Rather than make a decision to free Paul due to his innocence, Felix delays and keeps Paul in custody with some liberty (vv.22-23). Felix keeps on summoning Paul in the hope that a bribe would be paid for his release (v.26) and even brings along his Jewish wife Drusilla to hear about the righteousness and self-control and the coming judgement that Paul was preaching (vv.24-25). Breaking Roman law to keep Paul in this type of custody for more than two years (v.27) Felix show himself to be a selfish and politically-hungry governor who didn’t act on what he knew to be true (vv.22a).
When we began our journey through Acts we tried to establish if it was prescriptive or descriptive. What do we do with a passage like this, then? We are highly unlikely to find ourselves in the same situation that Paul was, so does that mean we can skip over passages like this?
I love what David Guzik wrote about this, and here is where we take something for our day to day lives:
“Felix refused to release Paul, though he knew that he was innocent. He did this for the same reason Pilate condemned Jesus while knowing His innocence. They both acted out of pure political advantage…In a way, people like Felix and Pilate are the guiltiest of those who reject Jesus Christ. They know what is right but refuse to do right purely out of the fear of man. They have an eternally fatal lack of courage.”
No, we are unlikely to find ourselves in the same situation Paul did here, but we may well find ourselves in a situation like Felix or Pontius Pilate.
Not making a decision to do what is right,
delaying a decision to deepen our faith or strengthen our walk with the Lord,
is actually deciding against Jesus.
Let us be careful, then, to avoid deciding by delaying.