Living the Word Today seeks to provide brief devotional thoughts for daily living from a passage of Scripture. It is not meant to be academic exegesis, but a humble attempt to listen to God’s voice through His written Word.
Scripture Passage: Acts 24:24-27 based on the LCMS Daily Lectionary for July 30
Meditation: The Apostle Paul had an inconvenient faith, unlike Felix. Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea by Governor Felix, but who was really the imprisoned one? Paul “… spoke about faith in Christ” to Felix and Drusilla, his wife (24:24). Additionally, Paul “… discoursed on righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come” (24:25).
The imprisoned Paul brings God’s law and gospel to Felix and Drusilla. Felix believed Paul’s words, but not enough for saving faith in Jesus Christ. Scripture says, “Felix was afraid…” (24:25). On some level, he believed the words of Paul and had an emotional reaction to them, but he would not commit himself to faith in Christ.
Felix was imprisoned by this faith, but not rescued from the fear of judgment by it. God’s law placed him into a spiritual prison from which he could not escape. In contrast, Paul was physically in prison, but experienced the gospel, which gave him freedom from the fear of judgment.
Felix tells Paul, “You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you” (24:25). His fear meant that he must maintain the illusion of control to assure himself of who’s in charge. It helped him get a handle on his anxiety. His faith of convenience imprisons instead of frees him, but he will still send for Paul “frequently” because he hopes for a bribe (24:26).
What happens to his fear? Does it lessen as Paul frequently comes before him? Does Felix harden his heart more and more against the gospel? Does it grow easier to ignore his own reflection in the mirror of God’s law? Repeatedly hearing the truth without faith in Christ may serve to solidify a convenient faith.
Do we understand our need for righteousness? Do we live in fear of God’s judgment? God’s law serves to show us our sin and need for the gospel. Faith in Christ applies his righteousness to our lives and frees us from the fear of God’s judgment. A convenient faith cannot give us these, only a faith in Christ that receives his forgiveness and righteousness.
Meditate on God’s Word. Draw close to God each day. Listen to His Word for you.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version.