In this BT Daily series, we'll be following Paul on his travels in the book of Acts to study three key encounters. In this first episode, Paul is brought to trial before Felix, a Roman governor, and leaves quite an impression.
[Darris McNeely] How important is a clean conscience before God? Well, it’s very important. I’ve just finished teaching the book of Acts at our Ambassador Bible College. Every time I go through the book of Acts, it’s a fascinating read and study of the story of the church in the first century and helps us to understand aspects of our faith.
There’s a story in chapter 24 of Acts, and verse 25, where the apostle Paul is brought before the Roman governor by the name of Felix and Felix’s wife, Drusilla, who was a Jew. Paul is in chains, he has been accused by the Jews of false actions, or he’s been lied about, and Paul has to make his case before Felix the Roman governor down at the seaside port of Caesarea. Now, Felix was a rather ruthless ruler at the time, and what had happened was he had coaxed Drusilla to become his wife by leaving her husband – and she did so, very young and taken in by his character, his ruthlessness and his personality – she left one husband and married Felix, and so they were an interesting couple. Before both of them, we find in verse 25 of Acts 24 that Paul is brought before them and he gives a defense concerning the faith in Christ, concerning Paul, his life, and his teaching. Now what Paul did here, it says in verse 25, is “he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come” (Acts 24:25 Acts 24:25And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go your way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for you.
American King James Version×). Righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come – three pretty heady topics to be talking to a man with a character like Felix and that of his wife Drusilla. And you know what happened? Paul’s teaching convicted both of them. And it says about Felix that “he was afraid”. Fear overcame him. Certainly it would, because he was being lectured about clean living, righteousness, about having self-control. Felix and Drusilla were lacking in both categories. And when Paul got to the clincher, no doubt, about a judgment to come for our ways, that must have struck home and Felix didn’t want to hear any more.
The point of the story is this: Felix was able to dismiss Paul and pass him on to the next official, and Paul went about his way. But you and I have to reckon with our own lives. It’s important to keep a clear conscience because there is righteousness, there is a standard of how to live by God’s way of life, there is a matter of having self-control and character because there is a judgment to come. We don’t need to live by fear, guilt, or worry. Keep a clean conscience is one of the lessons of the travels in the book of Acts.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.