The Peace-making Father
This is Paul's usual written greeting. But, unlike many social pleasantries (in England we ask, "How do you do?" but nobody expects an honest answer!) it really means something. Paul knew that only the grace of God can bring peace. That is the gospel message for which he was in prison, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. It was also his personal testimony for he admitted he was the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). If Jesus could save Paul, He can save anybody! Nobody can have peace with God any other way.
The Apostle was writing to Philemon, pleading for him to forgive his repentant run-away slave Onesimus who had become a Christian. But Paul knows that a righteous outcome was only possible through God's grace working in everybody involved. He desired that the Holy Spirit would be active in each believer, assuring them of God's favour, and bringing peacefulness to those who trust in Jesus. That was Paul's pastoral practice (Philippians 4:2-9).
Dealing with sin is never easy. But for the believer, the biggest battle against sin has already been fought and won by Jesus on the cross. All the other battles need to be approached in the security which comes from the peace of God. After that the armour of God is there to defend us, and the Word of God is able to attack lies (Ephesians 6:10-18). Today, whatever you face, if your faith is in Jesus Christ then you must trust Him to reveal His graciousness and keep you in His peace. There is no other way to go forward.
© Dr Paul Adams