Remember Stupid—It’s Not About The Money
Buying and selling church offices or using money to climb to higher ecclesiastical positions—that’s the meaning of “simony” today, and it’s been a nagging problem in the Christian church since the 3rd century. The Simon whose name became synonymous with this serious sin was not Simon Peter. It was Simon Magus, the Samaritan magician who had apparently turned away from his idolatrous use of sorcery for money and power when he heard Philip proclaim the Gospel, or had he?
“When Simon saw that through the laying on of hands by the Apostles, the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give to me this authority so that everyone I lay hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.’ Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you because you thought you could buy God’s gift with money. You have no part or share in this Word. Your heart is not right before God. Therefore, repent from this wickedness and pray to God for forgiveness. Perhaps He will forgive you for having this thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of poisonous bitterness and all bound up in unrighteousness.’ Simon responded, ‘Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said will happen to me.’
When Peter and John had testified and proclaimed the Word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the Gospel in many Samaritan villages.” - Acts 8:18-25
Whenever there is a true moving of the Holy Spirit, there are counterfeits, those who want to use the spiritual power for their own power and prestige. For Simon the ability to give the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands was only another sleight of hand. When he tried to use his money to purchase the trick, he found out that the materialism and pride that had poisoned his heart was threatening him with hell.
Whether Simon was a genuine believer and whether or not he repented, Luke leaves open. Simon disappears from the pages of sacred Scripture, although in the 2nd century church fathers, like Justin Martyr and Irenaeus claim he became the father of heresies involving continued claims to divinity and sexual license. One thing is clear from Luke’s account. We must beware. It’s never about the money when it comes to the true Holy Spirit.
LORD, protect your people today from “Simons” who fleece your children, promising spiritual and material rewards if they will only make an offering to them. Thank you that the true Apostles in the first century like Peter and John never equated money power with true spiritual power.
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