Response to the Gospel; September 1, 2018

Acts 24:25 As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

It says in verse 22 that Felix was “well acquainted with the Way,” so it’s no surprise that when Paul talked about the particulars of what that meant in terms of lifestyle, it essentially “scared the pants off of him.” The tragedy is that instead of repenting, he avoided the subject. The greatest tragedy of mankind is that so many, when presented with the Gospel, choose the pleasures of the flesh over the the eternal riches of glory in Christ Jesus. Genuine ignorance is one thing, but in many countries very few could honestly make that claim. Besides, as Paul wrote to the Romans, God has revealed Himself through nature and the like, so people really have no valid excuse. (Romans 1:20) Felix had less excuse than most, living in Judea and knowing about the activities of the Church. When Paul pointed out that he himself was going to have to stand before Almighty God and answer for how he had lived, he ducked the subject. The very next verse says that he compounded his situation by seeking a bribe! Salvation is available to all through repentance and faith, but the gift of faith is dependent on our choice to repent. Felix wouldn’t make that choice, and so condemned himself.

I’ve been in Paul’s situation here numbers of times. I recall one time I made a specific appointment with the Chairman of the Board of the private school group where I teach, and laid out a clear Gospel presentation. He had known me for about 20 years by that point, so I’m sure it wasn’t a surprise to him, but he firmly rejected what I had to say, saying that he was satisfied with his religion. Like so many other Japanese, he considered religion to be largely irrelevant to his daily life, and he had no concept of the difference between religion and a personal relationship with your Creator. The best I can say of that encounter is that his blood isn’t on my hands. (Ezekiel 3 and 33) I left his office very sad, but I am never to stop sharing the Gospel with all who will hear, because God alone knows who will receive it.

Father, thank You for the Biblical record, and for the awareness that human nature hasn’t changed since Creation. Help me never give up, but rather proclaim Christ, and yes, righteousness and self-control and judgment, so that as many as will may recognize their need and Your provision, and so repent and receive Your salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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