Felix Was Terrified

Richard Donley
Garnersville, N.Y.

"But after certain days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned of righteousness, and self-control, and the judgement to come, Felix was terrified and answered, Go thy way for this time; and when I have a convenient season, I will call thee unto me." (Acts 24:24-25)

This event contains a very valuable lesson for us. Paul was a preacher of the gospel of our Lord. He was also an apostle, and was inspired by the Holy Spirit. We may be sure that his teaching was done with the approval of Jesus Christ. When he was given an opportunity he reasoned with people concerning the faith in Christ. On some occasions the effect of Paul's preaching was to terrify people. There is no suggestion in the Bible that Felix was converted, and according to secular history the man died in sin. One may be terrified by gospel preaching, and yet fail to obey the Lord. We do not know why Felix rejected the love of Christ, but we do know the excuse he gave, it was, "When I have a convenient season."

Many a person is now living in sin because of failure to find a convenient season. Are YOU such a person? If so, let me tell you that there is no such thing. That is one of the pecularities of the doctrine of Jesus. It is not a convenient teaching. No man ever became a follower of our Lord by accident. No man ever became a Christian without sacrifice. Jesus said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matthew 16:24) If you are waiting for a time when you can become a Christian without inconvenience, then you are holding to a vain hope. That time will never come.

When Paul was heard concerning the faith in Christ, he reasoned of self-control. To follow Jesus one must abstain from fornication, lasciviousness, and all uncleanness. He must control his temper, and his tongue. His body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and so he must abstain from any thing that corrupts that temple. We think it is possible for a person to become such a slave to the flesh that he is no longer capable of self-control. Such a person is incapable of repentance. You may be such a person, but please do not assume that vou are before you have really tried. If you find yourself unwilling to exercise the self-control that Jesus expects, then you need to be terrified, just as the man addressed by Paul.

When Paul was heard concerning the faith in Christ he reasoned of the judgment to come. God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17: 32.) It should terrify any one to think of going to that judgment unprepared. If you can face eternity without the Lord, and not be afraid, then you must have been listening to the silly talk of modern preachers who say that there is no eternal punishment of the lost. The Bible says, "For we must all be made manifest before the judgement seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men." (11 Corinthians 5:10-11) Friend, you are going to be made manifest at the judgement. Are you willing to go to the judgment with the guilt of past sins upon your soul?

When Paul was heard concerning the faith in Christ he reasoned of righteousness. To be righteous is to be such as one ought to be. The standard of that should always be God's commandments. "For all thy commandments are righteousness." (Psalms 119:172) "Let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous." (I John 3:7). You can not attain to righteousness before God without the forgiveness of past sins. Even if you live a perfect life from now on you can not reach that goal without being forgiven of the sins of the past. That is what the Bible calls, "Righteousness without works." (Romans 4:6) It is to have past iniquities forgiven and past sins covered. The faith of Christ requires repentance, and it requires baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38.) Many would be willing to be baptized if they did not have to repent. Such people, like Felix, wait for a convenient season.

When a Christian sins he does not need to be baptized again. He does need to REPENT. He does need to PRAY. He does need to CONFESS (Acts 8:22, 1 John 1:9.) Some will say, this is hard teaching. We grant that it is, but it is still the teaching of Jesus. He offers much, but he requires more than some will give.

Truth Magazine II:5, pp. 6, 19
February 1958