Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels. Philemon 1:12
Read Psalm 86:1-17
It was undoubtedly difficult for Onesimus to return to his master, yet he was obligated to do so; Paul had sent him back. Moreover, Onesimus also wanted to do God’s will, as difficult as that would be. On the one hand he felt intimidated to go back, while on the other he desired to return. The Lord had opened the blind eyes of his soul, so he saw his guilt before the Lord and his master, Philemon. He understood that he deserved to be punished by the Lord as well as his master, for he had run away from Philemon, and he may have stolen from him.
As a result of this conviction, Onesimus received forgiveness from the Lord and probably from Philemon. That was only possible because Christ Jesus had borne the punishment he had deserved. The Lord Jesus paid for his guilt in full; He had been obedient unto death. Therefore Onesimus was able to take Paul’s admonishment to heart and return to Philemon.
Today, deserters are also instructed by the preaching of the gospel to return to God. We are called to walk in the ways of the Lord, as difficult as it may be. The desire of God’s children is to be obedient to the Lord in all aspects of life. This means they are no longer determined to do their own thing, but they seek to fulfill the will of God. In fact, they continually rely upon God to supply their every need! They have learned to see that in the keeping of God’s commandments there is great reward. As a result, they experience the faithfulness and loving care of the Lord. Have you been brought back to the Lord? Do you desire to be obedient to Him?
Thought: The psalmist says: God’s Word is a lamp unto my feet.
Psalter 234:3,4 (based on Psalm 86) In Thee, O Lord, all grace is found, Thy people shall Thy mercy know; Thy truth and goodness still abound, To wrath and anger Thou art slow. In mercy turn and look on me, Thy servant true, Thy chosen one; Let me Thy great salvation see, And strengthen me my course to run.