Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fruit of Righteousness

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."  Philemon :9-11

I looked up the book of Philemon in my Bible Commentary to get some history behind this tiny New Testament book.  Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to his friend Philemon.  Philemon was the host to a church group in his house.  The Commentary also states that Philemon had a servant named "Onesimus" (it was common and acceptable in that day to have servants).

Onesimus was a thief and had stollen from Philemon and then abandoned his servanthood.  Somehow, when Onesimus was on the run, he came into contact with Paul (before Paul was imprisoned) and through Paul became a Christian.  Onesimus knew that it was his Christian duty to return to Philemon as a servant and to "right" his wrong.

Now Paul loved both Philemon and Onesimus as brothers in Christ.  The whole premise of this letter is to encourage Philemon to do what is right and forgive Onesimus and accept him as his brother in Christ.  

I'm so impressed with how diplomatic and positive  Paul's encouragement is in this letter.  You can't even tell that it is constructive criticism because Paul is so warm and loving.  There have been so many times in my life when I have said something wanting to be helpful but the way that I said it sounded negative and hurtful.  Instead of saying "Philemon you are not treating Onesimus correctly" - Paul says:  "it is my prayer that your love may abound"........Instead of saying "Philemon you are wrong" - Paul says: "be able to discern what is best".............Instead of saying "Philemon you are a disappointment and are going to have to answer for your actions" - Paul says:  that you "may be pure and blameless"............"filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ."

Let us try to be pure and blameless in our daily lives - being filled with the fruit of righteousness through Christ Jesus.


  1. What a beautiful post this morning!

    Paul's temperment could be a lesson to us all.

    Have a blessed day!


  2. And, how blinking difficult it can be to achieve those things Paul tells us to try!


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