Chains for the Gospel (Phlm 8-16)by Matthew Christian
Paul knew that the fullness of God's blessing would never be realized in Onesimus until the runaway slave returned and reconciled with his master. Only then could he be truly useful. Paul requested that Philemon receive Onesimus not only as a beloved brother (cf. Col 4:9), but as if he were receiving Paul's very on affections, or "son" if you will. Paul expects Philemon to grant Onesimus' freedom so that he can return to Paul and serve in the gospel ministry. This undertaking is to be on account of Philemon's love for the saints and faith in Jesus Christ, for which he is esteemed (v. 13). This must be done voluntarily and not grudgingly, lest Philemon's faith and love be in pretense only (v. 14).