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Sandy’s Devotional

Apr 25, 2019 • By Sandy Shoshani

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You may now speak on your own behalf.” So Paul stretched out his hand and began his defense. “I count myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am to defend myself before you today against all the charges made against me by the Jews, especially since you are an expert in all the Jewish customs and controversies. And therefore I beg you to listen patiently….. I have enjoyed God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here testifying to small and great alike, saying nothing different from what the prophets and Moses foretold, that the Messiah must suffer and that, as the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”. While Paul was so speaking in his defense, Festus said in a loud voice, “You are mad, Paul; much learning is driving you mad.” But Paul replied, “I am not mad, most excellent Festus; I am speaking words of truth and reason. The king knows about these matters and to him I speak boldly, for I cannot believe that [any] of this has escaped his notice; this was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you believe.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become Messianic (Christian, a believer).” (Acts 26:1-3, 22-28)

There are many ways that this last verse can be interpreted. Agrippa could be sarcastic or sincere. I tend to think that he was sincerely persuaded by Paul, yet ALMOST willing to make a decision of faith, almost willing to identify with the Messiah, almost willing to identify with the prisoner in chains, almost willing to repent.

“An almost Christian is one that has much light and knowledge, but no grace; he may know something of himself and of sin, of its being a violation of the law of God, and of the bad consequences of it, but has not truly repented from it; he may know much of Christ in a speculative way, concerning his person and offices, as the devils themselves do, and of the good things which come by him, as peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation; but has no application of these things to himself; he may have a large notional knowledge of the doctrines of the Gospel, but has no experience of the power, sweetness, and comfort of them in his own soul; all his knowledge is unsanctified, and without practice: he is one that has a taste of divine things, but has not the truth of them; he may taste of the heavenly gift, of the good word of God, and of the powers of the world to come; yet it is but a taste, a superficial one, which he has; he does not savour and relish these things, nor is he nourished by them.” (John Gill, Bible commentary)