Acts 8:21

An official room of Texas State Capitol (Meaning I have no idea which).

Sunday, 26 June 2022

You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Acts 8:21

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).

Peter just let Simon have it for offering money and asking to be given the power to impart the Holy Spirit to others. He continues that now, saying, “You have neither part nor portion in this matter.”

The word Peter uses, and which is translated as “portion,” is kléros. It signifies an assigned portion, coming from a word signifying “to cast lots.” When the lot is cast, the portion is assigned. Peter is not telling him he is not saved or that he has no portion in Jesus. He is saying that he has no part or portion in the imparting of the Holy Spirit, the matter now being considered.

This “portion” belonged to the office to which it has been assigned, meaning that of the apostles. This is obvious because Philip, not being an apostle, had preached the gospel and the people had believed, but the Holy Spirit had not come upon them until the apostles had come and placed their hands on the people. Further, this portion is not something that was required at all times, as has been seen earlier in Acts and as will be seen later in Acts.

The absence of the apostles is what necessitated their coming to Samaria. The impartation of the Spirit by them was a confirmation to the people that the Spirit had approved them and their office. In other instances, this is obvious. In this instance, because they were not there at the time of the evangelization, it was deemed necessary by God. With this validation, the office – and thus the words from them – are validated. There was no need for this from Simon, and in fact, it would be contrary to the purposes of God for him to receive such powers. Further, Peter exclaims, “for your heart is not right.”

The word Peter uses, euthus, means “straight.” It is being straight such as in “straight paths.” It is also used figuratively to mean “true” or “right.” Peter will use it in this sense in his second epistle where he speaks of “the right way” rather than the way of the ungodly. Simon’s heart was perverse and was focused on what is earthly. He needs schooling in order for his heart to be right “in the sight of God.”

Here is a word used for the second and last time, enanti. It comes from “in” and “in place of.” Thus, it means “before.” Its other use was in Luke 1:8 where Zecharias was said to be serving “before” God, meaning in his priestly duties while at the temple. This does not mean that Peter is saying he was not a true believer. Rather, it means that in the matter at hand, his heart was not right and would need correction.

Life application: The issue of salvation is not the same as learning and instruction in what is pleasing to God (personal sanctification). And the issue of personal sanctification is not the same as positional sanctification. A person is saved by belief in the gospel message –

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9

A person is sanctified positionally before God at that time –

“But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

The meaning of this positional sanctification is that because of being saved by Jesus, the person is now set apart as holy before God. This is more fully explained in Hebrews 10 where the believers had moved from the Old Covenant to the New –

“By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:10-14

Those who are saved are sanctified, or set apart as holy, unto God. It is a done deal. However, there is still the matter of people not being right before God in their attitudes, actions, and manner of life after being saved. This then is what is needed for personal sanctification. In other words, there is not a zapping of the person that is saved by Christ, suddenly converting him into an ultra-spiritual person that conducts himself flawlessly before the Lord. Rather, this is what discipleship is for. We are to grow in personal holiness all the days of our lives –

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:9

Unfortunately, too many people mix these categories and demand that a person must not “be saved” because he acts in a manner contrary to personal holiness. The fact is that not a person ever saved has been personally perfected before the Lord. Further, every person ever saved is on a different level of personal sanctification. We are not, nor can we be, the standard by which to judge the salvation of others based on such things. We cannot do it with Simon, and we cannot do it with anyone else.

It is true that the Bible gives guidelines on such matters though. When we see a person who is named a brother but who is engaging in improper conduct, we are to warn him even to a second time and then have nothing to do with him (Titus 3:11). If such people are in the church, they are to be put out of the church until their actions are corrected (1 Corinthians 5).

Let us keep our categories straight. In doing so, we will not make the mistake of deciding who is saved based on external actions. Rather, in treating them as noted in 1 Corinthians 5, it is under the assumption that they are, in fact, saved.

Glorious God, may we be willing to grow in holiness before You all our days. Help us in this. We are weak and temptations come easily. Give us both the desire to know Your word, and then to apply it to our walk before You. Thank You for Your word that can mold us into Your image as we await the day of our final glorification! And may that day be soon. Amen.