And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul…
At the beginning of this interview Paul stood a captive before Felix, but at the close Felix stood a moral captive before Paul. The world rests its success upon men; God rests the foundation of His kingdom on the truth. It was not Paul who made Felix tremble, but rather truth blazing in the apostle's words. In connection with this, observe —
I. THE POWER OF TRUTH IN STATEMENT APART FROM PERSONAL EXAMPLE. There is a marvellous force in words, even apart from the person who uses them. Every man's life tends to strengthen or weaken that force, but cannot destroy it. Paul's example, of course, was a tremendous power, but he stood before Felix a stranger, and it was while he reasoned on the faith in Christ that Felix trembled.
II. THE NATURE OF CHRISTIAN TRUTH AND FAITH. It is not needful that we seek out the reason of Felix sending for Paul. He had doubtless anticipated a pleasure in hearing what this Nazarene had done, when Paul confronted him with the fact that faith in Christ always includes the human conscience. "What shall I do to be saved?" asked the jailer of the same apostle. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," was his answer; and his exposition of the same Christian faith to the other who had summoned him from a dungeon included the golden rule, the Sermon on the Mount, and the preparation for the Judgment Day, all put into practice. A light thing to believe — a light thing to have faith in Christ! Not that — not so thought Felix. Faith means the human choices and the deeds that shall be sealed in the presence of God.
III. MAN'S TRUE NATURE IS SUBSERVED BY THE TRUTH. Godlessness is the dwarfing of man's nobler nature; impurity is poison. Against this place the faith in Christ, which includes righteousness and purity, and the preparation for the right account, and we have what man needs. Paul made known to Felix the one thing needful. The whole aim of revealed truth is to develop in man his nobler nature. We need God, and all other blessings such as we need will come.
IV. THE REJECTION OF CHRISTIAN TRUTH IS SIN AGAINST SELF. If the acceptance of revealed truth is what we need, then to slight it is self-infliction of a personal injury. Eternal punishment means eternal sin. The judgment day book on which God writes retribution is man himself, or, rather, God seals what man has written on his own heart. If the worm keeps boring at the root of the tree, the leaves will soon fade and the tree die. If the rats keep gnawing on the plank, the music of the waters outside will be ended in the sound of despair. If the canker keeps on eating, it reaches the vitals soon. Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death upon the sinner — this is the eternal law, a law no man can set aside.
V. DELAY IS CONFESSION. "Go thy way for this time," means a recognition of the truth in what has been said. Putting off duty is confession of duty — duty deferred. The excuse simply declares a love for sin — an unwillingness to give it up. Paul found it convenient to drag his chains into Felix's presence to testify of his hope. What if Paul had said, "When I have a convenient season I will obey!"
(D. O. Mears, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
WEB: But after some days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus.