Richard Coke. Governor of Texas – 1874-1876. Nice beard.
Wednesday, 29 June 2022
Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” Acts 8:24
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 has completed his words of reproof towards Simon. In them, he said, “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you” (8:22). In response to the sum of Peter’s words, Luke now records, “Then Simon answered and said.”
His words are in response to everything Peter has said, but they are directed to both Peter and John. This is evidenced in the next words, “Pray to the Lord for me.” The Greek reads “Pray (plural) earnestly you (plural) on behalf of me to the Lord.”
Though Peter has been recorded as the speaker, Simon is addressing both Peter and John and is asking for earnest prayers to be made for him. He then specifically asks “that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”
It implies a full understanding of the consequences of his words and actions, and hopes for a reprieve from them. Unfortunately, in an effort to convince us that Simon could not be saved, Bible scholars will note various supposed defects in Simon’s thinking and build upon them to show that he was not a part of the body of believers. Such defects included (but are not limited to):
- He is unwilling to pray for himself, even though Peter told him to pray to God.
- He doesn’t ask for deliverance from being bound by iniquity, but for relief from the things that Peter had said would come upon him.
Both of these points are easily refutable. First, and has been noted several times, verse 8:13 clearly and unambiguously stated that Simon “believed.” Either the words of Jesus and the epistles (also found repeatedly in Acts) are true or they are not. The premise is, “Believe in the work of Jesus and you will be saved.” Simon is not an exception to this truth; he is clearly an integral part of it.
Secondly, the word huper is used, here translated as “for.” In this case, it signifies “on my behalf.” The same word is used in the same manner repeatedly, in this same context, meaning having someone praying for someone else. Examples of this are found in 2 Corinthians 9:14, Ephesians 6:18, 2 Timothy 2:1, 2, and James 5:16.
It is to be remembered that in believing the gospel that was preached by Phillip, the Holy Spirit did not come upon any in Samaria. There is a set purpose for this, and it is realized in the coming of Peter and John to validate what occurs. In the laying on of their hands, the Spirit then came upon the believers.
As this is the case, it is not only natural but wholly expected, that Simon would appeal to the same people, through whom this gift was imparted, to ask them to pray on his behalf.
Thirdly, his asking both Peter and John to pray shows an understanding of the power of the prayer of many. This is in accord with 2 Corinthians 1:11 where Paul plainly shows that the prayers of the many are considered right and appropriate.
Fourth, in asking for prayers from the penalty of his actions, it means that he understands and is acknowledging that his actions are wrong. Thus, it further implies that he is looking for freedom from the iniquity that binds him.
Fifth, Peter had encouraged Simon to pray to “God.” Simon, instead, asks Peter and John to pray to the “Lord,” clearly indicating Jesus. As such, he has directly confessed that he believes Jesus is 1) alive, 2) capable of answering prayer, and 3) God. Peter said to pray to God; Simon equates Jesus with God. Simon has met the qualification of believing the gospel message that he is already said to have “believed” in verse 8:13.
Jesus died for his sins, Jesus was buried, and Jesus rose again – all according to Scripture. The case against Simon’s salvation fails the sniff test. He believed the gospel, he accepted that Jesus is God, and he is – according to the words of Jesus and the apostles (as recorded in Acts and the epistles) – saved.
Life application: No two people on the planet now, nor any two people who have ever trusted in Christ, are on the same level of maturity. If one’s level of maturity in Christ defined salvation, then no person would ever be saved. This is because everyone in Christ can (and should) increase in the knowledge of the word, in applying that knowledge to his walk, and in turning around and being an example to others of his position in Christ.
If a person who is increasing in knowledge finds out he was wrong in a particular point of doctrine and corrects that, when was he saved? The fallacy of judging salvation based on poor doctrine is known as the fallacy of the beard. When a person doesn’t shave, when does his facial hair become a beard? After 2 seconds? After 1 day? After it is ¼ inch long? Who determines that? What is the set and fixed standard?
Salvation is based upon belief alone in the one and only gospel, nothing else. Be sure to determine if a person has believed and accepted that. However, it is acceptable to find out exactly what that person has believed. If a person has believed that Jesus was a created being that died for his sins, he is not saved. If a person has believed that Jesus may have fulfilled the law, but he is told (and believes) that the law is still binding on those who come to Him and that he must do stuff to be saved, then he is not saved. Etc.
In a proper presentation of the gospel, and in the receiving of that by a person, the person who believes is saved. From there, it is up to that person to grow in Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the simplicity of the gospel. Help us to share it accurately and often, so that those who hear may believe rightly and be saved. Amen.