The Apostle Paul: Felix, a Consummate Politician.

22 But Felix, having a rather accurate knowledge of the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 Then he gave orders to the centurion that he should be kept in custody but have some liberty, and that none of his friends should be prevented from attending to his needs.

24 After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.” 26 At the same time he hoped that money would be given him by Paul. So he sent for him often and conversed with him. 27 When two years had elapsed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus. And desiring to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul in prison.” (Acts 24:22–27 (ESV)

Felix was nobody’s fool. He certainly wasn’t fooled by the inept case brought by the Jews against the Apostle Paul. Luke records that Felix had a more accurate knowledge of Christianity, the Way, than did the Jews from Jerusalem. As a result, Felix adjourned the hearing and said, ““When Lysias the tribune comes down, I will decide your case.”

However, the Roman tribune Claudius Lysias had already expressed his opinion concerning Paul’s innocence in his letter to Felix (Acts 23:23-30). It seems that Felix believed Lysias because while he had Paul kept in custody, he extended to Paul liberties including permitting his friends to visit him and to attend to his needs.

Several days followed whereupon Felix, accompanied by Drusilla who was his third wife and who was also Jewish, sent for Paul and heard him share the Gospel and faith in Jesus Christ. Paul spoke about God’s imputed righteousness on behalf of sinners, the Christian virtue of self-control and the coming judgment of God.  

As a result of Paul’s preaching the truth of the Gospel, Felix became frightened and ordered Paul away from His presence until a later time. However, being a consummate politician, he hoped that Paul would offer him a bribe for his release. Receiving none, Felix continued to send for Paul and to have conversations with him. There is no evidence, though, that Felix ever repented of his sins and became a believer in Christ.

Paul was no respecter of persons. He preached the Gospel and confronted unrighteousness whenever and wherever he could. He loved the truth and also knew his eventual destiny was in God’s sovereign control and not in a human politician’s. Such fearlessness is needed today.

Soli deo Gloria!

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