Devotional Series from Acts: No Bribery

Renminbi, the official currency of China
Renminbi, the official currency of China
By CCD contributor:Zhang MuenJuly 23rd, 2020

At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him. When two years had passed, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, but because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews, he left Paul in prison. (Acts 24:27)

The commander of security in Rome marshaled his forces to escort Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea, where Felix was governor. But the high priest went to Felix with some of the elders and a lawyer, and they still brought their charges against Paul before the governor. Although they tried to put Paul to death, he easily refuted each charge they brought against him. From the trial and Paul’s defense, Felix knew that Paul was innocent. He neither killed him in accordance with the Jews’ demand nor released him. Knowing Paul was innocent, Felix deliberately delayed his case for two years, first to avoid offending the Jews, finally in the hope that Paul would offer him a bribe. So he sent for Paul frequently and talked with him, because he wanted Paul to offer him a bribe, and then he would release him. But Paul completely ignored the temptation, unwilling to be released through dishonest bribery.

For this reason, Paul, who had committed no wrong, was imprisoned by Felix for years until he left office. Because Felix wanted to grant a favor to the Jews he left Paul in prison until he was succeeded by Porcius Festus.

Paul didn’t have the money to bribe Felix because he permitted his friends to take care of his needs. Moreover, he was highly respected and loved by brothers and sisters in the churches and they were willing to support his needs. Although Paul had the money to bribe Felix, he was unwilling to get his release through bribery.

First of all, it is clearly stated in the Bible, “Don’t accept a bribe”. (Pre. Ex 34:8). So he would be violating God’s teachings and sinning against God if he bribed Felix. Secondly, the Roman government at that time strictly prohibited bribes, which violated the laws of the government at that time. Finally, the one who was released through bribery indirectly admitted that he was a sinner. Paul was not guilty, so he didn’t want to confess sin or sin against God in any way.

In this depraved generation, bribery is commonplace. And no matter how much the law forbids it, people still use their power to benefit themselves. So in many cases, others will not help you or make things difficult for you if you don’t offer a bribe. Under such circumstances, the vast majority of people have no choice but to do as they like. Then gradually, it creates a vicious circle in which bribery becomes the way that society works.

Christians are the people in the kingdom of heaven. In the process of contacting with the world, they will encounter those who give bribes.  Some Christians are offered bribed by others. Especially those who are in some special department; they are likely to meet people who offer them a bribe.

Many Christians continue to refuse bribes because they know it is a sin against God. So whether someone gives them a bribe or asks for a bribe, he will stick to the teaching of the Bible and refuse it, even if there is a price to pay. For they know it is better to go against the wishes of men than against God, and it is better for them to be wounded than to dishonor God.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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