Put That On My Account

But if he has wronged you or owes anything, put that on my account. I, Paul, am writing with my own hand. I will repay– not to mention to you that you owe me even you own self besides.

Philemon 18-19

The Bible says in Numbers 32:23 “be sure your sin will find you out.” It is one of the laws of life that someone has to pay the price of sin. In His tremendous grace and mercy, God can and does forgive, but not even He can free a man from the consequences of what he has done in committing sin. God, through His son Jesus Christ, has shouldered the sins of all men, and yet there still remains consequence. Christianity never entitles a man to default on his debts. In this letter to Philemon, Paul is quite willing to place the human debt of Onesimus on his own account. He is volunteering responsibility, to see that Philemon is paid-back for the actions of his slave. Paul wants to do all that he might to see that the rift is healed between all involved, and Philemon not cheated. To do this he is willing to sacrifice from his own means–a Christ-like example!

What a fascinating, unusual, and most unique letter we have in this New Testament writing. It deals with no great doctrine; attacks no heresy; it is the only letter of Paul addressed to a singular person. Yet it is a ‘postcard’ brimming with grace. It is a magnified glimpse into the story of God’s grace in three very different men. It reminds one of this wonderful verse and chorus–

And when before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat…

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.