Forgiveness is one of the identifying marks of Christianity.  As we become more like Christ we become more forgiving.  It is one of the evidences of Christian love  

Onesimus was the slave of Philemon – willing to “run” 1,000 miles to get away from Philemon – but could not get away from God

  The request for reconciliation (vv. 8-16)    

The request for reception (vv. 17-25)  

To forgive a fugitive?  

How do we know Philemon did forgive him?  

Key passage: Colossians 4:7-9       

Colossians was written within a year of Philemon    

Tradition has it that Onesimus became a bishop  

The Lord uses all kinds of people to build His church  

God’s grace and mercy transformed Onesimus into “a faithful and beloved brother”, but God also used Philemon’s grace and mercy to help transform him.