Agrippa Knew What Many Still Deny

The apostle Paul had a most unique opportunity to teach the gospel of Christ to a king, and he did not shun to declare it.  On that occasion, the governor Festus also heard Paul but accused him of being out of his mind.  Now hear Paul’s question to King Agrippa and the king’s answer:  “‘King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.’ Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian’” (Acts 26:27-28).  The king knew several things that many religious people continue to deny today.


King Agrippa said that “you, that is, Paul, almost persuaded him to become a Christian.  He is referring, of course, to Paul’s teaching the gospel to him.  According to some religious people today, salvation will come about through a direct operation of the Holy Spirit.  One of the tenets of Calvinism is “irresistible grace” – a direction operation of the Holy Spirit.  But the Bible teaches that belief comes through the hearing of the gospel.  Consider the Corinthians:  “And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).  Agrippa knew what many today deny.


Paul said he knew that the king believed.  And King Agrippa said that Paul “almost” persuaded him to become a Christian.  According to those who teach salvation by faith only, the king would be saved already, not almost, since he believed.  But he wasn’t saved yet; Paul knew it, and Agrippa confessed it.  Yet many today deny what Agrippa rightly understood.

“Persuade me”

Paul’s teaching was meant to affect Agrippa’s heart, including his intellect, will, conscience, and emotions. Paul was trying to “persuade” him, and Agrippa knew it.  Agrippa did not say Paul was trying to stir his emotions into a frenzy to rashly head to the mourner’s bench; rather, Paul was reasoning with his intellect, his thinking, that he might believe and respond.  When religious people today try to stir emotions without understanding of the truth, they are not following the example of the teaching of the apostles.

“To become”

Agrippa recognized that Paul was trying to persuade him through the gospel “to become” something, not simply to “get religion” or “join a church.”  The gospel is intended to persuade men to become a new man in Christ by responding in belief, repentance, confession of Jesus as the Christ, and baptism.  It is then, and only then, that one becomes a new creature. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“A Christian”

Agrippa recognized what disciples of Christ were called – Christians, and that “a Christian” is what Paul was trying to get him to become.  Even today, people will wear other religious names, all the while saying they are a Christian.  Names are important!  In apostolic days, disciples of Christ were simply called Christians, and Agrippa knew it.

Paul’s preaching of the gospel to King Agrippa is just another example in Acts of the teaching of the plan of salvation.  No man could be saved apart from hearing the gospel preached, believing it, being persuaded and convicted of the truth to the point of repenting, confessing Christ, and being baptized for the remission of his sins.  There was never an update to that plan, and the plan is final (Jude 3).  Sadly, many continue to deny what the king confessed in his answer to Paul.

                        -Larry Jones

(adapted from a sermon by Bobby Thompson)