“For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.” (Acts 25:27 ESV)
When Festus considered the charges that had been brought against Paul by the religious authorities as far as he could discern it would appear to have been a dispute between two religious factions and nothing to do with the civil authority.
The question is whether or not any civil authority can exist without reference to a higher creed or philosophy and survive. History has shown, and continues to show, that if adherence is to a man-made belief – then it fast falls into corruption and capture by dictators and their ilk.
It is noticeable how the rise of such movements is matched by a corresponding decline in religious involvement and reference to a higher moral code.
What Festus and those around him did not realize at the time was that the Gospel would change every aspect of life and not remain a “religious issue”.
It is an interesting question as to what people mean as they plug for the separation of church and state. If the church is the guardian of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and living in obedience to the great Commission in the power of the Holy Spirit, can it do so without influence upon the secular area of life around it? Religious revivals have been accompanied by many changes in the everyday lives of believers, and others.
Similarly, can civil authorities survive and govern effectively, humanely, and morally without adherence to, and reminders of, the Scriptural tenets on such things?
6 After spending eight or ten days with them, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he convened the court and ordered that Paul be brought before him. 7 When Paul came in, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They brought many serious charges against him, but they could not prove them.
8 Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the Jewish law or against the temple or against Caesar.” (Acts 25:6-8 NIV)
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord. (Isaiah 31:1 NIV)
But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:7 ESV)
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16. ESV)
Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbour. (1 Corinthians 10:24 ESV)