The Bible text that has always struck me, is Paul’s discourse with Felix in Acts 24:24-27. After Paul “reasoned” with Felix of the impending judgment to come, why wasn’t Felix fully convicted in his mind of that fact? What was the deciding factor in him not “immediately” asking what he needed to do in order to be saved, as the Philippian jailor asked? (Acts 16:25-30).
It seems the key factor was that the prospect of Paul offering him a bribe (money), was more important to him at the moment, than the prospect of saving his eternal soul. The prospect of receiving money as a payoff, somehow “soothed” his conscience to the point that when Paul talked to him again and again of that same impending judgment (Acts 24:26), his conscience had become so hardened and seared (1 Timothy 4:2; cf. Ephesians 4:19), that there was no possibility of him ever obeying the truth.
Also, one would think that his wife, being a Jewess (Acts 24:24), and knowing the law, would have convinced her husband to be obedient to the truth the Paul was telling him. Perhaps her mindset, as Albert Barnes points out in his commentary on Acts (pg. 338), was such that “she depended on the rites and ceremonies of her religion as a sufficient expiation for her sins. She might have been resting on those false dependencies which go to free the conscience from a sense of guilt, and which thus beguiles and destroy the soul.”
In other words, she may have had a similar mindset as those in Christendom today who believe in the Calvinist teaching of “once saved, always saved.” That the more one sins, the more grace God provides (Romans 3:8; Romans 5:20; Romans 6:1). So, you’re covered with God’s grace, no matter what evil you perpetrate and carry out. Because of God’s grace, your ticket is “punched” with a guaranteed entrance into heaven.
I would welcome any other comments you brethren would like to bring forth regarding this text, and to why Felix could not (or would not) be persuaded to render immediate obedience to the gospel.
Thank you for your input!