Thursday, 17 February 2022
Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Acts 5:9
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
Peter had just questioned Sapphira as to whether the land was sold for the amount Peter had indicated. Her answer was a lie, saying it was. With that, it now says, “Then Peter said to her.” Peter has information that is as yet unknown by Sapphira concerning Ananias. He also knows that she has lied, just as he did. With that knowledge, he questions her directly, asking, “How is it that you have agreed together?”
Rather than “agreed together,” the verb is passive, being rightly translated, “How was it agreed by you?” The word Peter uses, sumphóneó, is the etymological root for our modern word “symphony.” It originally signified a harmony of voices, thus being in agreement. A cunning idea was brought forth, and it was agreed to by both “to test the Spirit of the Lord?”
In verse 5:3, Peter had told Ananias that Satan had filled his heart to lie to the Holy Spirit. Then in 5:4, he said that Ananias had lied to God. Now, the same action is described as testing the Spirit of the Lord. One can see how the concept of the Godhead is somewhat revealed by how Peter has made the three statements. His wording is not unlike that found in 2 Corinthians 3 where Paul refers to “Christ,” “the Spirit of the living God,” “God,” “the Spirit,” “the Lord,” “the Lord is the Spirit,” and “the Spirit of the Lord.”
Each member has His own role, but the role and the terminology are also seen to overlap as their workings are displayed in the stream of time. In Peter’s use of “the Spirit of the Lord” in this verse of Acts, he is certainly using the term synonymously with “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” as is seen, for example, in Philippians 1:19. And yet, Peter also used the term Holy Spirit as noted before in verse 5:3. As such, the act is one that has come before the Godhead and Peter understands the consequences of their actions by declaring, “Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door.”
Sapphira may have heard the words and not even really understood what was being said. The sentencing is so abrupt and direct that her mind may not have had time to process what he meant. But they were stated clearly enough to tell her that some sort of disaster had taken place in regard to Ananias, and that meant disaster was certainly coming upon her as well. And without a break in his words, Peter then conveys what that disaster would be, saying, “and they will carry you out.”
The span of time would have been very short between the two intervals, especially if a tomb was already set to receive Ananias’ body. Just as the feet of the young men who had put him in his grave had returned, the sentence upon Sapphira was being spoken and executed. She would be joining him in burial within moments.
Life application: If one slowly reads through the epistles and notes every use of the names and designations – God, Jesus, the Spirit, and so on – a round and rich tapestry of the workings of God is revealed. The amount of overlap in the terminology makes it utterly inexcusable that people deny the concept of a Godhead where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each a member.
This is unquestionable. As such, only a few options are available concerning the matter. One can say, “I simply don’t believe this is the word of God.” In this, the indication is that the person does not accept the Bible as a revelation of who God is. But if the person is honest, he will at least admit that the Bible does convey the notion that the God presented in it is triune in nature.
If a person says, “I believe the Bible is the word of God,” then there is a true disconnect in his thinking if he also says, “I do not believe in a Trinity.” The evidence is right there for anyone who is willing to simply open his eyes. Such a person is deluded and has not sought out the truth of the God who is revealed in those same Scriptures.
And, of course, there are those who accept the Bible as the true revelation of God, and they are willing to accept what it says at face value concerning how God has revealed Himself. “Yes, I accept that the Bible teaches the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. I may not understand this, and I may have some of the nuances wrong in my thinking, but this is what the Bible clearly teaches.”
If you are struggling with the concept of the Trinity, take the time to do your own study. The epistles and Revelation are not that long. In a short amount of time, you can have every instance of how God has revealed Himself written down. From there, you can consider them. If you are honest with what is there before you, you will agree that the Bible teaches a Triune Godhead.
Lord God, You greatly reward those who diligently seek You through Your word. This is certain. And so, help us to be wise and to spend our time wisely through reading it, studying it, contemplating it, and meditating upon it. What could be more important than knowing You and growing closer to You? Help us in this, O God. Amen.