Paul now comes to the purpose of the letter and approaches his subject diplomatically and cautiously. Paul is not too old in years. His suffering and persecution as a missionary for Christ have aged him. He is a prisoner of Jesus Christ, in bonds in Rome, and could not come in person. Onesimus…name profitable. Onesimus had been unprofitable to his master, maybe even robbing him and fleeing to Rome. In the mean time Onesimus was saved. Paul makes a subtle suggestion: Philemon could return Onesimus to him to minister to him in prison, and since Onesimus has become a believer, his status and relationship to Philemon are different. He is still a slave according to the Roman law, but he is more than that — he is a beloved brother. He is now really profitable. He can live up to his name for the first time. Behind Paul’s plea is Christ’s plea to the Father on behalf of the sinner who trusts Christ as the Savior. That sinner is received on the same standing that Christ is received. In other words, the saved sinner has as much right in heaven as Christ has, for he has His right… “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).