Paul whilst a prisoner with Timothy writes this letter of commendation to Philemon, a fellow believer and fellow worker in the gospel. (v1) Giving salutation also to the brethren nearby and within the house of Philemon. (v2)

Paul opens with an allusion again to the trinity, by grace (the Holy Spirit) from God the father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (v3) Paul thanks God for Philemon, making mention of him by prayer always, (v4) hearing of his love for the gospel and the faith towards the person of Christ and all the fellowship of believers. (v5) Thanking Him for the expectation that his teaching of the one faith shared between them will become effective in the receipt of all good doctrine by him to the Lord Jesus Christ's example. (v6) For Paul is comforted by the great joy he has with consolation for his present distress in the love shown by Philemon towards the person of all the saints that are refreshed, corrected (edified) by the strength of Philemon, truly his brother. (v7)

Paul again shows allusion to the principal element of a finite ultrafilter that indicates the presence of the true gospel as exampled in faith by God Himself. (Christ). The ministration to correction with the transfer or attainment of this element within the faith of the corrected believer is done under the authority of God, so that apostolic authority (authority to correct the faith of any other.) is done in complete accord with the example of Christ. (As a subset of the generated set of Christ's own faith. under requirement of the Father to its perfect exemplification.) That principal element is the logical conclusion resulting from God being in liberty over us to demand of us, (His creations) the exact manner by which we can be saved whilst under His divine authority. The ultrafilter is generating the set of all "possible states" of faith belonging to believers then that share in this divine apostolic authority.

Paul boldly expresses the desire of this letter, beseeching Philemon by the person of Christ to accept a convenient arrangement - that is, profitable to them both. (Not by any means slight.) (v8) But for loves sake he pleads with him as after the manner he would plead with himself. (v9) Paul's request concerns a convert of his; Onesimus, whom Paul has converted whilst a prisoner. (v10) The servant was once a slave to Philemon but proved himself unworthy in service but now as a convert true in the faith a servant profitable to both of them. (v11)

Therefore Paul has returned him to his former master in the hope he would receive him as Paul's own bowels - that is, His very own son - writing to inform Philemon of the very longing of Paul for Onesimus' peace and that of Paul. (v12) The servant, whom Paul would have kept with himself: that in the place of Philemon he might render the debt paid that Philemon himself also owes Paul in reciprocation for receipt of the gospel (after a carnal manner) and also as payment for the current imprisonment of Paul, by whom the gospel was spread. (v13). Without the permission of Philemon would Paul rule nothing as over him in authority, not as a commandment, but by his willingness only. (v14)

For perhaps the servant departed for a while and returned to him forever. (v15) Not as a servant, but now as an equal brother in the one faith, above the status of a mere servant (and loved by Paul) - but more so to him to whom he is truly both servant and brother, i.e. in truth of this present world, and a brother in the Lord, respectively, as now willingly returned. (v16) Paul beseeches him by fellowship of the Holy Spirit and an equal in this matter to accept him as he would accept Paul himself, a labourer in Christ foremost, (v17) stating that Paul will repay whatever he had taken to fund his departing. (Even though Paul states that Philemon owes him partly to the account of his own obedience to the gospel through Paul's ministry.) (v19)

Paul requests that Philemon accept Onesimus and complete his joy in him, refreshing not just Paul's soul in the Lord for the forgiveness of Onesimus and his restoration to Philemon but Onesimus' status as Paul's son in the gospel, a free labourer in Christ, returned to minister with Paul in his bonds (He, Onesimus the "son of his bowels" - and as to "refreshing" them: Paul asks Philemon to deliver him his son in Onesimus returned free again). (v20) In confidence of Philemon accepting Onesimus as a new brother in Christ, Paul wrote to him, knowing that Philemon will do just that - returning him and more besides, not just returning Onesimus a freed man for the ministry, but craftily expected to give a gift over and above Paul's request by not holding Paul to repay any debt to his former master, as Paul insisted he would kindly do. (v21) But Paul asks to be prepared space for lodging with him also, that Paul could visit if enabled by his prayer. (v22) Paul's fellow prisoners salute him also with his fellow labourers in the gospel; Paul ends the letter with the blessing of the grace of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit leading Philemon into the will of God the Father by the example of Jesus Christ.

The letter shows how an unfaithful servant is restored not to obedience with a former master by the sacrifice of one and the accepting grace of another: but out of thanksgiving for his ministrations for the benefit of all, by freeing him from service to serve the Lord. Paul being blameless himself towards him in this matter, and having fully converted the once disobedient servant to willing obedience, restores the servant to his master as more than a mere slave, but an heir in the gospel and a brother, a minister in the place of Philemon himself. Paul has, by method of fairness and lack of action in ruling over Philemon in this matter entrapped him into accepting him back (and then freeing him) merely by display of love towards his once disgraced servant, after the display of affection between them both for their own master, Christ, whom is the model here of the Holy Spirit.

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