I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.
– Philemon 1:6
Can you catch epignosis from your friends?
It depends on who your friends are.
It sounds like the name of a disease you might pick up in a barnyard or from eating undercooked pork, but epignosis is a good thing. It’s a Greek word meaning precise or accurate information. And in a way, you can catch it from your friends.
Or better yet, share it with your friends.
Paul’s letter to Philemon was sent in response to a difficult situation between two believers, Philemon and his slave, Onesimus. Slavery was legal and rampant in the Roman Empire. Onesimus, a non-believer, ran away from his master and was discovered by the apostle, who converted him to Christ.
Onesimus most likely felt ravaged by the injustice of slavery, while Philemon may have felt betrayed by Onesimus. Without directly addressing the legal and social ramifications, Paul sought to unite the men as new brothers in Christ.
In this intriguing letter of the Bible, Paul encourages us to look beyond our own rage at injustice to discover God’s wants to accomplish in us through our circumstances.
Paul challenged each man’s motives and sought the surrender of their wills to that of Christ.
Onesimus was charged with returning to Philemon to serve with humility. Philemon was charged to treat Onesimus as a brother instead of a slave.
Each was challenged to practice forgiveness and to relinquish his own rights to Christ and to his fellow believer.
Changed hearts changes nations.
God wanted these men of long ago to realize their relationship as brothers in Christ eclipsed their places on the societal ladder. He desired their fellowship to grow beyond mere tolerance into a deep respect and sharing of the life of Christ. He longed to bring them into epignosis, a full understanding, of all He has for those who surrender their lives to Him.