Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Let Me Buy Some of That
Simon was a prominent wizard in Samaria with numerous miraculous achievements to his credit. His power at this point was all from the dark side.
He watched the dramatic changes in people arising from the message and ministry of Philip the evangelist. Acts chapter 8 tells us that Simon also believed and was added to the numbers of the church.
But the "old man" still had throttle holds in Simon's life. He still lusted for notoriety and power. (So much for the simplistic suggestion that with salvation problems just evaporate.)
Soon Peter and John were in town inviting believers into the subsequent experience of the baptism in the Holy Ghost. Simon must have observed something very arresting, although the text does not specify that candidates for the blessing then spoke in other tongues.
He blurted out that he was desperate to receive this great power and prepared to pay money for it. Peter's rebuke was very harsh and comes close to suggesting that Simon had fallen out of grace, or was at least dangling at the precipice. Simon was apparently moved by the threat and pleaded for prayer and help. We know nothing more about him. His stumbling has come to be known as "simony".
What can we learn from this? That the falling of the Holy Ghost in power may be an event subsequent to salvation. That a new believer still faces battles with the old sins. Progressively, through faith exercise, they can be overcome. That love and pastoral care may use very harsh words when warranted. That a believer must fear his light because the enemy would like nothing better than to pull him again into darkness.
Spirituality is about simply trusting and obeying. It is not about money or study or social advantage.
I often wonder whether there is a parallel when Christians spend big bucks for teaching materials or conferences, hoping that they will get the full deal on some aspect of the faith. I constantly hear radio ministers speak in such terms and it is truly grievous.