Good Afternoon Dear Church,
I hope and pray you’ve had a good week! This week I’ve been thinking a lot about how we as Christians answer objections to the faith. After all, our whole preaching through Philemon has been skirting around a rather uncomfortable question, namely, why doesn’t Paul just condemn slavery outright? Does Paul really support slavery? Of course, we will deal with the answer to those questions on Sunday (although, a sneak peak to that question is simply… “no.” ).
One thing I was thinking about is what is essentially an undeniable fact: if it were not for Christianity, slavery would still be widespread, acceptable, and, most likely, growing. This practice that is morally revulsive to us has only ever been stopped by Christianity. In fact, the moral revulsion we feel at the practice of slavery has the most coherence within Christianity. Only Christianity has been able to definitively deliver it a death knell. This is because Christianity makes sense; our moral instinct regarding slavery makes the most sense within Christianity.
Our best instincts, love for one another, honesty, integrity, respecting one another’s rights all fit best within Christianity. The highest versions of all the virtues we possess only make sense within (and can be achieved by) the Christian faith.
Christians, we need not be embarrassed of our faith. What you believe in Christ has integrity. You are not a fool for believing in the gospel. You can have confidence in it. It makes sense.
This is immensely helpful, because you are also not a fool, for thinking that God the Father loves you. You are not a fool for thinking God the Son died for you. You are not a fool for thinking God the Spirit dwells within you. This is truly the “hope within you” (1 Pet 3:15).