The Book of Philemon: Lesson #3
What Salvation Does for Us
In the previous lesson we studied the character of Paul and Philemon. This has shown us some of the character traits that we need in our lives today. In this lesson we are going to look at the doctrine of Imputation and how just like Onesimus we can be saved and profitable to the Lord.
The Doctrine of Imputation:
First, we will look at a type of the doctrine of Imputation that is found in the book of Philemon. The wording that Paul uses when writing to Philemon regarding Onesimus is a great example of how imputation works.
Verses 10 – 19:
In this verses Paul is sending Onesimus back to his master Philemon after he has lead him to the Lord. Note what Paul says in verses 17-19:
- Receive him as myself (verse 17).
- Anything he owes put that on my account (verse 18)
- I will pay it (verse 19)
This is exactly what God does in the case of salvation. He receives us on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ. All the sin debt that we owed was put on the account of the Lord Jesus Christ. And he paid every bit of it. This makes Paul a type of Jesus Christ, Philemon a type of God the father, and Onesimus a type of a lost person who gets saved.
This is a beautiful type of imputation. In the doctrine of imputation, the Lord put all of our sins into the Lord Jesus Christ and he paid for them, therefore our sin is not imputed to us. We don’t pay for it and God receives us on behalf of his son. (Romans 4:1-8 ; 4:18-25)
According to the above verses when we get saved God does not impute our sin unto us because it was imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ. But he does impute the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ unto us.
Salvation gives us a new position:
Note what is said about Onesimus in verse 16. Paul says that Onesimus is not just a servant but he is a brother. Salvation gives us a new position.
- We are spiritually born again (Ephesians 2:1)
- We become sons of God (John 1:12-13) : 1 John 3:1)
- We are a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- We are joint-heirs with Christ (Galatians 4:4-7)
And the great thing is these are just a few of the things we could list.
Salvation makes us profitable:
In verse 11 Paul says that in the past Onesimus was unprofitable unto Philemon. But now because of his salvation he is profitable unto him. This same thing can be said about us. Before we are saved, we are unprofitable unto God. But after salvation God can use us to lead others to him. He can use us to give glory and honor to his name. He can use us to be a good witness and testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ. He can use us to disciple others or teach people the word of God.
A good example of this is Paul. Before he was saved, he was persecuting and killing Christians. Then after he got saved, he wrote 13 possibly 14 books of the New Testament. So, there are no telling how many people are saved as a result of Paul’s ministry.
The question for us becomes how profitable are we to God? Is he getting any return on his investment? Only you can answer that.
The Book of Philemon: Lesson #3 Handout
What Salvation Does for Us
1) What is the doctrine of Imputation? Give references.
2) How are Paul and Onesimus shown as a type of the doctrine of Imputation?
3) What is Onesimus’ new position because of Salvation?
4) What are some of our new positions because of Salvation?
5) List some ways that we can be profitable unto God after we get saved?