Called to be free
The transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it takes us from being slaves to sin, dead in our trespasses with a guilty verdict on our lives and a price that we could never afford to pay to being – sons of God with a bountiful inheritance.
Sons of God are called to walk in total freedom. (Galatians 5:13).
In the book of Philemon 1, we find Onesimus, once a run-away slave, now a son.
How had this transformation happened in Onesimus’s life? How had he been set free?
In John 8, Jesus said to the Jews which had believed on him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Abiding in Christ and knowing the truth are mandatory to finding and enjoying our freedom in Christ. It is the truth that we know that sets us free. We must have the deepest desire above all else to know the truth, the word of God.
As we continue in Christ, in his word, as we come into the knowledge of the truth, the knowledge of what we have and who we have become in Christ this causes our minds to be renewed from old mindsets and ways of life and we are transformed. (Romans 12:2)
As we walk in the realities of who God says we are according to his word, we become mature sons of God. Free and unbound by the old yokes of slavery. We walk in the manifestation of the new creation realities, in righteousness consciousness. We talk different, we do good works prepared for us, we begin to bear good fruit as children of God in whom the Spirit of God dwells. (Ephesians 2:10, John 15:8, Colossians 1:10)
As we continue in the word, the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is the change agent to mature sonship and deeper dimensions of fellowship with the Father. (Galatians 4). This is the privilege we have as believers in Jesus Christ.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” -John 1:12
Through the gospel, preached, believed and understood we are recreated and made to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. We are born again by the imperishable seed who is Jesus Christ, the son of God who lives and abides forever. The seed that fell to the ground and died, Hebrews 2:9 says, he tasted death for everyone. Through his death came this new family. Jesus suffered an agonising death on the cross to bring us into the family of God. (1 Peter 1:22-23, Hebrews 2:10).
“ For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
“I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
“I will put My trust in Him.”
“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.” – Hebrews 10:10-13
Jesus calls us his brothers and sisters, his children. You are a child of God.
As a run-away slave from his master Philemon, Onesimus came under the discipleship of Paul through which his life is totally changed to the extent that Paul is willing to stake his life as a ransom for him. In Philemon 1:18 we read, “If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it…”
How much is this like Jesus our redeemer?
We were redeemed from an empty way of life with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect - 1 Peter 18. Jesus the ransom for our sins who paid the hefty price when he bore our sins on that cross. Who liberated us from bondage by his blood bringing us into a place of undeserved privilege and peace with God. Through whom we have been made the righteousness of God. (Romans 5:1, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
Paul is confident of the transformation that has taken place in Onesimus’s life.
Onesimus is now living upto the meaning of his name which means “useful”. In light of this transformation. Paul does the work of an intermediary, to restore fellowship on better terms between Philemon and Onesimus. In Philemon 1:15 he writes, “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”
The Lord Jesus paid the ransom and became an intermediary for us, having borne our sins at the cross to bring us into right standing with the father. Not as we were, not as slaves, not as sinners, but as the righteousness of God in Christ, as sons of God. Jesus ransomed us, he redeemed us, he purchased our freedom at the cross. Not just that, scripture says that he always lives to intercede for us before the father!
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1
Onesimus may still have had physical chains and charges against him just like Paul did, a bondservant in chains, but not spiritually. Spiritually Onesimus was a new man. This had become evident enough for Paul to send him back to his former master with strong recommendation and praises.
Galatians 5:1 tells us that It is for freedom’s sake that we have been set free, in different words – Jesus has set you free, now stay free.Galatians 5:13 reads “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free...” As children of God we are called to be free and to walk in that freedom. He whom the son sets free is free indeed!
Let us believe the gospel, hold fast to the truth, the blessings of God and walk in Freedom.