We know from secular history that immorality and wickedness were characteristics of the household of Felix—the Roman governor before whom Paul appeared in Acts 24. Felix himself would allow nothing to stand in the way of personal ambition, and did not hesitate to break his own word when it suited him. He was implicated in the murder of a former associate, and Scripture itself indicates that he was motivated by avarice (see v 26). Drusilla his wife, though a Jewess, was of a similar morality, and had abandoned her first husband in order to marry the governor.

   With this background in mind, it is striking to consider the manner with which the apostle Paul interacted with Felix and Drusilla. We read that Felix “sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ” and that Paul “reasoned concerning righteousness, and temperance, and the judgment about to come”.  Although Paul was the prisoner, and Felix held the reigns of the judiciary, it was the latter that was “filled with fear” (vs. 24, 25). Paul knew what Felix needed. The governor had to face up to the fact that his pagan excesses would be brought to account, and it was this fact that gave such consternation to the stony heart of the governor. Sadly we live in days when to speak to unbelievers in this way is actively discouraged in case (incredibly) it ‘puts people off’ the Gospel. This actually sounds very much like a “different gospel, which is not another [one]” (Gal. 1: 7). If persons are ever going to be truly saved (rather than merely Christianised) then they need to know that God holds them accountable for their sins, and that they need a saviour. As John says (speaking of Christ), “this is the message which we have heard from him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1: 5). Light exposes what we are as sinners in the sight of God, and this is what Paul did when he spoke to Felix of “a resurrection both of just and unjust” and of “righteousness, and temperance, and the judgment about to come” (Acts 24: 15, 25). The apostle understood that without conviction there could be no conversion, and that unless light did its work, then love would be ineffective in all its entreaties.