As he spoke about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became afraid and replied, “Leave for now, but when I have an opportunity I’ll call for you.” (Acts 24:25)
If you were in prison for your faith and the governor called you in to ask you about Jesus, what would you lead with? The love of Jesus? The grace of Jesus? The power of Jesus?
Paul leads with the judgment of Jesus. He starts talking about “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.” Why? Because he knows he’s talking to a guy with no righteousness and no self-control. Historians say Felix was the worst ruler Israel ever had. He was cruel. Immature. Ruthless.
So as Paul stands before the man who will judge him, he boldly talks about the one true judge, Jesus, about how he demands righteousness and self-control, and about how we’re going to be held accountable at the coming judgment by him.
Paul is holding a lit match over a pool of gasoline, but God shows his sovereign grace. Felix is afraid but wants to hear more. He could have Paul executed for his insubordination, but he keeps bringing Paul back in to talk. He’s intrigued by Paul’s fearlessness and hopefulness.
Hope in Christ makes you bold in Christ.