Bible Study Acts Salvation Doctrine Acts Bible Bible Bible Acts Acts ActsActs Acts
The Bible study text is from Acts 8:1-25. This is the third section dealing with this passage of scripture. We left off last time talking about a ‘conversion’ that was false. Simon the sorcerer wanted to get the goods but not the Savior. He wanted to increase his money-making skills and saw a chance to increase his personal following by manipulating God.
We know from scripture that Simon was renowned in his town. We know from historical writings that he was a Gnostic shaman. We also know from the way Peter treated him that Simon was not a true convert. Notice Peter did not rebuke him saying,”You are a Christian now, you should behave as someone who is redeemed by the blood of Christ.” Peter instead told him to repent of his wickedness and pray that God would forgive him. Peter also told Simon he was engulfed in bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity. These are hardly descriptors of someone who is redeemed but off the track.
The point is this. God is not mocked, fooled, or manipulated. As a matter of fact, it is God who saves by His divine will. God sovereignly chooses and refuses. I use the Old and New Testaments as my source for this information. God sovereignly chose some while rejecting others. Can I explain this to you fully? No, and neither can anyone else. God alone knows the depths of Himself.
We do know what the Bible teaches however. Do a search in your concordance for ‘election’, ‘selection’, ‘predetermination’, ‘called’, and ‘chosen’. You will find a world of information from scripture showing God’s sovereignty.
Peter had great insight from God. He walked with the Lord and was given responsibility for fathering the first Christian people group (Church). We do not have such insight but we study God’s word. Jesus talked much about fruit and fit. If a tree does not produce fruit or the right type of fruit (fit), something is wrong. What is the right type of fruit? Consistency more than inconsistency with the law of God and the life of Christ. Being conformed to the image of Christ is a sure sign of a transformed life.
What should we learn from the example of Simon? Christ transforms lives. We do not seek Christ, He seeks us. He saves us by His grace through faith. The preaching of God’s word produces conviction and repentence in the lives of those who are saved. It is not a money-making sceme to get involved in.
Simon, much like the rich young ruler, did not want the real deal or the total package. It seems as though they preferred a man-designed system that could be manipulated and used for gain. Christ represents the end of self and enslavement to Christ. The way of Christ is narrow and only one gate (Jesus) leads to the way. This is the exclusive way to Heaven.