Today, we continue our Bible Study by switching gears away from the story of The Fall, to the story of Salvation. This topic will continue for the next 5 weeks, and we begin first with Paul’s passionate letter to Philemon verses 1-25:
“1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow labourer,
2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in thy house:
3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
8 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,
9 Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:
13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:
14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.
15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;
16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;
19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.
21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.
22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus;
24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers.
25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”
Here, we see Paul sharing The Good News: Jesus Christ, through his death, has freed humanity from the Sin unleashed in the destruction of Eden. Humanity has, in spirit, been given the chance to be reborn from spiritual death.
To overcome the effects from The Fall and offer Salvation, three things had to be overcome: the Sins which separated man from God had to be atoned for, spiritual death had to conquered, and the works of Satan had to be destroyed.
Compare these passages, which demonstrate the gravity of the task that Jesus triumphed in:
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” – Ephesians 2: 1-2
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” – Romans 3: 23
“For the wages of sin is death” – Romans 6: 23
Jesus Christ, through his death and resurrection overcame all the aforementioned problems from The Fall. His death atoned for the sins of the humanity, his resurrection opened the pathway for the rebirth of a spiritually dead humanity, and the combination ensured the defeat of Satan and his works.
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3: 8
Through Christ we receive eternal life, the forgiveness of our sins and freedom from the grip of the devil. This is the basis of salvation and our Good News.
Questions for consideration over the coming week:
– Read Colossians 2: 13-15. What are the three primary aspects of the Gospel?
-Which of those three aspects are most overlooked in Church today?
– Why do you think the cross and forgiveness have been emphasized more than new life and resurrection?
– What effect has the Good News of Christ had on you personally?
– How have you not fully embraced your new life in Christ and not let go of the past?
Next week we will continue with our exploration of the salvation narrative and discuss in greater detail the forgiveness of our sins. I hope everyone has a fantastic week. Stay strong, Gents!