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A CONVENIENT SEASON
Victor M. Eskew
Due to threats on his life while imprisoned in Jerusalem, Paul was transferred to Cesarea (Acts 23:33). While there, Paul appeared before many legal officials. One of them was a man named Felix. One of the encounters the apostle had with Felix is recorded in Acts 24:24-25. “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 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.”
Three things immediately stand out about this meeting. First, it was the desire of Felix to hear Paul “concerning the faith in Christ.” Second, Paul proclaimed unto Felix the message that he needed to hear. “He reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.” Third, the message had an impact upon the mind and emotions of the governor. The text says: “Felix trembled.” At that point, one would think that Felix would make a positive response to the gospel message. Felix, however, did not. He “answered go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”
Strong defines the word “convenient” as “proper time.” Thayer defines the word as “opportune or seasonable time.” Felix postponed his obedience to the gospel. He looked to the future as the opportune time. He desired a time that he thought would be more favorable.
We want to ask three questions about this incident. First, what was wrong with that present time? The gospel had been proclaimed. It had entered into the heart of the leader and done its work. Felix seemed to have completely understood the message. It was time for his response to the truth. Yet, he put it off. What was so inconvenient about that present time?
Dear readers, when a person hears the gospel, understands and believes it, the acceptable time to obey is immediately. “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). The key word of II Corinthians 6:2 is “now.” An opportunity of a lifetime has presented itself. Remission of sins and reconciliation to God is being offered. Now is the time to take advantage of that blessing. The Ethiopian eunuch understood this. We are told that Philip preached unto him Jesus (Acts 8:35). “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”(Acts 8:36). There was no waiting on the eunuch’s part. He desired his salvation as soon as possible. The minute he saw water, he desired to be baptized (Mark 16:16). Felix, however, did not want to obey immediately. He desired an opportune season. Still we wonder: “What was so inconvenient about that day?”
The second question that we want to ask is: “What constitutes a convenient season?” This is a million dollar question. If this question could be adequately answered, there would be conversions right and left within the world. Soul-winners would wait until the convenient season and would approach the lost again. At that time, the opportune moment would be upon the individual in need of salvation. He would immediately yield himself to the gospel of Christ.
Many individuals may have attempted to answer this question with such statements as: 1) When I get out of college, 2) When I get the children out of the house, or 3) When I retire. In the person’s mind, one of these answers really seems like the “convenient season.” The problem is that the time never comes. They finish school, rear their children, and entere into retirement, and never obey the gospel. This was true of Felix as well. We never read in the Bible of that convenient season coming to his life. That convenient season was just a thought that caused him to put off gospel obedience.
This leads to a third question: “Who is it that designed the concept of a convenient season?” The designer had to be none other than Satan himself. God wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Tim. 2:4). When a man learns the truth, therefore, God wants him to immediately obey it. He does not want that individual to continue in sin one minute longer. Satan, on the other hand, does not desire man’s salvation. He longs for man’s destruction. As a roaring lion, he walks about seeking whom he may devour (I Pet. 5:8). He has many devices he uses to keep men from submitting to God’s plan of salvation (II Cor. 2:11). One of these is the so-called “convenient season.” This technique gives him time to harden the heart of the sinner. The more distance he can put between the hearing of the message and obedience thereunto the better. With more distance, there is less probability of obedience. Sadly, many have used this device of the devil to their own detriment. Many have used it only to find that death came sooner than the convenient season (James 4:14).
Choosing to wait for a convenient season is solely in the hands of the one who has heard the truth. He consciously decides not to submit to the royal law of liberty. In so doing, he remains lost in his sins, having no hope in the world to come. Dear reader, is this you? Have you, like Felix, accepted the idea that a convenient season will come in your life to become a Christian? Please seriously consider the points that we have made in this article. First, now is the accepted time. Second, a convenient season never comes for most people. Third, putting off what you know you need to do to be saved is a device of Satan. Don’t put it off. Don’t wait. Do what you know you must do. Do it today! Do it this hour! Do it right now! “Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, to day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness” (Heb. 3:7-8).