Updated July 26, 2017.
But there was a certain man called Simon who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to who all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.” And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done. ~ Acts 8: 9-13
Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” ~Acts 8:17-24
Based on verse 13 I think that Simon was a believer in Christ and, like many of us, was heaven bound. However, as a believer he still had sin in his heart just like many of us (scratch that – like all of us!). He tried to buy a gift of the Holy Spirit. We don’t know the intentions of Simon’s heart, but I think it is safe to assume he wanted the gift to glorify himself. Before Philip came and shared the gospel in Samaria, the people looked to Simon as “the great power of God.” Of course, he wasn’t. Simon was practicing sorcery and the people were deceived.
Thankfully, for all of them as well as Simon, the gospel was preached. They each believed and were baptized in the name of Jesus.
Despite believing though, Simon’s heart was not fully right in the sight of God (Acts 8:21). This portion of scripture reminds me that my heart – all of our hearts – is still not right with the Lord. Though he sees me as perfect because of the blood of Jesus Christ, He is still working me. He is still tinkering with my faith. He is still drawing me closer and closer to Him. Even though we may be professing believers, we will still have sin in our hearts. Fortunately, God did not leave Simon blind to his sin and Simon asked Peter to pray for him. God will not leave us blind to our sins either. Amen!
Lord, please reveal to me the sin that is in my heart. Show me where repentance is needed. Remove my pride so that it can no longer blind me to my own filth. When brothers and sisters gentle correct me as Philp corrected Simon, please help me to heed their words. I thank You for fellow believers who are willing to restore me with gentleness (Galatians 6:1). Help me to heed instruction so that I may walk Your path of life (Proverbs 10:17). Please continue to make me new. Please continue to make my heart right in Your sight. Thank you for the work you have done and will continue to do in my heart. In Your name. Amen.
I hope my thoughts help you understand how this scripture can be applied to our modern lives, but don’t just take my word for it. Dive into the Bible yourself, pray, and ask the Lord to reveal His truth to you.
Have a question or a thought? Please feel free to leave a comment.
Only by grace,