"I have a hope in God (a hope that these men themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. This is the reason I do my best to always have a clear conscience toward God and toward people....While Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, I will send for you.” vs. 15-16,25
I am not a "hell and damnation" preacher. I don’t pretend to know anything concrete about the referent to that word “hell” so carelessly tossed around by some Christians. But I do know that it has a referent. And there is enough description surrounding it to indicate that whatever hell is, it is a big problem. I also know that I am not God, so how I may handle this problem is irrelevant. God handled it by sending his Son to be killed by and for the world. He only requires the gratitude due, which, if genuine, will produce a commitment to the truth and a commitment to the way. Only to the grateful will the resurrection of life be granted.
I cringe inside when some uses manipulation like, "If you get hit by a bus tonight, do you know where you will go?". Jesus, Paul, never used shamed to coerce people into belief. Yet Paul reminds us that when we die, none of us will just be dead as dirt. We all, both righteous and unrighteous, will be resurrected to a coming judgement. Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29). Paul knows that everything he does will be revealed to God. He understands that he is an eternal being. He also understands that all people he has contact with are eternal beings. So that all his actions and interactions with people have eternal consequences. This understanding dictated every decision he made in his life. While Paul was discussing this as the bases of his daily quest for righteousness, self-control, and a clear conscience before God, The Governor Felix became convicted, frightened, and sent Paul away.
How often thoughts of resurrection enter into and mold the the basis of my interaction with people? How often do I remind myself that all people I also contact everyday are eternal beings and that all my actions and interactions with people have eternal consequences? Not often enough unfortunately. If Paul was discussing resurrection, righteousness, self-control, and having a clear conscience before God with me, I would probably be uneasy, and send him away as well. Telling him we will talk again when the time is better. When the Holy Spirit starts the same revelation in my heart, I usually do not follow him, or use rationalization, or comparison of myself to others to justify myself, and then go in another direction. I am a person of the Creed. We are a church of the Creed. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. I need to let this sink in and affect the way I live today, not just after I die.
Our existence, ODC, All Christianity rests completely on the hope of the resurrection. Living in that hope today as resurrected people, and the future hope with those who are in Christ Jesus.
Take time in silence to ponder the resurrection of Christ.
Take time to ponder your resurrection in Christ.
As your knees get weak as you try to take in the enormity of it all, be thankful.
Be thankful to the Father who's unbelievable love conceived it.
Be thankful to the Son who's unbelievable love endured it.
Be thankful to the Holy Spirit who's unbelievable love empowered it.
Pray that you and that ODC full of thanksgiving, can be a visible and living testimony to the resurrection hope in Christ to the world.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will remind you and give you an eternal perspective with every person you encounter in your day.