Acts 8:19

Inside of Senate. Texas Capitol.

Friday, 24 June 2022

saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:19

Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse revealed Simon’s misunderstanding about the nature of what occurs when one comes to Christ. In seeing the apostles laying their hands on the believers, the believers then received the Holy Spirit. In seeing this, he then offered the apostles money, “saying, ‘Give me this power also.’”

Having never seen such a display of authority, Simon is certainly astonished at what has happened. Whatever visual or audible demonstrations of the Spirit occurred, Simon probably saw it as an opportunity to make a new direction in his livelihood. This is obviously due to an error in thinking, and it is not something that can be condoned in the church. And probably more than for any other reason, this is why the account is included in Acts.

In other words, the recording of the events now is less about the spiritual failing of Simon than it is about the holiness of God and the sanctity of what occurs when a believer is saved. Today, the Holy Spirit is given upon belief, not when an apostle lays his hands on another person. First, this is true because there are no longer any apostles of Jesus Christ. And, secondly, it is true because this is what is recorded in the epistles –

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14

The giving of the Spirit is solely of God without any intermediaries, and it occurs immediately upon belief. Acts merely notes what occurred in the establishment of the church. With this understood, Luke next records, “that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Simon is looking for the same authority as that of the apostles. As he assumes that it is an authority based on an earthly system of gaining some type of advantage, he offers them an earthly means of obtaining such things.

His thinking is in error and Peter will sharply correct him for this.

Life application: Assuming that Simon is not saved because he has misunderstood the doctrines of the Spirit is as inept in thinking as it is to assume that Peter (aka Simon Peter) is not saved because he failed in upholding the doctrine of freedom from the law in Christ. He completely mismanaged this as is recorded in Galatians 2, and he was just as upbraided by Paul as Simon will be by Peter now in Acts.

As noted above, Acts is recording events in order to teach us truths and to explain how the early church was established. How unfortunate that even today countless people claim they have the ability to transfer the Spirit to others! They make irrational claims about needing visual or audible proofs before a person can be said to possess the Spirit. Entire denominations make such erroneous claims, and seminaries demand that students speak in nonsensical “tongues” as a demonstration of the indwelling of the Spirit.

These things are comparable to Simon’s actions as are recorded right in Acts 8. There is no biblical authority for these things, and yet they are openly taught. Whether we are considering Simon from Acts, or the incorrect doctrines of charismatic churches, the same correction of thinking is necessary. As will be seen, Simon will ask that his thinking and heart be corrected. We should hope for the same from these aberrant teachings today.

Lord God, help us to have a right understanding of Your word, and help us to apply it rightly to our lives. May we be faithful in our attitude towards You when we know what is right and proper, putting away what is false. May we be vessels prepared to serve You rightly and in holiness. Amen.