When Simon saw how the Holy Spirit was released through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he approached them and offered them money, saying, “I want this power too. I’m willing to pay you for the anointing that you have, so that I also can lay my hands on everyone to receive the Holy Spirit.” Peter rebuked him and said, “Your money will go with you to destruction! How could you even think that you could purchase God’s supernatural gift with money? Acts 8:18-20 (TPT)
The Bible has been a contentious book for thousands of years. Even during the times of Jesus, He and the Scribes read the books of the Law and the Prophets and interpreted them differently. This has been the challenge with the Holy Writings from time past till now. This contention became greater with the division of the Bible into chapters and verses. Now anyone can quote anything and say he saw it in the Bible, disregarding all context and motivations behind the statement made.
One place you find this very much is in the much touted scriptural quotation that “Money answereth all things.” Now there are people (including Christians) who believe that there is no issue in life, physical and spiritual that cannot be answered by money. Some even believe that going to heaven can be answered by money, citing example like Cornelius, and saying that one can “give” his way into salvation and Heaven. There is nothing farther from the truth. The whole of the Bible, especially the New Testament writings, stresses the fact that there are certain things in life and in the sphere of the Spirit that money cannot answer to.
The statement “money answereth all things” was made by the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 10 vs. 19, and this is what he said, “Feasting makes you happy and wine cheers you up, but you can’t have either without money.” (GNT). Here, Solomon, speaking as a natural man was trying to regard the things which makes the heart of men glad and which makes them feel good. He talked about feasting that makes men glad, and wine that cheers their heart; and the answer to these is money. Once one has money, he can enjoy these powerful benefits. Now, even in these, Solomon was speaking as a man under the sun, because as we enter into the New Testament and encounter higher truths there, we come to know that there are things greater than money, and in fact its presence or absence from a man’s life does not necessarily give that man a definition unless he allows it. Peter boldly told the Crippled man at the beautiful gate that he did not have money, but has something else (something greater than money) to give him.
Now, in the course of Philip’s labours in Samaria, he had got men saved and baptized in water, but has not filled them with the Holy Spirit. I don’t think this is a correct pattern for New Testament ministry. Nothing stops you from introducing a new believer you made to the Holy Ghost. In fact, it will make him/her stronger in the faith, and drastically reduce the risk of backsliding.
Anyways, when Peter and John arrived at Samaria, after being sent out by the Church to see what was happening in Samaria, they discovered that Philip had not laid hands on them nor had they been filled with the Holy Spirit. So, they laid hands on them and the Spirit came upon them!
Simon the Sorcerer, though converted, still had an inner desire to return to his days of glory and honour among men. Since he has lost his magician trade, he felt he can now enter into new trade- this time with the Holy Spirit. But God cannot trust such ambitious men with His anointing. Then Simon took a drastic decision – a decision which would have possibly been accepted by many in the Church today as a sign of valuing the anointing. He offered Peter and John money in exchange for the anointing.
He belonged to the generation that thought that everything in life can be got by paying cash for it. They may call it sowing seed, claiming the blessing, coveting the anointing, etc., But the principle is the same. They expect to get a spiritual substance in exchange for money. But life doesn’t work that way! There are things in life that money cannot buy. We must realize that, and respect that.
Salvation is costly. So is the anointing of God upon a man’s life. Money cannot buy them. Peace and Joy cannot be bought by money. Divine and Supernatural Guidance cannot be bought by money. Discovering and fulfilling your Divine purpose in life cannot be bought by money. Even a blessed home cannot be bought by money. If this were not so, the poor would not have got these things, and the rich would have got them plentifully.
That is why some people are not grateful for the things they have. They count how much money they don’t have, but they don’t count how many things they have that money cannot buy.
Peter, being a man of the Spirit, reacted in Spiritual anger and said to him, “Your money perish with you.” This gives us a picture of what will happen on the last day to all who think that God’s blessings can be bought with money. On the last day, they will hear, “Your money perish with you.”
I bless God that Simon heard this word of condemnation early in his life and repented. I believe he was shown mercy.
AND SO? Have you ever stooped down to count the things that you have which money could not have bought? Have you been grateful to God for them? Also, the Spiritual realm has its own currencies with which access can be granted to the things of the Spirit. These currencies are available to all depsite out educational or social qualifications. I pray we will leverage on them to get all of God’s Spiritual blessings and be able to fulfill our God-given destiny.