Pristine Grace

Spiritually Kin to Onesimus?
by Randy Wages
Spiritually Kin to Onesimus?

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 - Philemon 10-11

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. - Romans 3:12

     From Paul’s letter to Philemon we learn of how Onesimus, Philemon’s former servant, had become indebted to Philemon, having apparently robbed or embezzled goods from his master before fleeing to Rome where, by God’s providence, he heard and embraced the Gospel of God’s Grace under Paul’s preaching.  Onesimus the thief had certainly been unprofitable to Philemon.  It’s interesting to note that spiritually speaking, God declares that all men and women without exception are akin to Onesimus in this sense:  We all begin our life’s journey as “unprofitable” sinners.  But while all resemble Onesimus, the runaway, unprofitable thief, only those who are brought to recognize their kinship to that Onesimus, (the unworthy sinner with nothing to offer) are granted a sense of their desperate need for Christ as the elect sinner’s Substitute and Surety.  So unless or until you’ve been convinced of your kinship to Onesimus, the unprofitable, unworthy, spiritually bankrupt sinner, you would be tragically mistaken to consider yourself as spiritually kin to Onesimus, the born again believer and spiritual brother of Paul and Philemon, all the other blessed objects of God’s mercy and grace in Christ.