The Epistle to Philemon: Love and Faith.

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,” (Philemon 4–5 (ESV).

One of the basic characteristics of Paul’s epistles is that he always made mention of his prayers on behalf of believers in Christ (E.g. Eph. 1:15-23). Such is the case with today’s text.

Paul wrote, “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers.” To thank (εὐχαριστέω; eucharisteo) means to be grateful and appreciative. The grammar here indicates that Paul continuously and actively gave thanks for Philemon.

To remember (μνεία ποιέω; mneia poieo) literally means to personally, presently and actively mention Philemon by name. This is what Paul did when he prayed. The apostle always expressed his gratitude to God for his friend in his prayers         (προσευχή; proseuche).

Paul gives his reasons for praying on behalf of Philemon. First, it was because Paul continually heard of Philemon’s love. Love (ἀγάπην; agapen) means a self-sacrificial love of the will. Second it was because the apostle had also heard of Philemon’s faith. Faith (πίστιν; pistin) is a trust in, dependence upon, commitment to and worship of an object. This was a love and faith which was presently and actively possessed by Philemon.

Within the context, Philemon’s faith was in the Lord Jesus. Jesus Christ is the only object of the believers trust, commitment, dependence and worship. This sincere faith was then demonstrated by a love for all the saints, or fellow believers in Christ.

One commentator writes, “The coupling of faith in Christ and love for the saints was also true of the Ephesians (Eph. 1:15), the Colossians (Col. 1:4), and the Thessalonians (1 Thes. 1:3; 2 Thes. 1:3).

Paul may have heard about Philemon’s faith in Christ and love for the saints from Onesimus and Epaphras. Philemon’s faith in Christ produced love for all the saints. Since Philemon loved “all” the saints, he surely should include Onesimus, now a saint, in his love.”

Are their individuals for whom you make mention of to God in your prayers? If so, who are they and why do you pray for them? Have you told them that you pray for them? That would be such an encouragement to them if you did. Take the opportunity today to do so.

Soli deo Gloria!

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