“And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Acts 24:25
Antonius Felix was the Roman appointed governor of Judea and Samaria when the Apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem for preaching the Gospel. A mob wanted to kill Paul before he could be tried, and a Roman guard of 200 soldiers rescued him and shipped him out to Caesaria to be tried before the governor. Acts 23.
Felix was simply not a nice fellow. As an example, His wife Drusilla had been married to another man until Felix enticed her away and took her for his own. His term was marked by discord, strife and trouble. In fact, soon after he interacted with Paul, Felix was summoned to Rome to account for his governorship and narrowly escaped with his life.
In our text in Acts 24 we see Paul and Felix interact on a couple of occasions. The first occasion was Felix, Paul and some of the ruling Jews from Jerusalem, such as Ananias the High Priest. Felix must have had some interest in what Paul had to say, because he summoned him later to speak to him and Drusilla. That account is in Acts 24:24-27.
Was Felix called by God? Sure, he was; he was called in exactly the same way all non-believers who hear the Gospel message are called. He wasn’t called for some special mission; he was called for salvation. Just like all who hear the Gospel are called.
Did the message prick Felix? It seems so because we see that, “Felix trembled.” v25, and then sent Paul away. He sent Paul away and said he would call for him later, at a more convenient time. It seems evident that Felix got it; in other words, he became convicted. Yet, he sent Paul away.
It appears Felix and Paul talked later, too. “He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.” Acts 24: 26. Now, it seems that Felix never felt what he felt during that first talk; in fact, he seemed to be just attempting to coerce some bribe money from poor Paul.
There is no reason at all to think things ever changed for Felix. The Bible never even hints at such. Felix heard the Gospel, rejected it and went on with his life. Felix was like so many. He loved his debauched lifestyle and certainly recognized surrendering to Jesus would mean that had to change. He seemed to be quite concerned about the approval of the Jews and possible loss of status; that makes him like many of us today.
Felix heard and may have understood with his brain that he was hearing the truth. Yet how own pride and desire to be in charge of himself apparently led him to reject what he seemingly knew was true. So sad, and so typical.