Philemon is an apostolic letter about a personal matter. But it also gives you a glimpse into the way that a sovereign God, through the Son of his love, can bring his grace to bear on a world that is broken and hurting. Relationships can be restored and renewed, not just for now, but for eternity.
The Sunday afternoon Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church examines Paul’s letter to Philemon.
“The thought appears to be that it is love that carries into effect the law of God; love constitutes the fulfillment of the law. It is the motive and active principle of fulfillment. . . . If we may use the metaphor, love fills to the brim the cup which the law puts into our hands. Love is the first drop; it is the last drop; and it is all the drops in between” (John Murray, Principles of Conduct, pp. 22–23).
What does genuine love look like? How should we relate to fellow believers? How should we deal with those outside the church? How do you react to terrible wrong? And what does genuine, unmasked love have to do with heaping coals of fire?
The 101 Bible Study meets the Friday, February 2, at 6:30 p.m. in a home in the Astoria area. Call 971/238-6101 for details.
“The essence of ungodliness is that we presume to take the place of God, to take everything into our own hands. It is faith to commit ourselves to God, to cast all our care upon him, and to vest all our interests in him. In reference to the matter in hand, the wrongdoing of which we are the victims, the way of faith is to recognize that God is judge and to leave the execution of vengeance and retribution to him.” (John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, pp. 141–142).
God does not simply pity you, but actively loves you—loves you to the point of having sent his Son to suffer, die, and rise for you. As you walk through deep waters, remember that the Father loved the Son every step of his way, and both of them love you.
As I am reviewing in preparation for this evening’s Bible study and prayer time at Trinity Presbyterian Church, I am thinking of several people I know who are going through some very deep waters. The assurance of the love the Father and the Son have for you is profound.
And these quotes:
“It is by this grand conception of being taken up by faith in Jesus into the love of the Father and the Son that the church can understand itself in its uniqueness in and for the world.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary, p. 522).
Christ is speaking, not just of his love for us as individual believers, but for his love for his church as well. And Ferguson reflects on the depth of the joy Christ offers:
“. . . not only are we united to Him—He has determined that His joy and ours are now inseparable!” (Sinclair Ferguson, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life, Kindle Edition).