Reconciliation through the book of Philemon
Have you ever asked yourself if God could forgive you for all that you have done? Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that have led us to doubt whether God can forgive us. After the fall of man, breakdown in relationships whether it be between man God and that between man and man were inevitable.
In the book of Philemon, the Apostle Paul portrays an image of what Jesus did for us through the cross when he wrote the letter to Philemon concerning Onesimus. This image is one where through the cross, Jesus steps in and says ”God whatever is owed to you by your people put it to my account”. God desires to reconcile us to Himself through His Son (Romans 5:10) (2 Corinthians 5:18-19 ). This means that when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior our sins are forgiven and as a result, we are reconciled to God. Reconciliation cannot happen unless there is forgiveness and we witness in the book of Philemon that Onesimus had first accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior before reconciliation between him and Philemon could happen (Philemon 1:10).
Reconciliation can be defined as a restoration of the relationship between people, or in this case, between God and His people. In the book of Philemon, we see what reconciliation means when Paul asked that Philemon put everything owed to him into Paul's account (Philemon 1:18). In Jesus, there is a beautiful action of forgiveness and reconciliation that takes place. Jesus has done his part what is left is for us to take it and be reconciled to the father.
So you might find yourself asking the question of what is next? I have been reconciled with God what about those ruined relationships with my loved ones? Am I only supposed to walk in reconciliation with God? What Paul teaches us in this particular book is that God wants us to be reconciled with others (Philemon 1:8-20). There are beautiful plans that God has for us and some of those plans are set out to take place within communities and families. God wants us to walk in those relationships not only because it brings joy to us and others but because it also reflects His kingdom.
Finally, In the beginning, a question was asked as to whether you think God could forgive you. Now I would ask that you look at Jesus and believe what you owed God was paid into Jesus's account and that you are now forgiven and reconciled to the Father. Jesus says that all scripture points to him (John 5:39) He is the answer to the reconciliation that you have been trusting God for between you and your loved ones. This should then encourage you that what happened for Onesimus can happen for you and your family. Jesus stepped into your place and allowed for you to walk in reconciliation and begin to see that fruit in your lifetime.