Acts 24:25 “When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” (NIV)
Observation: Paul had been arrested and sent to the provincial capital of Caesarea to defend himself against false charges of initiating a temple riot. The high priest and his lawyer came to testify against Paul, who rebutted each of the charges. Felix, who had been Roman Governor of the region for a number of years and would have thus been acquainted with the Christian sect, heard Paul’s case. Scripture says that as Felix listened to Paul testify of Christ and of such tenets of the faith as righteousness, self-control, and coming judgment, he became fearful and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”
Application: “When I find it convenient. … ” Think how effective Paul must have been in his testimony of Jesus Christ. He had specifically stated that he believed “everything that agrees with the Law and … the Prophets” (Acts 24:14), so he was certainly no revolutionary. On the other hand, the claims of Christ concerning such things as righteousness, self-control and the coming judgment were profoundly revolutionary because they strike to the heart of my standing before God.
Felix, while not a believer, was nonetheless under conviction of truth, and discovered that his own heart testified against him. So he did what I must do when confronted by the claims of Christ: he made his choice. He sent truth away and embraced instead the accusing mob.
I who love Christ may find it astonishing that any could refuse His magnificent gift, but the sad reality is that I have friends and family who have done exactly that. Carried to the precipice of decision by the Holy Spirit, they chose poorly and died in their sin. I am left to mourn their fate, their stupidity, their pride that motivated their descent into darkness. But there are two questions that need never burden my heart: Was God fair, and did I do enough?
God is above all else the just One. The Bible is clear that, like Felix, none will perish without the individual opportunity to respond to the claims of Christ. The yawing maw of hell will receive only those who have chosen to go there. Did I do enough? What a deceptive question! I am called to live in such a way that my life matches His words, but I must never confuse my personal walk, which is to be motivated for His pleasure, with responsibility for another’s decision. My words and life do indeed testify, but no one in the reigning honesty of hell will ever be able to accuse my immature testimony as the reason for their eternal anguish.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, there is such freedom in remembering what part is Yours, and what is mine. Cause me to live my life in ways pleasing to You; that will be more than enough.