I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. (Philemon 1:4-7 ESV)
Forgiveness means to carry, to take up, to pardon, and to be lenient. It also means to make amends, to be merciful, to put away a hurt. Finally, it means to show favor, to send away a grievance and to disregard the same.
How is a person who forgives an influence for God and for good? Or to put it another way in light of a conversation I had with someone last week, “Why should I forgive?” According to Philemon 4-7, a forgiving person displays their love for God.
In vs. 4-5a, Paul writing to Philemon says, “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.” Whenever Paul thought of Philemon while in prayer, he was always thankful for his brother in Christ. The sense is that this was a common occurrence for Paul. His gratitude for Philemon was consistent. What a testimony Philemon had with the apostle. What an encouragement he must have been.
Why was Paul thankful for Philemon? The text continues by saying, “Because I hear of your love.” Philemon possessed a self-sacrificial love of the will. This kind of love comes only from God. It is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It is a manifestation of true, saving faith (Galatians 5:6; I John 3:14).
Galatians 5:6 - For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6 ESV)
I John 3:14 - We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:14 ESV)
Paul was always able to give thanks to God for Philemon. His brother possessed a godly and virtuous character. There is no suggestion there was anything amiss in Philemon’s life. The perspective by Paul of Philemon forgiving Onesimus was expected.
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It is most proper to begin a study of the “solas” by first examining the importance of Sola Scriptura. This is because the remaining “solas” rest upon the premise of the Scriptures being God’s sole and final authority. Therefore, the subsequent “solas” rise or fall on the basis of Sola Scriptura.
There were two causes for the Protestant Reformation: a material cause and a formal cause. The material cause was a dispute over the doctrine of justification by faith alone (Sola Fide). The formal cause was the disagreement over biblical authority (Sola Scriptura). The Reformers coined this phrase, Sola Scriptura, but certainly not this doctrine, when they rejected the two-source view of authority; meaning that the authority of church tradition is equal to the authority of the Scriptures.
Sola Scriptura is fundamentally opposed to relativistic individualism. In a culture wherein the individual reigns supreme, and churches pander to “keep the customer satisfied,” the doctrine of Sola Scriptura states that all individual ideas and behaviors must be in submission to, and aligned with, Scripture. This opposes those in the church, and the culture, who justify their sinful behavior, and consequently their disobedience to Scripture, with a self-centered perspective wherein the individual’s desires are preeminent.
The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church.