There are generally three different responses people will have when they hear the gospel message. The best response, of course, is when they realize their need for a Savior and immediately repent and turn to Jesus for salvation. Another common but tragic response is when they down-right refuse the truth of the gospel and decide to continue doing life as they’ve been doing it all along. They determine that they don’t need a Savior and ignore any prompting they may have had from God to repent. But perhaps the scariest response of all is when they feel the tug of the Holy Spirit telling them of their need for a Savior but rather than responding right away, they push the thought out of their head until another time. They decide to wait for a more “convenient” time. A time that if they wait too long will never come.
There is a story in the book of Acts about a Roman governor in Judea named Felix that heard the gospel message from the Apostle Paul. When the Jewish leaders brought Paul on trial before Felix, he had a chance to hear Paul tell him about faith in Jesus. (Acts 24:24). In fact, it appears that he had multiple occasions to hear Paul talk about the good news of the gospel. The Bible says that Paul told Felix all about righteousness, self-control and the judgement to come and that when he heard these things, Felix was afraid. But rather than responding to the gospel, he sent Paul away telling him that he would listen again at a more “convenient” time. (Acts 24:25-26)
As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” – Acts 24:25
I wonder what part made Felix afraid and why that fear didn’t drive him to repentance. When Paul told him about righteousness, he no doubt heard that no one is righteous. Not one person! (Romans 3:10) Did the fact that deep down he knew that to be true of himself make him afraid? When Paul talked about self-control, he probably heard about the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Was he afraid because he knew there were parts of his current life that would never line up with those attributes? When Paul told him about the coming judgement, he probably repeated the speech he had given to the people of Athens warning that God has commanded everyone to repent. Declaring that the day will come when Jesus will return to judge the world. (Acts 17:30-31) When Felix heard this, did his life flash before his eyes with a litany of deeds he was not proud of and the thought of being judged for them was what scared him?
We may never know what it was that made Felix afraid, but what we do know is that it didn’t cause him to repent and turn to Jesus. For whatever reason, he decided that he would wait until a more “convenient” time, which quite possibly never came. He must have decided that there were too many things about life as he knew it that were in the way of his salvation. He might have intended to figure it all out someday, but someday never came. It is likely that Felix never decided to repent and turn to Jesus. That he died in his sin and was suddenly faced with the eternal reality that he waited too long and missed his chance.
Don’t be like Felix! Don’t wait to give your life to Jesus. You never know when you will run out of time. Acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you can’t save yourself. Believe that Jesus died to take your penalty and then rose to give you victory. Confess that Jesus is Lord and make him Lord of your life. Do it now before it’s too late!