“But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!’” – Acts 8:20–21
Scripture reading: Acts 8:9-25
Simon was amazed by the power which the Holy Spirit worked through Peter. Simon figured that everything was for sale for the right price, so he asked to buy the power and the gift of the Holy Spirit. But God gave Peter discernment to see right through what Simon asks. Peter told Simon that his heart is not right before God.
This is a difficult story. The man said he believes and he was baptized, but his heart is not right. Simon received the sign of the sacrament, but not the truth of it. We see his sinful heart exposed; he wants power and will not submit himself to the Lord.
This must remind us of our need to humble ourselves before the Lord. Simon made himself his own god and in doing so became his own worst enemy. When we want to have God’s blessing, but live for our own glory, we end up with nothing. Peter sharply calls Simon to repent and pray for forgiveness. Even though Simon acknowledges the power of Christ, he would not let it change his life.
The grace of God is a gift given freely. It can neither be bought nor bribed. Receive it, and let it change your heart and life so you are not only forgiven, but are made into a faithful servant of Jesus Christ our King.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank the Lord for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask that the Holy Spirit be given to you, that you may grow in humble service to God’s glory.
Rev. Simon Lievaart is a pastor for Bethel United Reformed Church of Smithers BC. He and his wife Jodi have four children. The painting is “Peter’s conflict with Simon Magus” by Avanzino Nucci, 1620. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.