“King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.” Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” (Acts 26:27-29)

This is a difficult passage. For a long time, a debate has been ongoing about Agrippa’s attitude when he made the statement, “Paul, you almost persuade me to be a Christian.” (1) Was the king near conversion? Or, (2) was he chastising Paul for a brazen attempt at evangelizing him? On Paul’s part, there was boldness in the original not evident in an English translation, a boldness the king may have considered shocking for a prisoner to make to a significant authority. However, we could say nothing that would end the argument—too little information is available.

Perhaps we could ask a fruitful question by each asking self the question, “Why am I a Christian?” Begin with the observation that the Christian in this situation was a prisoner. Eventually his appeal to Caesar resulted in a trial in Rome. Even later, his appearances in Rome resulted in his execution.

    Am I a Christian:
    1. To obtain advantages and blessings that would not otherwise be available to me?
    2. To escape consequences which scare me?
    3. To obligate God to protect me from bad things?
    4. To express faith in the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection?
    5. To declare faith in the restoration of the Creator God to His rightful position?

Consider some observations. (1) It is common in talking about salvation to discuss our benefits, but to rarely discuss God. We focus on matters like forgiveness, redemption, sanctification, justification, and propitiation as though salvation was primarily about us and not about the God who gave us Jesus Christ. (2) It is uncommon for us to focus on or discuss the enormous injustice the Creator endured when His creation honored the evil that odiously perverted the earthly creation of the Creator. (3) Perhaps the primary objective of our salvation is to promote the restoration of the Creator to His rightful place and the secondary benefit of our salvation is our forgiveness, redemption, sanctification, justification, and propitiation. Unselfishness focuses on God. Selfishness focuses on us.

“When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” (Corinthians 15:28)

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 17 August 2006

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