Heresy or development? Is the New Testament church an unwarranted departure from Old Testament religion or the true continuation of it? The Jews called Christianity a heresy (v. 14), but Paul shows it to be a result of God’s unfolding of His revelation by speaking “in these last days by his Son” (Heb. 1:2) and that far from denying the Scriptures, he believed “all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” Later on, Felix heard Paul again “concerning the faith in Christ” (v. 24), perhaps because Drusila, his Jewish wife, wanted to hear more about this strange sect.
Paul spoke of righteousness and temperance—of God’s standards and of the restrained and right way of responding to our physical appetites and desires. He also spoke of judgment to come, when God will vindicate His own standards, by punishing forever all unforgiven violation of those standards in thought, word, and deed. All of this was calculated to show Felix his need of the Savior of sinners, Jesus Christ. He trembles, but did he change? He was concerned, but did he turn to the Lord? His conscience was troubled, but did he learn to hate sin and not just fear the consequences of it? He felt a sense of guilt, but did he seek the Savior of the guilty? No, he did not. His love of money was not changed as he still hoped for a bribe from Paul (v. 26). He kept the Jews quiet by keeping Paul under house-arrest. Then he passed on the “problem” to Festus, his successor in office. No doubt his sense of sin subsided, but his guilt before God only increased.
In the Bible, Pharaoh, King Saul, and Judas all said, “I have sinned,” but they did not turn from their sins to the Lord. David, like the prodigal son in the parable, also said, “I have sinned” and sought the Lord’s mercy. “I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Ps. 32:5). What about you? Are you convicted of your sin? Have you gone to the Lord with the one thing that is truly your own—your sin? Never mind “a more convenient season” (v. 25); it is time to seek the Lord. “Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart” (Ps. 95:7-8).