Read Acts 8:9-25
God’s Second Law Of Pardon
Of all the Samaritans that accepted the gospel, Simon may have been the most surprising. He was a very popular entertainer as a sorcerer, “claiming to be someone great” (Acts 8:9). And he was not the only one making that claim; the people—“from the least to the greatest”—also said, “This man is the great power of God” (Acts 8:10). The people of the city “heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time” (Acts 8:11).
Things changed for Simon when Philip arrived in Samaria. Philip was not a master of the sleight of hand; the miracles he performed in the name of Jesus were legitimate. The truth he preached was powerful. The people believed him and obeyed the gospel. Even Simon heeded Philip. “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done” (Acts 8:13).
Peter and John came to Samaria to see the good work that Philip had done. They laid hands on their new brothers and sisters, imparting upon them the ability to work miracles as well. That gave Simon an idea. “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hand the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 8:18-19).
Simon sinned, thinking that God’s power was for sale. He sinned, missing the acclaim he once enjoyed. He thought he could reclaim some of his former popularity. Peter rebuked him and said, “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:22-23).
Our God is a merciful and gracious God, and He wants us to obey Him and serve Him from the heart. Even when we sin, He gives us the opportunity to repent and return to Him.