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Read Introduction to Philemon


” …hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints…”


hearing of your love and faith

Paul now gives the reason he thanked God for Philemon in the previous verse.  He continually was “hearing” [present tense] of Philemon’s character.  Philemon developed a capacity of character that coupled “love and faith” together. He was a man of great spiritual caliber. Philemon was a man who loved and trusted the Lord Jesus and loved fellow Christians. 

Ep 1:5, “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints…”

Co 1:3, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints…”

1 Th 1:2, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father…”

2 Th 1:3, “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other…”

Paul appeals to Philemon’s character in forgiving the runaway slave Onesimus for his crimes, “Philemon, your genuine faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for Him give you the capacity to forgive.  You were forgiven, so you now have the capacity to forgive. Forgive Onesimus for what he did.” 

The “love” here is the love of self-sacrifice.  This love does not come from emotions but from the will that has its source in humility. It says in effect, “I will sacrifice my pride to love you.  I will do what it takes to meet your need.”  This is a love that transcends emotion and does what it does out of a higher principle. 

which you have toward the Lord Jesus

The words “you have” are present tense – “You continue to have unswerving love and faith toward the Lord Jesus.  Your character revolves around the Lord Jesus.” 


Christians have the capacity to forgive because they have been forgiven. 


Love and faith go hand-in-hand. They are closely knit. As our faith in Christ develops, so our love toward Him will strengthen.  Do you love the Lord more this year than last?  We know Him better, so we should love Him more.  Jesus proves Himself faithful in any and every situation.  He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Pr 18:24). 

Ps 116:1, “I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications.”

Jn 21:15, “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’”

1 Pe 1:8, “…whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…”

It is important to develop the capacity or caliber to forgive others for wrongs they do against us.  We develop this capacity because we first receive forgiveness from the Lord. 

Ga 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but b>faith working through love.”

1 Th 4:9, “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another…”

Forgiveness produces forgiveness.  This is part of the new nature in Christ.  Failure to forgive violates our essential relationship to Christ. 

Ep 4:32, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

Co 3:13, “…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”