treats us as sons. Freely we have received so let’s freely give. Besides, the devil does enough slandering without our help. Ephesians 4: 29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up.”

Paul spoke up for Onesimus; Jesus defended us with his life. Men, how far would you go?



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