1 “And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and
with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.”
Version; Textus Receptus;for , Authorized Version and
for , Authorized Version;
After five days. Of which the first was thefor , Authorized Version.
day on which Paul left
companions appeared before Felix (see v. 11, note). Tertullus. A Latin name,
formed from , as Lucullus from , Catullus from , etc.
Informed; ἐνεφάνισαν – enephanisian – informed; disclosed - in the sense of
"laying an information" before a magistrate, only occurs elsewhere in ch. 25:2, 15
(see above, ch. 23:15, note).
2 “And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying,
Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness, and that very worthy deeds
are done unto this nation by thy providence,” - for ,
Authorized Version;for , Authorized Version;
for , Authorized Version
and Textus Receptus; there is also a change in the order of the words,
placed at the beginning instead of at the end of the sentence.
When he was called. We see here the order of the trial. As soon as the charge
is laid against, the prisoner, he is called into court, to hear what his accusers
have to say against him, and as it follows at v. 10, to make his defense (see
ch. 25:16). We enjoy much peace. The gross flattery of this address of the
hired orator, placed at the beginning of his speech, in order to win the favor
of the judge, is brought into full light by comparing Tacitus's account of the
misconduct of Felix in
he might commit any crime with impunity, and by his proceedings nearly
caused a civil war ('Annah,' 12:54); and his character of him as a ruler of
boundless cruelty and profligacy, using the power of a king with the temper
of a slave ('Hist' 5. 9.); and Josephus s statement that no sooner was Felix
recalled from his government than
the chief men among the Jews at
went up to
punishment through the influence of his brother Pallas. By thy providence.
"Providentia Caesaris" is a common legend on Roman coins (Alford).
Evils are corrected. The reading of the Received text, διορθώματα – diorthomata –
meaning "reforms," occurs only here, but, like the kindred κατορθώματα –
katorthomata - of the Textus Receptus, is a medical term. Διόρθωσις –
Diorthosis - , reformation, is found in Hebrews 9:10. The κατορθώματα –
katorthomata – reformations take place - of the Textus Receptus. (which also
occurs nowhere else in the New Testament) means, in its classical use, either
"successful actions" or "right actions;" κατορθόω - katorthoo - is to "bring
things to a successful issue." Possibly Tertullus may have had in view the
successful attack on the Egyptian impostor (see ch. 21:38, note), or the
wholesale crucifixion of Sicarii and other disturbers of the public peace.
The Influence of a Good Ruler on National Evils (v. 2)
See the rendering in the Revised Version, “Seeing that by thee we enjoy
much peace, and that by thy providence evils are corrected for this nation.”
How far this may be a true description of Felix it may be difficult to decide.
The only good thing known of his rule is the energetic effort which he
made to put down the gangs of Sicarii (Assassins) and brigands by whom
recalled from his province, and accused by the Jews at
escaped punishment by the intervention of his brother Pallas, then as high
in favor with Nero as he had been with Claudius. But Tertullus describes
the proper influence of good rulers, and so suggests a subject on which we
may profitably dwell.
CONQUERED NATION. Certain forms of lawlessness are only kept in
check by the strong hand of an active, vigorous government. In every land
there are criminal classes and revolutionary classes, and these make
headway as soon as, from any cause, the pressure of authority and national
police is relieved. In a conquered nation there is always a dangerous
sympathy with the revolutionary classes, which increases burglary,
brigandage, and murder.
Ø There is the simple, but harsh method of conquest by armies, and the
crushing down of all expressions of life by brute force. This, however,
never really succeeds.
Ø There is the slow method of forming aright public opinion, which makes
the nation become its own police. This often fails, because the demagogue
creates an opposing and unworthy public opinion.
Ø There is the influence gained by the good ruler who can be prompt and
strong, wise and far seeing, who loves the people, and masters the evils for
the people’s sakes. Such a ruler secures peace from external quarrels and
internal dissensions, and, in securing peace, bears directly on the people’s
well being. He effects all reasonable reforms, so as to remove everything
that hinders the national prosperity. Show that it becomes us to pray for
good rulers; to seek grace and help for them that they may rule well; and to
aid them in carrying out all good schemes.
3 “We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.”
for , Authorized Version; for , Authorized Version.
Meyer connects in all ways and in all places with the preceding διορθωμάτων
γινομένων – diorthomaton ginomenon – reforms becoming; reforms and
improvements that have taken place on all sides and in all places. Πάντῃ -
Pantae – in every way, found only here in the New Testament, means
"on all sides," " in every direction."
The Power of the Flatterer (v. 3)
Felix was not noble at all. Tacitus says of him that “in the practice of all
kinds of lust, crime, and cruelty, he exercised the power of a king with the
temper of a slave.” Tertullus had an end to gain, and adopted flattery as a
means. He was a hired pleader, and selected for the sake of his glib
eloquence. He could talk well. Men of his class were found in most of the
provincial towns of the
local lawyers would not be sufficiently familiar with the proceedings at the
Roman courts, or with the minute details of Roman law. Tertullus had
“learned the trick of his class, and began with propitiating the judge by
flattery.” Canon Farrar says, “Tertullus was evidently a practiced speaker,
and Luke has faithfully preserved an outline of his voluble plausibility.
Speaking with polite complaisance, as though he were himself a Jew, he
began by a fulsome compliment to Felix, which served as the usual captatio
benevolentiae (winning of good will). Alluding to the early exertions of Felix
against the banditti, and the recent suppression of the Egyptian false Messiah,
he began to assure his excellency, with truly legal rotundity of verbiage, of the
quite universal and uninterrupted gratitude of the Jews for the peace which he
had secured to them, and for the many reforms which had been initiated by
his prudential wisdom.” The subject suggested for our consideration is this
— What are the limits of praise? How far may we go in conciliating others
by words of approval and congratulation? At once it may be answered that
no praise may go beyond the truth or be out of harmony with the truth. But
in practical life we have to remember that different persons have different
estimates of personal character.
1. Some are incompetent to form sound judgment, and such persons give
praise that is simply unsuitable, but is not spoken with any purpose of
2. Others are prejudiced, and can only see the evil sides of a man’s
character and actions. Their estimates are wholly unworthy.
3. Others are just as blind to the evil and as prejudiced to the good, and
their estimates, though seemingly flattering, are really only exaggerated
and untrustworthy; they lack criticism, but are not insincere.
4. Yet others praise with some object which does not appear; they have an
end to gain, and the praise is regarded simply as a means towards obtaining
the end. These are the flatterers, and their characteristic is insincerity. The
following points may be illustrated concerning the power of the flatterer:
flatterer seeks to get something that is not in itself right. It is an agency to
use when a man’s case is bad. If a man lacks arguments, he will flatter the
judge. He means to throw him off his guard, and to get him into a
favorable mind by praises.
the best of men, a self-love that makes praise pleasant. If the flattery is kept
well in hand and skillfully disguised, even noble natures, even humble
natures, may be swayed by it. If the flattery is too open and intense, good
men are put on their guard and resent the insult.
done to the flatterer himself, who is confirmed in his insincerity when he
finds flattery succeed. A man may get into such a habit of flattering that he
will lose the power to recognize the truth, and come to believe in his own
exaggerations. Show the injury that is done to the person flattered, who
may be led to form an undue estimate of himself, and so be placed in
positions of extreme moral peril when the hour of temptation comes. If it is
wrong for us to think of ourselves above that which we ought to think
(Romans 12:3), it must be wholly wrong for any one to flatter us so that
our self-opinion is unduly raised. Felix was really pushed a little nearer to
his fall by this flattery of Tertullus. For Scripture teachings concerning
flattery, see Psalm 36:2; 78:36; Proverbs 2:16; 20:19; 26:28; 29:5, etc. Press
the apostolic counsel, “Speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are
members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25).
4 “Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that
thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words.” for ,
Authorized Version;for , Authorized Version;
for Of thy clemency (τῇ σῇ ἐπιεικείᾳ -, Authorized Version.
tae sae epieikeia – to your leniency). The word is rendered "gentleness" in
II Corinthians 10:1, where alone it occurs in the New Testament; ἐπιείκης –
epiekaes is most frequently rendered "gentle" (I Timothy 3:3 (Revised Version);
suntomos - briefly, concisely, found only here in the New Testament, but
common in classical Greek and especially in medical writers, where it means
"rapidly," "in a short time."
5 “For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition
among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of
the Nazarenes:” for , Authorized Version and Textus Receptus.
We have found (εὑρόντες – heurontes - finding). The construction of the sentence
is an anacoluthon (syntactical inconsistency or incoherence within a sentence; especially:
a shift in an unfinished sentence from one syntactic construction to another (as in "you really
ought—well, do it your own way"). The participle is not followed, as it should be, by
a finite verb, ἐκρατήσαμεν – ekrataesamen - we lay hold (in v. 6), but the
construction is changed by the influence of the interposed sentence, "who moreover
assayed to profane the temple," and so, instead of ἐκρατήσαμεν αὐτόν – ekrataesamen
auton - , we have ὅν καὶ ἐκρατήσαμεν – hon kai ekrataesamen – whom we also lay
hold. A pestilent fellow (λοιμόν – loimon - ); literally, a ; as we say, "a pest,"
"a plague," or "a nuisance," like the Latin It only occurs here in the New
and 25:25, υἱοὶ λοιμοὶ - sons of Belial; I Maccabees 10:61; 15:3 ἄνδρες λοιμοί -
andres loimoi – villains; pestilent fellows: and 15:21, simply λοιμοὶ (rendered
"pestilent fellows" in the Authorized Version), and elsewhere as the rendering
of other Hebrew words. It is occasionally used also in this sense by classical
writers. A mover of insurrections (στάσεις – staseis - , insurrection; sedition –
Received Text). This was the charge most likely to weigh with a Roman procurator
in the then disturbed and turbulent state of the Jewish mind (compare Luke 23:2;
John 19:12). Felix himself had had large experience of Jewish insurrections. The
accusation. The world (ἥ οἰκουμένη – hae oikoumenae –the inhabited earth).
The Roman, or civilized, world (Luke 2:l; 4:5, etc.). Ringleader; πρωτοστάτην –
protostataen - ringleader, only here in the New Testament, but used by the
Septuagint in Job 15:24, and not uncommon in classical Greek, as a military term,
equivalent to the first,the right-hand man in the line. Also, in the plural, the
soldiers in the front rank. The sect of the Nazarenes. As our Lord was
contemptuously called "The Nazarene "(Matthew 26:71), so the Jews designated
his disciples" Nazarenes." They would not admit that they were Christians,
disciples of the Messiah.
The Indictment that was a Self-Indictment (v. 5)
The preparations for the indictment of Paul before Felix had been well
considered. Somewhat formidable, save to the strong heart, and that
divinely refreshed (ch. 23:11), most concerned in the matter, must the
legal phalanx have appeared, when Ananias the high priest, and the elders,
and their practiced professional helper Tertullus, and others of the Jews,
made their appearance. The speech containing the accusation against Paul,
which began with flattery for a Felix, not unnaturally culminates in
falsehood hurled at Paul, and mockery flung at the Nazarene. The
portraiture of perverseness such as this is no novelty; yet some peculiarity
in the featuring may be found here, A new touch or two fails not to give
some new expression to the countenance. What a mournful commentary on
human nature, that it is necessary to contemplate its worst expression of
countenance, and to study, not the model to copy, but the type false and
debased to avoid! Consider, therefore:
FAITHFUL TEACHER OF CHRIST IS DESCRIBED AS
“PESTILENT.” These are the two things that underlie the ugly fact.
Ø That it is the depths of a muddy nature that are reached.
Ø That it is something that has the undisputed power to reach those depths
that is present and working. The “pestilence” was all subjective to Tertullus
and friends. The strong force was the force of Christ.
DEVELOPING MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD’S MIND TO THE
WORLD HAVE SO UNIFORMLY FROM THE FIRST PROVOKED
NOT A FEW TO VOTE THEM NOTHING BETTER THAN THE
SIGNS OF SEDITION. These are at least some of the things that underlie
Ø That the unfolding of God’s mind and purpose to the world always
means war with its inertness. The keen appetites of the world are not to
true knowledge, not to godly activity, not to wisdom’s perfect work.
Ø That the growing manifestation of God to mankind always means a
summons to simpler, purer, more determined holiness and height of life.
The stir and report that swell round the echoes of the voice summoning
men in this sort are indeed sedition to their stifled order of life and of habit
and of affection. It is not in them to “seek for honor, glory, and
immortality.” God’s greater, better, clearer gifts necessarily postulate a
truer human return of them, and a more correct reflection.
PUREST FOLLOWING OF THE PUREST TRUTH AND OF THE
HIGHEST IDEAL WHICH GOD HAS GIVEN TO MEN HAS SO
OFTEN GATHERED OVER ITS INNOCENT HEAD THE WORST
ACCUMULATIONS OF MISCONSTRUCTION,
MISREPRESENTATION, AND FALSEHOOD. A notable instance is
here before us. The polished orator, the trained and keen lawyer, heaps the
epithets, every one ill or of ill omen, “pestilence,” “sedition,” “ringleader,”
“sect,” “the Nazarenes.” These were the fruit of a tongue rather than
merely a pen “dipped in gall.” And false is the word stamped, as a
monogram is stamped, on every one of them. These are some at least of
the causes at work under the fact.
Ø That reason, opportunities of knowledge, convictions, conscience
injured, ignored, insulted, know terrible ways of revenge, and a terrible
force of revenge. Obscurity becomes thick darkness; mistake becomes
willful preference for the wrong; one sin becomes a multitude.
Ø hat a certain sort of heart, once deeply conscious, without the slightest
readiness to acknowledge it, that it is losing, loses also itself, loses its self-
control, and finds itself drifted, hurried, hounded on to senseless lengths.
Heaven’s sweetest beneficence — for this it has nothing but the vocabulary
of traducing slander.
of human nature. They are results of:
Ø permitted unfaithfulness,
Ø condoned infidelities,
Ø encouraged willfulness, and
Ø deliberate defiance of TRUTH!
in place of devoted affiance to it. Deep need the roots of them to be sought,
that without mercy they may be uprooted and exterminated. And they need
the prayer earnestly offered, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try
me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and
lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
6 “Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and
would have judged according to our law.” for
, Authorized Version; for ,
Authorized Version. To profane the temple. The same false charge as was made
in ch. 21:28. The remainder of v. 6, after the words "on whom we laid hold,"
the whole of v. 7, and the first clause of v. 8, are omitted in the Received Text
on the authority of א, A, B, G, H, etc. But the propriety of the omission is doubtful
(Alford, Bishop Jacobson, Plumptre), though sanctioned by Mill, Bengel, Griesbach,
Lachmann, and Tisehendorf (Meyer). If the words are not genuine, it is a marvelously
skilful interpolation, fitting into the place so exactly both at the beginning and at the
end, and supplying a manifest want in the speech of Tertullus. (For the statement in
v. 8 Authorized Version, compare ch. 23:30.)
7 “But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took
him away out of our hands,” 8 Commanding his accusers to come unto thee:
by examining of whom thyself mayest take knowledge of all these things,
whereof we accuse him.”
for , Authorized Version.
According to the Revised Version, whom refers to Paul, but according to the
Authorized Version, to Lysias. This last agrees with v. 22. By examining him;
elsewhere only in Paul's Epistles). In ch. 25:26 the kindred ἀνάκρισις – anakrisis –
examination, is used.
9 “And the Jews also assented, saying that these things were so.”
Textus Receptus;for , Authorized Version and
Joined in the charge. The readingfor , Authorized Version.
of the Received Text, συνεπέθεντο – sunepethento – agreed - means "joined
in the attack upon," as in the Septuagint of Deuteronomy 32:27 ("behave
themselves strangely," Authorized Version); Psalm 3:6 (Codex Alexandrinus;
"set themselves against me," Authorized Version) The συνέθεντο of the Textus
Receptus means "agreed" (as John 9:22), "assented."
10 “Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak,
answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge
unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:”
, etc., for ,
etc.,, Authorized Version; for , Authorized
Version and Textus Receptus; defense for , Authorized
Version. Forasmuch as I know, etc. Paul, with inimitable skill, pitched upon the
one favorable side of his judge's person, viz. his long experience in Jewish affairs,
and made it the subject of his opening reference - a courteous and conciliatory
reference, in striking contrast with the false, fulsome flattery of Tertullus.
Of many years. If Paul was speaking in the year A.D. 58, and Felix had been
governor only since A.D. 53, "many years" was rather an hyperbole. But
Tacitus expressly states that Felix was joint procurator with Cumanus; and
therefore he had been a judge to the Jewish nation long before the banishment
of Cumanus. Tacitus's authority is infinitely superior to that of Josephus, and
this passage strongly supports the statement of Tacitus ('Annal.,' 12:54). Make my
defense (τὰ περὶ ἐμαυτοῦ ἀπολογοῦμαι – ta peri emautou apologoumai – the
concerning myself I am defending). For the word ἀπολογοῦμαι – apologoumai –
answer, and for the situation of Paul, and for the gracious promise provided for
use of ἀπολογία – apologia – answer; defense, see ch. 22:1, note.
11 “Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days
since I went up to
for , Authorized Version and
Textus Receptus; for , Authorized Version;
for I ,
Authorized Version. Twelve
days. These days may be thus reckoned:
(1) arrival at Jerusalem (ch. 21:15);
(2) Visit to James and the ciders (ibid. v.18);
(3) first day of purification (ibid. v. 26);
(4) second day of purification;
(5) the third day;
(6) the fourth day;
(7) the fifth day, when the tumult took place (ch. 21:27);
(8) Paul brought before the Sanhedrim;
(9) the conspiracy of the forty Jews, Paul leaves Jerusalem for Caesarea –
the first of the
five days mentioned in ch. 24:1;
(10) arrival of Paul "next day" at
second of the
five days (ch. 23:32, 35);
(11) Paul in Herod's judgment hall - third of the five days;
(12) ditto - fourth of the five days;
(13) the current day, being also the fifth day of those mentioned in ch. 24:1.
The mention of the brief time of twelve days shows the narrow limits
of time within which the crime must have been committed, while the
adroit mention of the purpose of his visit, to worship, would show how
unlikely it was that he should have gone with any evil intent.
12 “And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither
raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:”
for , Authorized Version;
orfor , Authorized Version;
Stirring up a crowd. The reading offor ... , Authorized Version.
the Received Text is ἐπίστασιν ποιοῦντα ὄχλου – epistasin poiounta ochlou -
which must mean "a stoppage of the crowd," in which sense it is a medical term.
But Meyer thinks it is a mere clerical error for the reading of the Textus Receptus
ἐπισύστασιν - episustasin - which is used in the Septuagint for "a tumultuous
assembly" (Numbers 26:9; III Esdras 25:9), and in Josephus, 'Contr. Apion.,'
1:20, of a conspiracy or revolt. In the Septuagint also the verb ἐπισυνίσταμαι –
13 “Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.”
Prove (παραστῆσαι – parastaesai –for , Authorized Version.
to present evidence); see ch. 1:3, note.
14 “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy,
so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written
in the law and in the prophets:” for , Authorized Version;
for, Authorized Version ; for , Authorized Version; ( better,
as following "I serve," and addressed to a Roman judge);
, Authorized Version. This, of course, refers to this
expression of Tertullus in v. 5, Πρωτοστάτης τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως –
Protostataes taes ton Nazoraion haireseos - "Ringleader of the sect of the
Nazarenes." The word αἵρεσις (heresy), which means primarily "choice," has not
necessarily or even ordinarily a bad sense. In classical Greek its secondary sense
was a "sect" or "school" of philosophy, Academics, Peripatetics, Stoics, Epicureans,
etc. The Jews applied it to their own different schools of thought. So in ch. 5:17
we read, Αἵρεσις τῶν Σαδδουκαίων – Hairesis ton Saddoukaion -, " sect of the
Sadducees;" in ch.15:5, Αἵρεσις τῶν Φαρισαίων – Hairesis ton Pharisaion -
"ch. 26:5 Paul speaks of himself as having been asect of the Pharisees;" in
Pharisee, Κατὰ τὴν ἀκριβεστάτην αἵρεσιν τῆς ἡμετέρας θρησκείας – Kata taen
akribestataen hairesin taes haemeteras thraeskeias - "After the straitest sect of
our religion" (see too ch. 28:22). It begins to have a bad sense in Paul's Epistles
apoleias – damnable heresies, where, however, it gets its bad sense from the
ἀπωλείας (of destruction) joined to it. In ecclesiastical writers it came to have
its worst sense of "heresy" something worse even than " In this
reference to Tertullus's phrase, Paul seems hardly to admit that Christianity was
properly called "a sect" by the Jews, but gives it the milder term of "the Way"
(see ch. 9:2, note). The God of our [my] father (τῷ πατρῳ Θεῷ - to patro Theo);
that, in becoming a Christian, he had not been disloyal to Moses, or the Law, or
the prophets, or to the religion of his fathers, but quite the contrary. According
to the Law. Κατὰ τὸν νόμον – Kata ton nomon may mean either, as in the Revised
Version, "according to the Law," or, as Meyer takes it, "throughout the Law,"
and then is better coupled, as in the Authorized Version, with τοῖς γεγραμμένοις –
tois gegrammenois - . The Law, and... the prophets (as Matthew 5:17;
The Confession of a Coherent Worship and Faith (v. 14)
Paul is, of course, at no loss to account for the enmity of the Jews
manifested toward him. And it is his intention that his judge shall overhear,
if not hear, the true state of the case. He has vindicated himself and will
still vindicate himself against the ostensible accusations laid to his charge.
But now he pierces beneath all pretences and appearances, and touches
firm ground. And the concisest way of conveying his view of the state of
things to his judge lies in a very simple confession of his religion. To which
we may consider (as suggested by Paul’s language here) two things to be
essential. They are:
germane to the confession.
Ø That he worships.
Ø That he worships God.
Ø That he worships the God of his fathers, i.e. the very same God whom
his accusers profess to worship.
of a superstitious worship. There are ways and ways, of worship. And
these follow very consistently the faith that is held. Notice:
Ø That Paul very decidedly pronounces for himself that his faith
embraces “all things written in the Law and the prophets.”
Ø He implies that the faith of his enemies failed of this. It felt short,
perhaps, partly in its very character, but probably much more seriously
in its compass. The typical Jew of the days of Jesus prided himself in
reading the Law literally and fully, though with many a corrupt
addition. His “way” of interpreting the prophets was of a far more
eclectic character. He couldn’t see, because he wouldn’t believe, the
humble and the humbling prophecies of the Messiah. Paul’s “heresy”
was, in fact, that he believed “all.” The Jews’ ruining sin was that
they would not believe “all.” This quietly spoken sentence of Paul
gave the key to all. And it is another comment upon the Jews in
harmony with that uttered by Jesus Himself, “Had ye believed Moses,
ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me.” (John 5:46).
The Way Called Heresy (v. 14)
The Revised Version reads, “After the Way which they call a sect, so serve
I the God of our fathers.” Paul’s teachings the Jewish party certainly
regarded as heresy, and did not hesitate to call heresy. Paul urges that
he did no more than belong to a sect, or section, of the Jews, who, while
worshipping according to the Mosaic system, had received, as they
believed, some further light by the direct revelation of God. To some Jews
Paul’s doctrine of resurrection, based upon the fact of the resurrection
of Christ, was a heresy. To others his free announcement of gospel
blessings to the Gentiles was a heresy. But his chief offence in the eyes of
the more bigoted Jews lay in this, that he freed his Jewish converts from
the characteristic demands of the Jewish ritual. This was, in their eyes,
heresy indeed. As indicating a wider use of the term sect than that with
which we are familiar, it may be noticed that it was used of Jewish sects by
Josephus, of schools of philosophy by Greek writers generally, and of
schools of medicine by Galen. There are four sides from which heresy, as a
misrepresentation or perversion of accepted truth, may be viewed.
distinctly of false doctrine, which puts the Christian truth in peril. There are
great first principles, great foundation truths, and for these we do well to
be jealous. But we must clearly see that while heresy on these points is
dangerous to the Christian faith and life, heresy on points which men have
been pleased to elaborate — on mere details and accepted formulae —
have never shaken the rock-built house of truth, and never will. God has
given us two all-sufficient tests of moral and religious truth. No heresy ever
yet has stood the application of these two tests.
Ø Is the statement in harmony with God’s revealed Word?
Ø Does it practically work out into that which is good — morally pure and
good? We need never fear any presentation of so-called truth that is in
accord with God’s Word, and is manifestly “unto holiness.” It is God’s
truth, whatever some may call it, if it helps to make men holy.
often is. A man expresses a well-established truth in some new form or new
phraseology, and, without waiting to examine it, and see if it was only new
clothing on the old body of truth, his fellow-men raise the heresy shout,
and create prejudice against him. Paul’s heresy was only individuality,
and God gave him that individuality in order that it might make him a holy
power. Jews called it heresy, but we have learned to glory in the gospel
with the Pauline stamp upon it. The lesson taught by the Christian records
of nearly two thousand years, but which we are strangely unwilling to learn
today, is that we must never crush individuality by the shout of heresy, but
thank God for sending men who can clothe His old truth in adaptation to
the thought and life of each succeeding age.
think it does. This it never does. God’s truth never wants the bolstering of
any human courts or judges. God’s truth asks only one thing from the
world’s powers and potentates — to be let alone. Truth wants the open air
and the sunshine, that is all. It can win its own way. It can carry its own
conviction. It can take care of its own purity. It can cast off all unworthy
additions. (I will tell this the best I can. Once there was a father who took
his young girl to the circus. The daughter was impressed with the lion
tamer in the cage with the lion. The daughter told her father that it was
good that the lion had someone to take care of him, to which he replied,
“Let the lion out of the cage and he will take care of himself!” Such is
God’s truth. Let it out and it will take care of itself! CY – 2018)
We greatly need an absolute and unquestioning confidence that
God’s truth is in no danger. It smiles at unbelief and over self-reliant
science, much as the granite rocks seem to do at the wild careering waves.
SIDES OF TRUTH. Truth — revealed truth — is a great whole, but no
one age seems able to take in the whole; some parts are always prominent
and some are always in the background; and there is this constant peril,
that the truths in the foreground are treated as if they were the whole, and
any one who brings up to view the neglected aspects is liable to the charge
of heresy. Many a so-called heresy is only a missed truth or a half-truth;
and then, after men have done “calling names,” they are glad to accept the
teaching. One rule is set before us, “Prove all things, hold fast that which is
good” (I Thessalonians 5:21), whatever may be the name by which men call it.”
15 “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there
shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”
forfor , Authorized Version;
, Authorized Version; for ,
Authorized Version and Textus Receptus. Which these also themselves look for
A Hope Grown from a Deep and Manifold Root (v. 15)
The hope that there shall be a resurrection of the dead is here described as
a “hope toward God.” It is hope pre-eminently resting upon God. For:
NATURE GIVEN BY HIM. The deep-seated instincts of nature are
necessarily among the strongest moral arguments of which we can take
cognizance. (It is He that hath put eternity into our hearts! Ecclesiastes
3:11 – CY – 2018)
CONCLUSIONS OF OUR TRAINED REASON, A REASON GIVEN
ALSO BY HIM. Reason’s arguments upon certain highest subjects, by
themselves, may easily be uncertain and fallacious. But as guides on the
way to other arguments, and as supports of other arguments, they are often
very significant, very suggestive, very helpful. And it is so to a high degree
in this instance.
It is the end of the gospel to him who believeth. If this hope fall through,
all falls through. (“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of
all men most miserable.” – I Corinthians 15:19 – CY – 2018) The
Christian’s deception becomes an absolutely typical and leading instance
of deception for the whole world’s whole length of history; and the
Christian’s disappointment the keenest of all disappointments — his
collapse making him the most miserable of all men.
“just” IS A HOPE TOWARD GOD RESTING EMPHATICALLY ON
THE TESTIMONY OF HIS OWN REVELATION, AND
CONTRIBUTED TO LARGELY BY CERTAIN ASPECTS OF HIS
JUSTICE WITH. WHICH THAT REVELATION MAKES US
FAMILIAR. In this theme the mystery of unfathomable depths of
unsearchable wisdom is before us. It enwraps the height of highest hope,
the deepest things of fear.
16 “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of
offence toward God, and toward men.” for ,
Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; ... for
, etc., Authorized Version; for , Authorized
Version. (For the sentiment, compare ch. 23:1). Herein (ἐν τόυτῳ - en touto –
in this); , under these circumstances supplying the ground and
αὐτῶν – En tae polulogia auton - means "On account of their much speaking."
I exercise myself; ἀσκῶ - asko – I am exerting, here only in the New Testament,
but frequent in medical writers for "to practice" the medical art.
The secret of strength and courage in the Christian life is a conscience void of
offence toward God and toward mankind.
A Powerful Incentive to a Noble Life (vs. 15-16)
Between the life of the meanest and basest men on the one hand, and that
of the purest and noblest on the other, what an immeasurable spiritual
space intervenes! We look here at:
life, never rise above a consideration of their own enjoyment or acquisition.
There are others who never rise higher than the consideration of others
which is born of natural affection; that which springs from the ties of
kindred and, perhaps, common interest or companionship. Others again
there are who get as far as political or national enthusiasm. But they only
are worthy of the One “with whom they have to do” (Hebrews 4:13)
and reach the full stature of their manhood, who are constrained by
the sense of obligation to God and to man. Paul “exercised himself to
have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward
men.” Here was:
Ø A lofty aim. “To have a conscience void of offence toward God, and
toward men.” This means something more than the avoidance of the darker
sins and the greater crimes, of those misdeeds which stamp a man as a
sinner and a criminal in the eyes of the world. It means:
o righteousness in the sight of the Supreme; the being counted righteous
by God, and the attainment of positive righteousness like his own; so
that a man is living in a state of abiding acceptance with God, and is
also walking before Him in uprightness and integrity of heart and life.
It means also:
o recognition of the claims of men on our regard, and the consequent
shaping of our life in purity, honesty, truthfulness, helpfulness; so
that a man has not to reproach himself either with acts of injury or with
negligence and inconsiderateness; he has a “conscience void of offence”
toward men as well as toward God.
Ø A comprehensive view. Paul aimed to be conscientious at all times, in all
things (διὰ παντός – dia pantos). And we know that this was more than a
figure of speech; it could hardly be said to be in any way hyperbolical. He did
strive to act with a good conscience always. With whomsoever he had to do,
in whatsoever he was engaged, he sought to act faithfully. And the truly
noble life is one in which the humbler as well as the higher activities and
endurances are regulated by holy and heavenly principles.
Ø An earnest endeavor; “I exercise myself,” i.e. “I strenuously endeavor,”
“I put forth my whole energy,” “I labor.” Paul’s action amounted to
something vastly more than an occasional sentiment or a feeble futile
effort; it was an earnest aspiration spending itself in vigorous exertion. He
cultivated his spiritual powers; he trained himself in holy habits; he wrestled
with the adversaries of his soul; he did stern battle with the lower
propensities; he strove to exhibit the graces which are dear to God, the
virtues which are valuable to men.
many powerful and all-sufficient incentives to rectitude from considerations
which are at hand.
Ø Our supreme obligation to God, the Divine Author of our being and
Source of all our joy.
Ø Our influence upon our fellow-men, and the effect our life has on theirs.
Ø The elevated joy we have in the consciousness of rectitude, both of
integrity of heart and innocency of life. But we shall do well to add this
Ø The hope of future blessedness; including:
o the approval of the Divine Master; His “Well done”
(Matthew 25:21); and
o the extended sphere which He wilt appoint the faithful (ibid).
Loyalty to God and Men (v. 16)
“A conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” Bishop
“There is a principle of reflection in men, by which they distinguish
between, approve and disapprove, their own actions. We are plainly
constituted such sort of creatures as to reflect on our own nature. The
mind can take a view of what passes within itself, its propensions,
aversions, passions, affections, as respecting such objects and in such
degrees, and of the several actions consequent thereupon. In this survey it
approves of one and disapproves of another, and toward a third is affected
in neither of these ways, but is quite indifferent. This is strictly conscience.”
This subject may be fitly introduced by discussing — What is conscience?
What is its sphere? and What are its limitations? The expressions in the text
remind us that the testimonies of our conscience depend upon our cherished
standards. There ought to be a due recognition of both Divine and human
rules, and our conduct has to be regulated in view of both. Paul presents us
the example of the man who is loyal to the revealed will of God, and loyal also
to the rules which men make for the regulation of their social relations.
These may indeed sometimes clash, and then the true-hearted man must
follow out the Law of God, whatever may be the consequences. But
usually there is found a practical harmony between the two, so that the
moral life is acceptable both to God and man. In estimating the value of
others’ opinion of us, let us remember that the great thing to cherish is our
will to that which is right, and our inward consciousness of being right.
That conviction was the strength of Paul. When Plato was told that he
had many enemies who spoke ill of him, “It is no matter,” he said, “I would
so live that none should believe them.” It may be impressed, in conclusion,
that the merely natural conscience is practically insufficient and
untrustworthy as a guide of life; and it absolutely needs spiritual
illumination, a quickening by the power of the Holy Ghost.
17 “Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.”
many years; or,
Paul's last visit to
in ch. 18:22. Since then he had spent "some time" (χρόνον τινά - chronon tina) at
and stopped between two and three years there, had gone
spent three months at
years - from A.D. 54 to A.D. 58 - according to most chronologers. Evidently Paul
had not been plotting seditious movements at
twelve days before, for a purely benevolent and pious purpose, after an absence of
four or five years. Alms... and offerings. Those of which he speaks in I Corinthians
for which he made himself answerable for the poor Nazarites (ch.21:24, 26).
18 “Whereupon certain Jews from
with multitude, nor with tumult.” for , Authorized Version
and Textus Receptus;
, Authorized Version
and Textus Receptus. Amidst which (ἐν αϊς – en hais - in which - Received Text)
refers to the alms and offerings The Textus Receptus has ἐν οϊς – en hois - "
which circumstances," "at the transaction of which deeds," or, briefer, "whereupon,"
Authorized Version. But there were. Most manuscripts followed by the Received
Text, read τινὲς δὲ
Ασίας – tines de apo taes
one of the Textus Receptus, which agrees, moreover, exactly with ch. 21:27.
19 “Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought
against me.” for , Authorized Version. The sense is
exactly the same.
20 “Or else let these same here say, if they have found any evil doing in me,
while I stood before the council,” Men for , Authorized
me, Authorized Version and Textus Receptus; for , Authorized Version.
Let these men themselves. Since the Asiatic Jews are not here to bear witness,
let these men who are here speak for themselves as to what they witnessed in
21 “Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them,
Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.”
Textus Receptus (ἐπί for ὑπό).for , Authorized Version and
Except (ἤ): ἄλλο, else, is understood after τί, so that ἤ is equivalent to εἴ μή.
Touching the resurrection (see ch. 23:6, where the exact words are,
"Touching the hope and resurrection of the dead, I am called in question ").
The Defense of Paul (vs. 10-21)
The simplest analysis of the defense which Paul here made for himself is its
highest praise. The matter of it must be closely dependent upon the
occasion, but the characteristics of its method must be good for all
occasions, and imitable to all generations. Notice in this defense:
COMPLIMENT. The contrast which is presented in this respect to the
introduction of Tertullus speaks for itself. There is here nothing, but simple
PROCEEDS TO ITS ONE TASK. “I do the more cheerfully answer for
myself,” says Paul. He could never answer for himself with hope of any
ordinary justice before a council of his own people. But now, while this is
his one task to answer for himself, and he takes to it immediately, he does
not refrain from saying that there are aspects of the case which enable him
to throw himself with spirit into his work.
REMOTEST RESEMBLANCE TO ABUSE OF HIS ACCUSERS. Paul
denies the allegations laid to his charge, shows to an experienced judge that
there was very little time in which the things alleged could possibly have
occurred, and challenges, by a direct contradiction, the ability of his highly
respectable accusers to prove their assertions and make out their charges.
But through all there is not a word that sounds like “pestilent fellow,” or
“sedition,” or “ringleader.”
OF THE MATTER. This was a difference “in the way of worshipping
God.” The keen Roman judge (and Paul knew it and correctly took
advantage of his knowledge) was not likely to be so very anxious to lend
the force of Roman law and a Roman executive to the mere bidding of
Jewish bigotry and ecclesiasticism.
THOUGHT LESS OF IT, CONSCIENCE THE FOUNDATION
PRINCIPLE OF ALL RELIGION. Paul does not blow contempt upon
the truths or methods of religion, even in that shape of religion least
understood or honored by Felix, revealed religion. He declares:
Ø His conscience.
Ø His living constant care of it.
Ø His acknowledgment of the necessity of training it to correctness and to
Ø His recognition of its twofold duty,
o toward God and
o toward man.
In all this, there can be no doubt that Paul honored his God, his religion,
and his individual conscience, with no hope of any deep sympathy,
on the part of Felix indeed, but also without any fear of the high
priest Ananias again daring to order them to “smite him on the mouth.”
STROKE OF POLICY, IN POINTING TO THE FACT OF THE
STRANGE ABSENCE OF SOME WITNESSES, AND THE
STRANGER SILENCE OF OTHERS ALTHOUGH THEY WERE
PRESENT. Paul calls attention to the fact that these two things speak for
themselves. And finally challenges once more contradiction of this position,
that he had not been the originator of any disturbance whatever, much less
seditious disturbance in
“Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this
day,” could be interpreted as such. But Paul knew this challenge could not
be taken up, both because the Pharisees sided with him in the matter on the
very occasion, and because the disturbance was one as between the rival
theologies of the Jews, and not as between mere civilians. The correctness,
cogency, calmness, of this defense made up its masterly convincingness.
There could be no doubt which party had the moral victory of the day.
There can be no doubt of the fallen countenances of Ananias and elders
and Tertullus. And there can be no doubt that, in this very defence, the
accused Christian may hear to the end of the world words not altogether
unlike these: “After this manner, therefore, defend ye yourselves.”
22 “And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of
that way, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall
come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.”
Textus Receptus;, Authorized Version and
Having more exactfor , Authorized Version.
knowledge, etc. At
Christianity. The conversion of Cornelius with his household and friends, men
belonging to the dominant Roman power; the work of Philip the evangelist,
residing probably for some years at
well as Jews, must have given Felix some knowledge of "the Way." He would
learn something, too, both of Judaism and Christianity from Drusilla, his wife
(v. 24, note). When Lysias... shall come (see vs. 7-8, and note). I will determine
(διαγνώσομαι – diagnosomai – I shall be investigating); see above, ch. 23:15,
where the verb is in the active voice, and is rendered in the Revised Version
"to judge." The idea of the word is "to know with discrimination;" and this is
the sense it has in medical writers, who use it very frequently; asGalen says,
Πρῶτον γὰρ διαγνῶναι
"diagnosis" of an illness (ch. 23:15).
23 “And he commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty,
and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister or come unto
him.” for com , Authorized Version;
Textus Receptus;for , Authorized Version and
for , Authorized Version;
for , Authorized
Version;for , Authorized Version
and Textus Receptus. Indulgence (ἄνεσιν – anesin - ease); literally, , viz.
of the prison restraints and confinement. The word is used in the Septuagint of
II Chronicles 23:15, ἔδωκαν αὐτῃ ἄνεσιν – edokan hautae anesin, those
who had taken Athaliah prisoner, "let her loose" till she got out of the temple
court. It is also a common medical term for the cessation or remission of pain
or disease. Paul uses it four times in his Epistles for "rest" or "ease" (II Corinthians
with Paul during his imprison merit, and, as suggested above, to have his help in
writing his Gospel.
Paul before Felix (vs. 1-23)
spurious eloquence. False rhetoric, as Plato taught, always owes its power
to its flattering the passions of the audience. So here the orator addresses
himself directly to the magistrate’s self-love. It is pretty clear that Felix,
instead of being the beneficent ruler he is described as being, must have
been well hated by the people for his vices and oppression. Later they
accused him to the emperor. Flattery is a great solvent. The great gain the
little, and not less the little gain the great to their ends by it.
Ø “Great lords, by reason of their flatterers, are the first to know
their own virtues, and the last to know their own vices” (
Ø “Know that flatterers are the worst kind of traitors” (Sir W. Raleigh).
On the other hand, true eloquence speaks to the heart and conscience (v 10).
Paul indulges Felix in no flattering complimentary titles. He respects the
office and the existing order which it represents, true to his teaching in
Romans 13.; but not the bad man in the office. He speaks with freedom
and boldness. He avows himself the member of a despised sect. He is a
Nazarene. But Christianity is no newly invented heresy, nor does the gospel
depart from the faith of the fathers. Rather Christ’s gospel their spiritual sum
and substance, the end and goal of the old covenant. All that is true in any
of our sects is continuous with the old; what is quite novel is probably not
true. The simple words of Paul contain a fine defense of persecuted opinions.
o They are not of yesterday.
o The future belongs to them.
o Meanwhile, the great thing we exercise is a good conscience.
If they are really conscientious, force cannot put them down.
Ø “To have a conscience void of offence.” Religion which does not aim at
this and end in this, is vain; otherwise a mere matter of the head, or of
hereditary habit, an occasion of contention and source of division, chaff
without wheat, and a shadow without life. A life that will bear the
inspection of men and of God, the only certificate of true religion; or
rather, the endeavor for such a life. The “exercise of one’s self” in
worthy habits, to noble ends.
Ø Hope is ever connected with the good conscience. The hope of the
resurrection is not a doctrine the splendor of which first appears in the
New Testament pages; it appears in bright glimpses in the Old from
the time of the Babylonian Captivity onward. In some form it lives
and burns at the heart of all genuine faith and religion. With a joyous
confession on the lips, a clear conscience in the bosom, an innocent
life-record behind one, the just judgment of God before one’s
expectation, — here are the defenses of the Christian against the
arrows of calumny.
“He commanded a centurion to keep Paul, and to let him have liberty.” It is
evident that the prosecution of the apostle by the Jewish party had utterly
broken down. No charge could be substantiated which made him amenable
to punishment according to Roman law. If Felix had been a free man, and,
as a judge, free of all other considerations than the doing of justice, he
would have liberated Paul at once, declaring publicly his innocence. But
Felix was not free. No man is really free who does not dare to do the right.
And we can recognize a gracious overruling providence in Paul’s being
kept for a while longer under Roman protection. So great was the enmity
against him of the Jewish party, that his life would have been in extreme
peril if he had been liberated. Knowing that he was dealing unfairly by the
prisoner, and impressed by his dignity of bearing, Felix compromised
matters with himself, persuaded himself that he could secure Paul from the
schemes of the Sanhedrim by keeping him prisoner; put off Paul’s enemies
by an excuse that he would confer with Lysias; and privately arranged for
Paul to have a real, though not an apparent, liberty. Through all the ages
some of the worst wrongs have been done in the name of compromise,
which is too often the weak device of those who cannot “stand firm to the
Ø By the weakness of his moral character.
Ø By the desire to please an important section of those whom he had to
Ø By the consequences of his own wrong-doings, which it cost him all his
effort to keep off as long as possible.
Ø By the circumstances in which he found himself placed, and which he
had no strength of will or purpose to master.
The man of vice and self-indulgence weakens his will, and becomes the
slave of his sin as truly as does the drunkard.
Roman soldier day and night, according to the usual Roman custom, and if
Felix relaxed this, still Paul was a prisoner in the barracks, and probably a
soldier-guard waited on him constantly. If his friends were free to come to
him, he was not free to go out to them. If we estimate his character aright,
we shall feel that even the slightest form of bondage must have been most
painful to him. His was a soul so noble than even the limitations of a frail
body were to him an agony.
Not free enough to say, honestly and. honorably, “This man is innocent of
all crime against the state, and must be set at liberty at once.” Only able to
shake the fetters off enough to say, “Forbid none of his acquaintance to
minister or come unto him,” and only able to give this order in a private
way to the centurion.
outward limitations, nothing can imprison a man save his own willful sin.
Nobody can put any real fetters on any fellow-man. Each man who wears
fetters puts them on himself; each man who dwells in a prison goes in
himself, and himself bolts the door.
“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage.”
But “whosoever committeth sin becomes the slave of sin.” (John 8:34)
So, whatever may have been the limitations of the apostle’s circumstances,
there was no bondage, for there was no conscience of sin. The freedom of
Ø to commune with God,
Ø study the truth,
Ø to serve the Churches,
maybe shown; and it may be pointed out how often the very limitations
of a man’s circumstances, through sickness or persecution, has found
him the freedom for some great and noble service, as may be illustrated
from Luther’s work while in the Wartburg, and from John Bunyan’s
work while in the
24 “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.”
for , Authorized Version; for , Authorized
Version; for , Authorized Version; for
, Authorized Version; for , Authorized Version and
Textus Receptus. Came; παραγενόμενος – paragenomenos – coming along - a
very favorite word with Luke, occurring twenty-nine times in his Gospel and the
Acts. It implies that Felix had been absent from
Drusilla. She was, according to Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 20. 7:1, 2) the daughter of
Herod Agrippa I, who "killed James with the sword" (ch. 12:1-2), and died shortly
afterwards. She was first the wife of Azizus, King of Emesa; but Felix, becoming
enamored of her on account of her singular beauty, employed a certain magician,
a Jew named Simon, to entice her away from her husband, and persuade her to
marry him, contrary, as Josephus says, to the institutions of her country.
She perished, with Agrippa, her only son by Felix, in the eruption of Vesuvius,
in the reign of Titus (Josephus, as above). Tacitus says that Drusilla, the wife of Felix,
was granddaughter of
with another of the three royal wives of Felix, mentioned by Suetonius in 'Claudius;'
unless, perchance, as has been conjectured, be had two wives of the name of Drusilla,
of whom one was, as Tacitus says,
King Juba and Cleopatra Selene,
and in Kuinoel, on ch. 23:24). But there is no certainty on the subject. Only Josephus's
detailed account of Drusilla, the wife of Felix, agrees with Luke's statement that she
"was a Jewess," and is beyond doubt true.
25 “And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,
Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a
convenient season, I will call for thee.” for ,
Authorized Version;for , Authorized Version;
for, Authorized Version; for , Authorized Version;
for , Authorized Version.
Rare Heroism and Common Folly (vs. 24-25)
There are two main points well worthy of attention.
“reasoned of righteousness, continence, and judgment to come.” It requires
some courage for a man to address a company of his fellows, even when he
feels sure that they will be sympathetic; it demands other and far higher
courage to address a number of men, when it is certain they will be
unsympathetic; but it requires higher devotedness still, it demands heroism
of a rare order for one man to use the language of remonstrance and
rebuke when speaking to another man, particularly when that other is the
stronger and higher of the two. For the poor man, the captive, the accused,
the one who stood absolutely in the other’s power, to “reason of
righteousness, continence, and judgment to come,” to the unrighteous and
dissolute judge, who had so much ground for dreading the future, — for
Paul thus to expostulate with Felix was heroism itself. Let us thank God
that he gave us such a man, to do such a work, at such a time in the history
of our race. Let us emulate his spiritual nobility. High courage is, in part, a
gift to be thankfully accepted; but it is also, in part, a grace to be
studiously acquired. Paul was the faithful man he proved himself at
Ø he placed himself on the right side — on the side of truth, of
righteousness, of God; and because,
Ø he cultivated carefully the conviction that infinite power and love
surrounded him with its constant care. He could always say, “The Lord
stood by me.” (ch. 23:11)This is the secret of spiritual nobility, of moral
trembled.” His agitation should have passed at once into resolution; he
should have said at once, “I will return on my way; I will turn my back on
my old sins; I will be a new man, living a new life.” But he did not; he
made terms with his old self; he temporized; he played with his
opportunity; he resorted to evasion, to self-deception; he excused himself;
he said, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season,
I will call for thee.” O well-worn, much-trodden path of self-excuse,
along whose pleasant way such thousands of travelers have gone on
TO THEIR RUIN! This is how we commit spiritual suicide, how we go
to our death! We do not say presumptuously, “I will not;’ we say feebly,
falsely, fatally, “I will soon,” “I will when.” There are three strong reasons
against delay under religious conviction.
Ø It is a guilty thing. We blame our children when they hesitate or linger
instead of rendering prompt and unquestioning obedience; but we are more
bound than they to implicit and unhesitating obedience to the Supreme. “I
will when — “means “I will not now.” It is rebelliousness of spirit put in
the least flagrant form; but it is still rebellion; it is a state of sin.
Ø It is a delusive thing. We defer, IMAGINING that we shall find ourselves
able and willing to do the right thing further on. But we have no right to
reckon on this; for:
o Outward hindrances tend to become stronger rather than weaker. Life
becomes more and more complicated, companions grow more
numerous and urgent, difficulties and entanglements thicken, as our
days go by; the hedge before us becomes thicker and higher continually.
o And inward and spiritual obstacles become more difficult to surmount;
the habit of the soul today is the finest silken thread which the child’s
finger may snap, but it will shortly become the strong cable which the
giant’s strength will be unable to divide. (The chains of habit are too
light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. CY - 2018)
Well does Scripture speak of “the deceitfulness of sin.”
o It is a fatal thing. If vice has slain its thousands, and pride its thousands,
surely procrastination has slain its tens of thousands. The man who is
consciously and determinately refusing to serve God knows where he
stands and what he is; he knows that he is a rebel against God,
standing on perilous ground. But he who thinks he is about to enter
the kingdom, or even dreams of so doing, shelters himself under the
cover of his imaginary submission, and goes on and on, until sinful
habit has him in its iron chain, or until “pale-faced Death” knocks
at his door, and HE IS FOUND UNREADY!
“Oh, ‘tis a mournful story,
Thus on the ear of pensive eve to tell,
Of morning’s firm resolve the vanished glory,
Hope’s honey left to wither in the cell,
And plants of mercy dead that might have bloomed so well.”
The Highest Powers Eluded by the Heart’s Subterfuges
The immediate connection reminds us very forcibly how the man who is
the worst friend to himself is sometimes environed with opportunities
charged with the offer of mercy,
long wait upon him in natural relationships, in his very weaknesses, in
suggestions and inducements of almost every various kind. How many
things conspired now to give Felix the opportunity of hearing and knowing
the truth! His position, his popularity, his knowledge “of that Way,” the
fact of his having married a Jewess, and even the itching of his hand for a
bribe (v. 26) — things so strangely at variance with one another and
some of them with goodness — did nevertheless all combine to make him a
hearer of the things greatest and best to be heard. He heard, felt, resisted,
and lost. And Felix is a great and long-enduring illustration of:
SPECIALLY OF CHRISTIAN TRUTH. There are deep valid reasons for
Ø Right lies with them, by the verdict of
o even reason;
o experience of practical life.
In every one of these directions, even to all their ramifications, there is
nothing like a mere beating of the air, nothing like mere sound and fury,
nothing like vox et praeterea nihil (a voice and nothing more), in the appeals
of religious truth. Each appeal is a home-thrust, that purports to reach and is
fitted to reach what is deepest and most enduring in a man. And each appeal
is a manifesto in the name of one or more of these grand authorities and
arbiters of human life.
Ø The imaginings, as just as they are instructive (if not first stifled) of the
mysterious looming future, lend a large contribution to the power of
religious appeal Sometimes they are roused as by the mutterings of distant
thunder, sometimes as by strains and snatches of celestial music. The
echoes are for some so rich with sound, so mellow; or for others they
wander as though haunting the empty chambers of hollow hearts. The
apprehension of the infinite and the infinite future “hangs in doubt” before
many eyes. But it is not always the apprehension of fear, and whether one
or the other it does its work.
Ø Love, and of an unusual kind, dwells in them. The interference with the
sacredness and the retiredness of individual thought and feeling which is
offered by religious appeal, and offered also with a certain appearance of
arbitrary authority, is remarkably counterbalanced by its undisputed
disinterestedness, men would never bear to be addressed on any other
subject whatsoever in the way and in the tone and with the persistency to
which they readily yield themselves in the matter of the appeals of religion.
And that they sufficiently know nothing but their own deepest advantage is
aimed at, is the sufficient account of it.
Ø No doubt the commanding power of religious appeal — in the sense of
convincing power — is due to the operation of the Holy Spirit.
RELIGION, WHICH EMPHASIZES SO TERRIBLY HUMAN
RESPONSIBILITY. The deep reality of such power of resistance is
testified with certainty from the too well-known fact of it. Notice such
causes of it as are traceable amid the deeper and inscrutable mysteries that
cloud the subject.
Ø A mind really turned from the LIGHT and TRUTH!
Ø A heart that is strong in its own pride. How many a heart knows the love
that is intended for it, yet of pride refuses it!
Ø An aversion to effort, specially moral effort; and to the demand of
change which it involves in habit and action, specially that form of change
Ø The grievous facilities for yielding to temptation. Legion is the name of
deception in things moral. The wide sweep of opportunity for resisting,
courts the very spirit of him who is open at all to the approach of
temptation. The shifts to which such will condescend to have recourse are
innumerable, unaccountable, and find their strict description only as of
those “devices of Satan, of which we are not ignorant” (II Corinthians 2:11),
indeed — “not ignorant” in a double sense — but against which so many are
unarmed and irresolute in their presence. The versatility also of subterfuge
in order to gain the end of resistance is amazing. It can blind the eyes of
reason and of self-interest. It can stifle the conscience and hush to silence
the deepest, most just, sources of fear. It can defy the lessons of practical life.
It will induce a man to use the responsible advantages of his own highest
position to stay, in feeling’s most favored and critical moment, the pressure
and all the persuasion of moral importunity itself. And to all else, to elude
the one precious moment of grace, temporizing, procrastinating, playing
with time, it condescends to the mournfully vain expedient of attempting
to throw dust with one hand into the eyes of others, and into its own with
the other. The moment when Felix trembled as he heard the great verities
of life announced and urged, was the fairest moment of his life. But it
vanished. And THE DARKEST MOMENT succeeded it all swiftly,
when Felix not only resisted the pleadings of knowledge, of truth and
grace, and of the Spirit, but resisted them by the aid of the deceptions
of procrastinating, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient
season, I will call for thee.”
The Substance of the Faith in Christ (vs. 24-25)
From Farrar’s ‘Life of St. Paul,’ note to p. 340, vol. 2., see the relations of
Felix to this Drusilla. She was a Jewess by birth, and would be interested in
a man who was the object of such virulent persecution. She had, no doubt,
heard of the Prophet of Nazareth, and was likely to show some curiosity
when one of his leading disciples was a prisoner at the court. Private
audiences were given to Paul, and he was invited to speak freely
concerning “the faith in Christ.” It is a side light thrown upon the greatness
of Paul’s nature, that he used his opportunities at once so skillfully and
so nobly. “With perfect urbanity, and respect for the powers that be, he
spoke of the faith in Christ which he was bidden to explain, in a way that
enabled him to touch on those virtues which were most needed by the
guilty pair who listened to his words. The licentious princess must have
blushed as he discoursed of continence; the rapacious and unjust governor
as he spoke of righteousness; both of them as he reasoned of the judgment
to come. Whatever may have been the thoughts of Drusilla, she locked
them up in her own bosom; but Felix, unaccustomed to such truths, was
deeply agitated by them” (Farrar). The word “faith” is employed in
Scripture with several distinct meanings; here it is used of the Christian
doctrine, but Paul deals with the practical rather than the theoretical
aspects of it. His remarks bore upon that first necessity of Christianity, the
conviction of sin. Bungener puts the point of his preaching both succinctly
and forcibly when he says, “Paul, as usual, wished to press certain
consequences; and it is always against these that people resist, even when
they are far better than Felix and Drusilla. ‘He heard him concerning the
faith in Christ; and as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and
judgment to come:’
Ø of righteousness, to a cruel and unjust despot;
Ø of temperance, to a debauchee whose very marriage had been but
one scandal the more, and
Ø of judgment to come,
to a man who had doubtless sought in Epicurean negations a refuge from the gods —
‘then Felix trembled.’ Paul’s theme finds expression in three words:
Ø righteousness, full and honorable discharge of all the duties which
man owes to God, and man owes to man;
Ø temperance, or the due control of all the appetites and passions
of the body;
Ø judgment to come, or the certainty that all life-conduct
must, sooner or later, be perfectly appraised, and due punishment
Paul does not confine himself, as a merely ethical teacher might have done, to
abstract arguments on the beauty or the utility of ‘justice’ and ‘temperance.’ Here,
also, his own experience was his guide, and he sought to make the guilty pair
before whom he stood feel that the warnings of conscience were but the presage
of a Divine judgment which should render to every man according to his deeds.
It will be noted that there is here no mention of the forgiveness of sins, nor of the
life of fellowship with Christ. Those truths would have come, in due course,
afterwards. As yet they would have been altogether premature. The
method of Paul’s preaching was like that of the Baptist and of all true
teachers” (Plumptre). The three topics may be treated in a more general
way if presented thus:
Ø Righteousness, or the Divine ideal of a human life.
Ø Temperance, or a man’s personal responsibility in the use of his body,
and the shapings of his human relationships.
Ø Judgment to come, or the appalling fact for all who follow their own
willful ways, that results must be divinely recognized. Compare the
convincing of the Spirit, which is of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and
press that only upon the conviction of sin can the message of a Savior
from sin COME WITH POWER TO ANY OF US!
Convenient Seasons (v. 25)
This familiar topic needs but a brief outline. Procrastination is one of man’s
chief perils. It is the “thief of time,” the “delusion of the evil one.” No man
has any “by-and-by,” any “tomorrow” to which he can trust. “NOW” is our
accepted time, our day of salvation. A man has nothing but the passing
moment; yet he comfortably shifts off the duty of today by the vain fancy
that it can be done to-morrow. “Felix is the type of the millions whose
spiritual life is ruined by procrastination.” Philip Henry says, “The devil
cozens us out of all our time by cozening us out of the present time.”
Archias, a supreme magistrate of the city of
surrounded by his friends, when a courier arrived in great haste, with
letters containing an account of a conspiracy formed against him. “My
lord,” said the messenger,” the person who wrote these letters conjures
you to read them immediately, being serious things.” “Serious things tomorrow,”
replied Archias, laughing, and then put the letters under his
pillow. This delay was fatal. The conspirators that evening rushed into the
banqueting-room, and put the careless Archias, with all his guests, to the
opportunities always seem to be away in the future. The pressure of daily
business or daily pleasure will surely be lightened some day. We all have
our eye upon some distant time when we mean to be in earnest about
religion, and our sincere intent excuses OUR PRESENT DELAY!
what we have in the case of Felix. He was smitten, but was purposed not
to yield, so quieted conscience with a vague promise.
Press that the only convenient seasons for us are just those in which God
brings home to our souls His truth, and urges us to its acceptance. Could
Felix only have seen it, the most convenient season for him was the hour
when Paul urged upon him the “faith in Christ.”
26 “He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he
might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with
him.” for , Authorized Version; for ,
Authorized Version;is omitted in the Received Text
and Revised Version;for , Authorized Version.
Sent for him the oftener. The mixture of conviction with covetousness in the
mind of Felix as the motive for seeing Paul is observable. As in other cases of
double-mindedness, the convictions were doubtless stifled by the corrupt avarice,
and so came to nothing.
Felix was a man with a seared conscience. (I Timothy 4:2) Contrast him with Paul
who exercised himself to always have a conscience void of offence towards God
and man. Felix would be a case study of a man with the light of an education,
perhaps once having contact with Christianity with a knowledge of facts which
has been darkened by sensuality, avarice, worldly power, and constant trifling
with conscience. He could tremble at truth, but even while trembling was ready to
sell it for his own vicious pleasures. He felt its force, but steadfastly resisted it,
and even sent again and again for Paul, in hope to make gain out of him.
Felix was a trifler with opportunity. Preaching may move the feelings without
changing the heart. Behind the procrastination there is generally a moral
corruption hidden. The opportunities which are trifled with harden the heart
and hasten the judgment. Felix knew not the time of his visitation. Judgment
fell on him, and the Jews, to whose wickedness he pandered, became his
accusers before Caesar. No season is more convenient than THE PRESENT
when the voice of God says, “Repent!”
Covetousness Excusing Injustice (v. 26)
Felix proved utterly ignoble. His reasons for leaving a man prisoner whom
he knew to be altogether innocent, are base. “Willing to do the Jews a
pleasure.” “Hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul.”
Felix is stamped as:
Ø a time-server, and
Ø as a corrupt judge.
“Felix, well knowing how the Christians aided one another in distress, and
possibly having some information of the funds with which Paul had
been recently entrusted, and ignorant of those principles which make it
impossible for a true Christian to tamper by bribes with the course of the
law, might naturally suppose that he had here a good prospect of enriching
himself.” (What if Paul had taken the money collected from the churchs
and instead of retaining it for the needy of the church at
used it to bribe Felix? CY – 2018) Nothing so quickly and so utterly debases
a man as the cherished spirit of covetousness. This, however, is a somewhat
unusual form and expression of the many-sided evil. Olshausen says, “The
sword of God’s Word pierced deep into the heart of Felix, but for this very
reason he suddenly broke off the conference. But his moral baseness betrayed
itself strikingly in this, that he could still hold fast his prisoner for the mere
purpose of obtaining money for his release, yea, that at his departure from
the province, he left him in prison, out of complaisance to the Jews.”
Ø that Felix knew the right;
Ø but that, nevertheless, he did the wrong; and
Ø that the love of money in part explains his choosing the wrong.
The following incident may be helpful in the illustration of this third point:
— “A case was tried
before a young cadi (judge) at
were these. A poor man claimed a house which a rich man usurped. The
former held his deeds and documents to prove his right; but the latter had
provided a number of witnesses to invalidate his title. In order to support
their evidence effectually, he presented the cadi with a bag containing five
hundred ducats. When the day arrived for hearing the cause, the poor man
told his story, and produced his writings, but could not support his case by
witnesses; the other rested the whole case on his witnesses, and on his
adversary’s defect in law, who could produce none; he urged the cadi,
therefore, to give sentence in his favor. After the most pressing
solicitations, the judge calmly drew out from under his sofa the bag of
ducats which the rich man had given him as a bribe, saying to him very
gravely, ‘You have been much mistaken in the suit, for if the poor man
could produce no witnesses in confirmation of his right, I myself can
produce at least five hundred.’ He then threw away the bag with reproach
and indignation, and decreed the house to the poor plaintiff.”
27 “But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing
to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.” for
, Authorized Version; for
, Authorized Version; favor
for , Authorized Version;
for Was succeeded by;, Authorized Version; is also transposed.
ἔλαβε διάδοχον – elabe diadochon. This word occurs only here in the New Testament,
but is used twice in Ecclesiasticus. It is also, as above noted, the identical word used
by Josephus of Festus. But in ch. 25:1 Festus's government is called an ἐπαρχία –
eparchia - province, and Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 20. 8:11) calls Festus an ἔπαρχος –
eparchos, instead of the more usual ἐπίτροπος – epitropos - steward. Could
Josephus have seen the Acts of the Apostles? Porcius Fetus. Josephus speaks of
him as sent by Nero to be the "successor" (διάδοχος – diadochos) of Felix
('Ant. Jud.,' 20. 8:9; '
or other Latin historians, and he appears from Josephus's account to have held t
he government for a very short time, probably less than two years, when he died
conveyed by Luke, that he was a just and upright ruler, in marked contrast with
Felix his predecessor, and his successors Albinus and Gessius Florus. Desiring to
gain favor. χάριτι καταθέσθαι – chariti katathesthai – to curry with favor); literally,
, or favor, or , to be requited at some future period.
A frequent phrase in the best classical authors. Felix had good reason thus to try and
put the Jews under obligation to him at the close of his government. For the danger
was great to the retiring governor of complaints being sent to the emperor of
oppression and plunder, which were often listened to and punished. Josephus
relates, in point of fact, that the chief Jews in Caesarea
sent an embassy to
to lodge a charge against Felix before Nero; and that he only escaped punishment
by the influence of his brother Pallas ('Ant. Jud.,' 20. 8:9).
The scene in this chapter is a very striking one, depicted with admirable simplicity
and force. The bloated slave sitting on the seat of judgment and power, representing
all the worst vices of Roman degeneracy. The heads of the sinking Jewish
commonwealth, blinded by bigotry and nearly mad with hatred, forgetting for
the moment their abhorrence of their Roman masters, in their yet deeper detestation
of the Apostle Paul. The hired advocate with his fulsome flattery, his rounded
periods, and his false charges. And then the great apostle, the noble confessor,
the finished Christian gentleman, the pure-minded, upright, and fearless man,
pleading his own cause with consummate force and dignity, and overawing
his heathen judge by the majesty of his character. It is a graphic description of
a very noble scene.
“Not This Man, but Barabbas.” (vs. 1-27)
There are many gradations of the truth stated in I Samuel 21:7, “The
Lord seeth not as man seeth,” and the corresponding truth, “That which is
highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” But both
passages mark distinctly how often the judgment of man diverges from the
judgment of God, or in other words, how far men often are from “judging
righteous judgment” concerning persons and things which come under their
notice. This false or erroneous judgment proceeds from two causes:
often-times on insufficient grounds. His mental vision only takes in a
portion, sometimes a very small portion, of the materials upon which a
sound judgment should be based. In the instances to which I Samuel
16:7 refers, Samuel, judging by the fair looks and commanding stature of
Eliab, thought he must be fit to be the ruler of
discern the heart, the hidden character of the man. And so it continually
happens. We base our judgments on insufficient premises, being ignorant of
those things which, if known, would influence them in an opposite
direction. The practical lesson to be drawn from this view of the erroneous
judgments of men is threefold.
Ø To be diligent in adding to our knowledge whenever we are called upon
to form a judgment.
Ø To be always diffident and modest in regard to our own conclusions.
Ø Whenever our judgments do not agree with those of Holy Scripture, to
be sure that the disagreement arises from our own ignorance, and to
submit ourselves accordingly.
but injustice and unfairness of mind. Men misjudge others because they are
influenced by hatred, prejudice, self-interest, and other corrupt motives. They
are like the unjust judges spoken of by Isaiah (v. 23), “who justify the wicked
for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him.” A
large part of the favorable and unfavorable judgments of the world are of this
character. We have a typical example of this in the chapter before us. Here are
two men standing on the stage of observation.
Ø One is Felix. We know him as a cruel, licentious, unrighteous man,
steeped in blood, rich by oppression, profligate in conduct. We know
him as one the meanness of whose servile origin broke through the
crust of the splendor of his official greatness. We know him as
a man raised to power by the most corrupt and shameful influences
which have ever prevailed in national affairs, and abusing that
power to the utmost under the screen of an infamous security.
Ø By his side stands another man, certainly one of the greatest figures
among the great men of the world, and one of the very best among
the very good of the children of men. It is the Apostle Paul. For his
mighty victories in the world of mind and spirit he might have borne
surnames from provinces of the East and of the West, more glorious
than those of the Africani and Germanici of the Roman commonwealth.
For energy of action, for dauntless courage, for inexhaustible
resource, for masterful vigor of character, for lofty eloquence,
for influence over the minds of other men, he stands abreast
with the greatest of the earth’s heroes. For absolute disinterestedness,
for unsullied purity, for overflowing benevolence, for ardent and
glowing kindness, for self-sacrifice, for self-restraint, for uprightness,
for truth, for generosity, for laborious well-doing, for consistency of life,
for perseverance through every hindrance and contradiction in a sublime
and noble purpose, for tenderness and faithfulness to friends, and for
ungrudging service to his Divine Master, where shall we find his equal?
What, then, was the judgment passed on these men respectively — this
Felix and this Paul?
o Felix is thanked and belauded for his “very worthy
o Paul is “a pestilent fellow;” “Away with him from the earth: it is
not fit that he should live!”
And so we are reminded of another judgment, the unanimous judgment
of a great multitude: “Not this man, but Barabbas!” (John 18:40)
and we are put upon our guard against the judgments of men.
Malice, Innocence, and Power (vs. 1-23;26-27)
We have illustrated here:
Ø Persistent hatred. It was a long journey to
humiliating thing, to which they were utterly averse, for the high priest and
the elders to appear before the Roman judge to get their countrymen into
their own power; nevertheless the undying hatred, the animosity which did
not diminish by time carried them through their distasteful work.
Ø Disgusting flattery (vs. 2-3).
Ø Gross misrepresentation (v. 5). Paul had caused no little dissension
and conflict among his fellow-countrymen, but it was simple perversion
of the truth to call him a “pestilent fellow,” etc.
Ø Offensive characterization (v. 5). Paul was “a ringleader of the sect of
the Nazarenes;” but malice put his position into the most offensive form
it could command.
Ø Downright falsehood (v. 6). He had not “gone about to profane the
temple.” These various falsities came from the lips of Tertullus, but they
were owned and adopted by the Jews (v. 9). To such baseness malice
will stoop to compass its ends; to such iniquity professed piety will
condescend when inflamed by the unholy heats of bigotry.
Ø Courtesy (v. 10). We may not flatter, but we must be courteous and
conciliatory (I Peter 3:8; I Samuel 25:23-33).
Ø Straightforward statement (vs. 11, 14-17). There is no better way by
which to prove our integrity than telling the whole truth from beginning
to end, with perfect frankness.
Ø Fearless denial (vs. 12-13, 18). We should solemnly deny, in calm and
dignified language, that which is falsely alleged against us; in quietness and
composure rather than in vehemence and loud protestation, is our strength.
Ø Righteous challenge (vs. 19-20). We may do well to face our accusers
with bold and righteous challenge (John 8:46).
Ø gave an unrighteous decision, for the case had broken down, and Paul
should have been released,
Ø hankered after a bribe (v. 26); was willing to sell justice for money;
Ø left his position with an act of selfish injustice (v. 27). He presents a
pitiful picture both as a public administrator and as a private individual.
How little to be envied are those who climb to high stations! How
contemptible is power when it is perverted to mean and selfish ends! How
admirable, how enviable in comparison, is innocence in insignificance or
even in bonds!
The Divine Word and the Conscience (vs. 24-27)
ITSELF. There is silver music in the message of reconciliation to man’s
distracted heart; but the call to repentance as the necessary condition of
peace, this is discordant with passion and self-will. And there are grave
errors here. Some suppose that the gospel renders the moral law
superfluous; others, that the freedom of the conscience under the gospel
means license; others take faithful reproof as personal affront; many are
under the dominion of sense, and the will is captive to the lusts of the flesh.
Ø They have not the resolution for thorough repentance, to break utterly
with the evil past.
Ø They neglect the acceptable time and the day of salvation. “The golden
grace of the day” flees, and never comes back to them.
Ø They thrust aside the thought of JUDGMENT TO COME! Though
they know the vanity of the world, they are too indolent to tear themselves
from its deceptive pleasures. Disgusted with the hateful bondage of sin,
they are too weak to break off their fetters. Superficial impressions are
felt, but frivolity admits no deep impressions.
Ø Certain subjects are not in good taste. Speak to me of everything but
that! Generalize on virtue and goodness, but let my favorite weaknesses
or vices alone!
Ø Procrastination. “Tomorrow!”
“To-morrow and to-morrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.”
“Procrastination is the thief of time.
Year after year it steals till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal time.”
The time of repentance is now and always for him who is willing. For
GOD IS EVER CALLING inwardly and outwardly; in every circumstance
time can be found to obey. But never for him who cannot find it seasonable
to LISTEN TO GOD AT ANYTIME. “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find
me, and shall die in your sins” (John 8:21).
Ø He speaks of repentance and its fruits; justice towards our neighbor;
personal purity; sober recollection of the Divine judgment.
Ø Its powers. The preacher is a slight and insignificant man, yet he makes
the powerful magistrate tremble. He is bound in one sense, yet in another
free, and the lord is the real slave. He is the accused; yet quickly he
changes parts with Felix. Paul is the hero in the light of truth and of
eternity, Felix the coward and the abject.
o If we are on the side of truth, the Word of God becomes a
sword in our hand.
o If we are opposed to it, we must be fatally pierced by it.
"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.
Materials are reproduced by permission."
This material can be found at:
If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.