The writer gives us five ways to treat our brothers and sisters well: to love genuinely from the heart, and to be hospitable, faithful, content, and teachable. In these ways, believers live daily by faith in community.
Not all the guilt we feel is ours. Often enough, we feel guilt because it gives us some sense of control over something that seems terrible to us. Then, if can only atone in some way....
Have you ever wondered why the third candle in the advent wreath is pink? Why pink? Why the third Sunday? The short answer is joy! But the long answer is fascinating, and it has something to do with Lent, and something to do with an early Gnostic movement that dismissed Jesus as a real human person.
Paul wanted Philemon to mature in his faith, so rather than tell him what to do, Paul entreated him as a fellow elder.
did Onesimus lead the way, full of hope, confident both in Paul and Timothy’s letter, and in the Spirit at work in Philemon? Was it Onesimus who handed Philemon this personal note, and told him, “This is from our brother Paul,”?
There is a quality to agape that is unlike the other loves, for it comes from a place of fullness, a place of depth and peace, it is an overflowing kind of love that does not need a response to exist.
I remember reading, once, that when we help someone, we reduce the amount of suffering in the world, we become part of the process of God working things together for good.
Peter teaches us to hold two truth loosely together--we have everything we need from God, it is now our responsibility to use it well.
There are three basic things Peter emphasized in this passage for you and I to do as we interact with each other: pray, love fervently, and make our hospitality cheerful. And there is one thing God calls you and me to stop doing: living in the identity we used to have before we came to Christ.
Our spiritual DNA is now from above, and as we live in faith, by faith in Jesus, we experience Jesus’ faithfulness in us and to us; we grow and mature into our new being, a being of love.