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And so the story grows…

Where’s what I think.

Simon was fascinated by the apostles, had witnessed their doing of miraculous signs and healings, and knew what they did was real and what they said was true. He recognised spiritual power when he saw it. And he wanted some for himself.

His massive, and it can hardly be overstated just how misguided, sin, was to want the power to give the Holy Spirit in order to add it to his repertoire of party tricks and thereby glorify himself, amplify his own reputation, and given that he clearly saw everything in terms of money, he will also have considered that he himself could charge for the giving of it. He didn’t even want the Holy Spirit for himself, he wanted to buy the ability to give it so he could effectively sell it.

It’s so very very very very wrong.

The force of Peter’s reply must have been nothing less than brutal. Had not Peter himself witnessed the betrayal of Jesus, the bringer of the Holy Spirit, for a handful of filthy coins?

He told him straight that he was going to perish, he was a dead man. It was a given, a fact, Peter’s only contribution to that was that he hoped his money would perish with him. He told him categorically that he had no part or share in the ministry, and told him why. His heart was not right before God. Massively not right. And yet, even here as Simon receives the rebuke of a lifetime that must have put the literal fear of God into him, there is hope.

“Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”

Acts 8:22

It’s almost possible to feel sorry for Simon at this point. It was all going so well, and now he stands knowing he is condemned and knowing his heart is not right with God. He has seen the others receive the Holy Spirit, seen the reception of them by God, seen them receive God’s forgiveness and welcome in Spirit and Truth, and he has not and is excluded. And this is a man that knows the spiritual world is real. And now knows he is on the wrong side of God. And always was.

“Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”

It doesn’t say that Peter responded to this request for prayer.

Perhaps if he had, it would have eased Simon’s sense of dire danger and abject fear and disgrace. And that would have benefitted no one, Simon least of all.

What I hope happened is that Simon was left standing, alone. I hope he fully experienced the realisation of his own position as being lost. I hope he knew, with crushing certainty, that this was of his own making. Not just his crass request to buy the spiritual gift from Peter, but his entire life leading up to that point. How could he have been so wrong?

I hope he returned to his home, and looked around, at the paraphernalia of his magicians practice. I hope he saw it for what it was. The physical material of his dreadful spiritual state. I hope he at that moment physically destroyed all of it, scouring the house for every last vestige and trace, burning it, throwing it into the city dumps, ridding himself of it as the contaminants they were.

I hope he went back to his now much emptier home, and looked at his clothes, his cooking utensils, his everything, and loathed it.

I hope he took every penny he owned, and threw it into the street. Money too filthy to even give.

I hope he dressed himself in a sackcloth, and burned every last thing he owned. I hope he then walked away from that house and never looked back.

I hope he threw himself on the mercy of the Lord, and became a silent beggar, not even having the right to speak and ask for anything.

That is what repentance would look like.

And I hope the Lord would then see Simon, his heart emptied of the evil he had enjoyed, his position now void of the status and pride he had clothed himself in, his old power reduced to ash and dust and shameful memories and nothing more.

And then, at such a time as Simon looked to the Lord with his heart even with his face in the dust and prayed “God have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Then, I hope then, our true and totally wise and good God, our Lord Jesus, would see the time was right to give the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Freely.

And Simon would weep and weep and weep and weep and weep.

And his one prayer for the rest of his life and possibly forever would be Thank You.

Are all who are baptised in water given the Holy Spirit?

The water baptism is a baptism of repentance. Of turning around. Of turning away from the world and towards Jesus Christ.

I think the point is made.

Extract from All People Must Know by Bird Lovegod

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New Hope Christian Church

NHCC UK | Greenhill Parkway

Sheffield | S8  7JP

Phone  |  07459200418

Email  |  info@nhcc.uk

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