We have almost come to the end of this chapter, and frankly, I think it is a rotten place to end a chapter. Nevertheless, you have to remember, that translators and scholars created all of the chapter and verse divisions to assist study and navigating the Bible. The reason I am pointing this out, is because the next chapter starts up right at this point. But after looking at everything that was going on this chapter, I started thinking about both Judgment and Grace. This chapter demonstrates both . . . oh you may not realize it, but they are there. I suppose I should ask you: Which do you desire, Judgment or Grace?
Sure, the answer seems simple, but, actually, it’s not quite that simple. There is a strange irony in our text, because twice the Greek word for grace (charis) is used, but not in the normal way you and I expect it (e.g., “For it is by grace you have been saved. . .” Ephesians 2:8), but here it is used in the sense of a favor granted—same word. The Jews asked Festus for a favor against Paul. Festus asked Paul if he wanted to go to Jerusalem and let his “brethren” judge the case. Paul refused it, and wanted Caesar to judge the matter. The irony is that Paul insists on the “judgment” of Caesar rather than receiving the “grace”—the judgment—of the Jews. So let me ask you . . . is it possible for human “grace” to be inferior to “judgment”? Well, certainly in this case, it was.
I’ll tell you what, it is certainly different from “divine grace” and “divine judgment”! Anyone who understands divine judgment would prefer it to human grace. When Felix called for Paul to talk to him, Paul spoke of “righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come,” and it terrified Felix (Me too). Divine judgment will come to every man according to his works, and our works will never justify us. They only condemn us. Divine grace satisfies divine judgment through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. He paid the penalty for our sins, in full. Now He offers the forgiveness of sins and the assurance of eternal life to anyone who trusts in Him. So I suggest that you choose divine grace! If you delay the choice, you will merit divine judgment.
Everyone has heard the late radio commentator Paul Harvey say his trademark broadcast segment called “The Rest of the Story.” He begins by telling one side of the story and ends with a segment that leaves the reader with a very different perspective or emotion and says, “Now you know the r-r-r-e-e-e-st of the story?” So, let’s look at this chapter in Acts the same way.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts