Our verse for today comes from Philemon 15-16, “For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave – a beloved brother.”
Background & Application
I think you would agree that we are a results-driven people. Companies constantly monitor the bottom line and will make whatever changes they can to improve their results. A common phrase being tossed around these days is, “how’s that working out for you?” We place value on the net effect rather than the process. Even spiritually, we are prone to focus on the final outcome. if our prayers seem to go unanswered, we tend to spend less time praying. If going to church hasn’t been exciting and speaking to my interests, then regular attendance can become merely an option. But maybe we don’t repent because we are afraid of the results. Paul would never have been beaten and spent time in prison had he not repented and accepted Christ. Certainly, Onesimus had much to fear in repenting of his crime, having stolen from his master Philemon and run away. But Paul reminds us of the beautiful transformation that repentance brings. We are no longer a slave to the sin and its guilt. We are reunited as brothers in Christ, not just with the one we offended, but with the holy God whose arms want to welcome us back in. If I believe repentance brings those results, then I’m going to do whatever I can to get them.
As we pray today, focus on the glorious effects that repentance brings, and on the God who allows us back in.