What is the church’s role in promoting reconciliation according to Philemon 1:6?

Reconciliation is a central theme in the Gospel message and the church has an important role in promoting reconciliation among members and among people in general. Paul’s letter to Philemon addresses this issue clearly and powerfully. Verse 6 of Philemon 1 says, “I pray that the fellowship of your faith may be effective in your knowledge of all the good things we have in Christ.”

In this context, Paul is asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus, his runaway slave who became a Christian whom Paul had converted during his time in prison. Paul asks Philemon to take Onesimus back no longer as a slave but as a brother in Christ. Paul expects Philemon to reconcile with Onesimus and welcome him back with love and kindness.

This passage shows us that the church is to be a place of reconciliation, forgiveness, and love, where members are called to be reconciled with one another. This is important because reconciliation is fundamental to the unity of the church and to witnessing Christ’s love to the world. Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Furthermore, the church should be a place where people find help to reconcile with God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, not the sins of men, and has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation”.

In short, the church is to be a place of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation, where members are called to reconcile with one another and where people find help in reconciling with God. Reconciliation is essential for the unity of the church and for witnessing Christ’s love to the world.

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