By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

"I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds. Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me. Whom I have sent again: thou, therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels.
... If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account. I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it."
Philemon 1:10-12;18-19
Today's Read: Philemon; Colossians 4
Convicted felon. Criminal. 
Onesimus was both a robber and runaway slave.
 He was charged and confined to prison where he met a remarkable "murderer," turned missionary, named Paul.
The two lives intersected, not because of happenstance or certain chance, but because God had ordained it.
Paul and Onesimus grew close and a special bond was forged between the two men.
Paul saw potential in Onesimus just as God had seen potential in Paul.
Paul's desire for Onesimus's partnership in the Gospel was realized in practical ways:
1) Paul encouraged Onesimus, upon his departure from prison, to return to his master Philemon and make things right. Paul, himself, would speed and aid the reconciliation process by writing a personal letter to Philemon with his recommendation, hence the book of Philemon.
2) Paul would openly identify with Onesimus and "go to bat" for him on the occasion and realization of his potential in serving with him in the gospel.
He would go so far as to pay off debt Onesimus owed;
He would go any length to see the name of Onesimus cleared.
What a beautiful and grace giving pardon Paul extended.
Exemplary. Notable. God glorifying.
Paul saw Onesimus as a viable character and carrier of the same Gospel he preached;
And Paul saw in Onesimus what God had seen in Paul;
Namely, the power of redemption and a testimony to follow.
3) Paul's association and love for Onesimus would cast him into a "missionary journey" of his own and we find him moving in accord with the Gospel in the very year he had been imprisoned with Paul (60 A.D.) in the book of Colossians:
"All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord. Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate and comfort your hearts, With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here."
Colossians 4:7-9
Onesimus means "beneficial, profitable, useful, and helpful."
A servant and partner in the Gospel, he was indeed that.
Paul did not seek to keep the beautiful Onesimus bound to the chains of his former conviction any more than God sought to do that with Paul.
Both men repented and both men were free.
Both men lived with the blood of Christ liberating their sinfully imprisoned souls, and both men were cast into the limelight of redemption making them wondrous, walking living testimonies.
Reconciliation and redemption were the intertwining facets that forged a beautiful and enduring friendship and relationship between Paul and Onesimus.
Christ was glorified through their sacred union and communion spread, as a result, to the churches.
Hmmm ...
Three Study Considerations:
1) Read the books of Philemon (only one chapter) and Colossians together and take special care to note the themes Paul strongly addresses in both books. They move in sync together.
2) Reconciliation occurs when broken, humble parties unite under the blood of Christ.
What does this mean to you and where does reconciliation need to occur in your life?
3) What do you believe will be the outcome of those who refuse to reconcile with brothers and sisters in Christ?
What things may come ... will testify.
"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."
2 Corinthians 5:18-19