The Epistle to Philemon: Above and Beyond.

21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.” (Philemon 21–22 (ESV)

It is one thing to do what is expected of you. That is a good thing. However, it is even better when you go above and beyond and exceed people’s expectations. That is when you truly become a blessing to others.

One author writes, “Having a mindset that exceeds expectations means that every task or situation is viewed as an opportunity to go above and beyond what is expected by your co-workers, bosses, clients and all other stakeholders. To exceed expectations… you need to know the base expectations.”

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Although Paul never explicitly tells Philemon to free Onesimus, Philemon 21 is the clearest evidence that freedom is what the apostle finally sought. Having encouraged reconciliation between the two men and a restoration of their relationship (Philem. 8–20), Paul says in verse 21 that Philemon will surely go beyond what has been asked. How can Philemon go further than receiving his runaway slave without punishment, fellowshipping with him as a Christian brother, and enduring any negative social consequences? He can free Onesimus, of course.”

Paul anticipated being released from prison (Phil. 1:22-26; 2:19-24). Whether the apostle was ever able to visit Philemon in Colossae is unknown.

Dr. Sproul explains, “This verse, along with the broader apostolic teaching about the new family God has created in Christ Jesus, shows us that while Scripture never explicitly commands believers to free their slaves, it does create an environment in which owning slaves eventually becomes unthinkable. If we truly understand that other Christians are joint heirs with us in Christ Jesus, full members of the household of God and as valuable as we are in His sight (John 9:1–13Eph. 3:6), how can we put them below us through buying and selling them as if they were some kind of disposable commodity? Philemon, perhaps more clearly than any other epistle, shows us the radical implications of what it means to live as the community of God’s children in this world.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord. May He be glorified in our lives today.

Soli deo Gloria!

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