Bible Topics
in the Christian Library
Spiritual Saturation

Philemon 25

John L. Kachelman, Jr. 


I. Any who have read John Bunyan's literature will recall the description of "Interpreter" taking "Christian" to a place where a fire was burning against a wall and another figure was throwing water on the fire but could never quench the flames; the fire grew higher and higher. Christian asked, "What means this?" And the Interpreter answered, "This fire is the work of grace in the heart; he who casts water upon it is the devil; but, in that thou seest the fire burn higher and hotter thou shalt see the reason of that." He took him around to the backside of the wall where he saw a man secretly pouring oil into the fire. The "Man" was Christ who poured the oil of grace and maintained the fire of devotion in the heart. As long as the oil of grace was available, the flames of devotion burned hot and high and no efforts by Satan could extinguish them! 

II. The very last words of the book of Philemon speak about that which Bunyan's pen described -- the grace of God which keeps alive the flames of devoted service. 

1. This is the "benediction" of the letter and is typical of Paul's letters (cf. Ro 16:20,24; 1 Co 16:23; etc.). It forms a prayer-wish for Philemon and his household. 

2. Within this verse is an implied lifestyle for God's saints. Actually, this lifestyle has been discussed throughout the book. It is a life guided by "grace;" saturated with Christian thoughts and feelings (cf. Philip 4:8). It is a blend of the ordinary affairs of daily existence with the gospel of Christ Jesus. 

3. "Grace" was to invade and infect all elements of the readers' lives. Such a prayer-wish is the grandest desire for any believer in Christ. A wish of spiritual saturation, thorough commitment, and dedication to the Lord's will (cf. Ac 20:32). 

4. In an amazingly brief phrase, Paul has expressed a very profound wish for his readers. 


I. The Element Wished 

A. "Grace" -- This term stands for the unmerited favor and generous blessings which come to saints from God and through Christ Jesus. "Grace" involves one's salvation and forgiveness, but it would also include the abundant blessings of all spiritual benefits. 

B. To possess this "grace" is to possess, in a sense, every blessing and benefit that can come from God. Thus, it is a comprehensive desire. No greater thought can be expressed once this one is understood. 

C. Paul thus desires for his brethren a thorough saturation with this grace -- be filled with it; allow it to sink deep into your very own soul. The element would drastically affect all who are thus saturated. 

II. The Effect Produced -- As just noted, once saints understand the scope of this "grace" and have conformed to God's will so they can receive this grace, dramatic changes will occur. The "gospel of practicality" is so dramatic because it is the only means by which this "grace" can reach our hearts. Once one has studied the gospel and allowed it to dominate their thoughts, they will be "saturated with grace." Once one is saturated with grace then.... 

A. Grace will be your thoughts as you awaken each morning (Ps 143:8; 5:3). 

1. With the dawn of each new day, we face the challenges of dedicating that day to God. Often we are pulled by temptation to refuse God's just claim to the day (Is 5:11). 

2. But the soul that has been saturated with God's grace will awaken with devotion (Ps 118:24). 

3. The saturated saint knows well the prayer of Ps 143:8. 

4. What about you? What are the first thoughts as you awaken each day? Develop the habit of offering a brief prayer of thanksgiving before you get up. As you make plans for the day, discuss them with God through prayer. 

B. Grace will govern your conversation (Col 4:6). 

1. The grace of God will banish all impurity and profane speech. The whole tone of the Christian's speech is "with grace." 

2. Such speech reveals the complete submission of the saint to Christ. 

3. What about you? "Salt" adds flavor and delight to food. Do your words add Christian flavor and delight to all who hear? (Col 3:17). 

C. Grace will guide us in selecting friends (Ep 5:11). 

1. The soul that is saturated with grace will carefully choose companions. The influence of Christ guards against associates who indulge and condone immoral actions. 

2. The person who is controlled by grace will draw definite lines of exclusion and never compromise. "No fellowship" will be attempted with the base and ungodly elements of this life all because grace reigns. There is no pleasure in such company! 

D. Grace will moderate trials and tribulations in this life (Ps 94:18,19; 1 Co 10:13). 

1. The grace saturated soul does not expect a life free from pain. It does expect a life sustained through pain because of faith and trust in God. 

2. For all who are trusting in God, the trials of life will become more manageable because "grace" is keeping them (Hb 12:1-33; verse 11). 

3. And when those times of intense trial brings about anguish and one faces the utter impotence of human strength, "grace" will still sustain (Ro 8:26; Ps 46:1ff). 

E. Grace will direct daily living habits (2 Co 1:12). 

1. Paul's emphasis is certain -- "We live by God's gracious love, not human wisdom" (SEB). 

2. The soul that is saturated with grace does not have a problem choosing between right and wrong -- the choice was made when the gospel was obeyed! 

3. How about you? Are you living by "grace"? Can every aspect of your secret world pass this scrutiny of God's "grace test"? 


I. Perhaps the best reason for having a life saturated with grace is found in an old illustration that spoke of life being like a roll of costly material passing swiftly through our hands, and we must embroider our pattern on it as it goes. We cannot wait to pick out a false stitch, or pause too long to examine our work. As we keep our eyes forever on our great Exemplar, we shall find that when He finishes off our work, and smooths away its rumples, and cuts away its frayed ends, then even its spots and mistakes fall into a purpose and plan. A life that is saturated with grace will yield a beautiful end (Is 38:12b). Suppose your life was to hang as a tapestry upon a wall and was open for all to see. What would it be like? Be sure to heed Philemon 25 and make it a work of grace! 

II. An artist solicited permission to paint a portrait of the Queen. The favor was granted, and the favor was great for it would make the man's reputation and fortune. A place was fixed and a time. At the fixed place the Queen appeared; but the artist was not there -- he was not yet ready. When he did arrive a message was communicated to him that her Majesty had departed and would not return. Such will be the tale for many on the last day. The King eternal has consented to meet man. He fixed in His covenant and promised in His word, the object, place, and time of the meeting: it is for salvation; it is in Christ; it is now. He has been true to His appointment, but how many have failed to meet Him thus far because they are not "ready" yet? 

III. 1 Co 15:10 -- All that we hope to be depends upon how we respond to God's grace. If we do not saturate our spirits with grace then... 

1. Early morning plans will lack God's presence. 

2. Speech will fail to edify and glorify. 

3. Companions will be chosen with little regard. 

4. Trials and tribulations will be intense and hopeless. 

5. Day-to-day habits will be formed without God. 

IV. Go back to the opening illustration -- Do not allow the fires of your devoted service to flicker and fade because you have shut off access to the grace of God. With grace, fires of devotion will continue to burn high and hot!

Copyright 1998 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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