Some years ago, I remember hearing a pastor talk about a time his church set up a booth at a county fair and were passing out gospel literature and inviting people to church as people passed by their booth. One young man stopped by and he and the pastor began to talk about spiritual things, enough so that the pastor invited him to come in behind the booth so they could both sit down and talk more. After a long discussion and after the pastor felt the young man had a solid understanding of the gospel, the pastor invited the man to trust Christ and be born again. The young man responded that he would come to church the next morning, walk the aisle at the end of the service and get saved. The pastor tried to reason with him but to no avail. Unfortunately, that night the man was on a winding country road on his motorcycle, lost control and ended up dying as a result of the accident. And the next day he was planning on getting saved!
Our text today talks about another man who put off the matter of salvation. In Acts 24 we read about the Apostle Paul witnessing to a governor named Felix. In verse 24 we read that Paul reasoned with Felix about “righteousness, temperance (self-control) and judgement to come.” So strong was Paul’s witness that we read that Felix trembled. Paul didn’t sugar coat things when he preached. He didn’t just tell Felix that he had a “God-shaped hole in his heart that only God could fill”. Instead, no doubt Paul zeroed in his witnessing so as to give plenty for the Holy Spirit to convict Felix about and, as a result, he apparently was broken after this encounter with Paul.
However, instead of Felix calling out like the Philippian jailor, “what must I do to be saved?” he responded, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” In other words, Felix was saying he would get saved some other day, just not today. Did that day ever come? Scripture doesn’t indicate it ever did and unfortunately in most cases it never does. So many people come under conviction for a time, put off salvation and then never have that same conviction ever again. While we certainly want to be careful not to “pick the fruit before it’s ripe” (meaning trying to push people into a salvation decision when they aren’t ready), we also want to be sure to encourage a broken sinner to trust Christ right then. We have no guarantee of tomorrow and we have no guarantee of the Holy Spirit’s conviction in the future. “Behold, today is the day of salvation!” (2 Cor. 6:2)