After coming into contact with the greatest evangelist who ever lived, Felix delayed. “When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” Felix was not too busy. Felix knew what he needed to know about the gospel. And he was prepared to reject it.
But he seemed to leave the door opened just a crack. “When I get an opportunity …”
But really, the door likely was closed shut already. Felix heard Paul speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And he heard Paul speak about righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment. This was alarming stuff. Read sometime about Felix and this third wife, Drusilla. You may see why this was alarming stuff for them.
This should be alarming stuff to all. Paul spoke about righteousness. None of us is righteous. Paul spoke about self-control. A righteous and holy life requires self-control. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24). None of us has full self-control on our own, despite our best efforts.
And Paul spoke about the coming judgment. How often do we speak about the coming judgment? How often do we speak about any of this stuff?
I can walk through each day of my life fairly comfortable no one is going to call me out about my sins. No one would be so brash, so arrogant, as to call me out about my sins! No one is perfect, and so no one has a right to say anything to me about my imperfections. Take the log out of your own eye! (Matthew 7:5).
We don’t dare call out another person for his or her sins. This is the 21st Century, after all. “Judge not,” we say. “To each his own.”
Paul didn’t get that memo. He drilled right down into the heart of the sin of Felix and Drusilla. There was no denying it. And Felix was alarmed, and he didn’t want to hear it. “When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”
Would that opportunity ever come? Felix would indeed summon Paul back into his presence, but it seems he only was hoping to receive a bribe from Paul. When Felix left office, he left Paul in prison. This does not appear to be a repentant man.
We do have an obligation to correct our brothers and sisters in Christ who fall into sin (2 Thessalonians 3:15; James 5:19-20). But Paul here was telling a nonbeliever about that man’s sins. He was warning him of how he was falling short. And he was warning him of the coming judgment.
Maybe there should be more room in our culture to speak directly to others about sin. And maybe we should be more alert to the moments where our own sin is thrown back in our faces by someone else so we can have an opportunity to deal with it.
Two questions for your day: How would you be likely to respond today if someone pointed out some sin in your life? With how much humility would you accept that correction?