Lying to the Holy Spirit

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

A lot of people do things in secret thinking that they won’t be found out but forgetting that God sees and knows everything.  He brings things to light.  A classic example is Abraham who lied to the Pharaoh about Sarah.  He said that Sarah was his sister when in fact she was his wife.  God soon exposed the scheme by plaguing Pharaoh and his household.  God is a God of truth.  Deceit is of the devil.  This husband and wife conspired to keep some of the money they got for their property.  They thought they were fooling the apostles but in fact they were lying to the Holy Spirit.  They were robbing God. 

Their sin had grave consequences.  It cost them their lives.  What happened to them caused fear among all the believers and those who heard about it.  Paul encourages us, So put away all falsehood and “tell your neighbor the truth” because we belong to each other. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption”

There has to be unity in the body of Christ—His church.  Ananias and his wife were not united with the others or they would not cheated and lied to them.  We are instructed to, “Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace.”  They didn’t keep themselves united in the Holy Spirit. They brought unrest instead of peace because of their greed and dishonesty. 

We should learn from what happened to this husband and wife and take Paul’s advice, “you must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness-righteous, holy, and true”  Ananias’ and his wife’s actions demonstrate that they were not new people.  They were still holding on to their old sinful ways and that led them to lie to the Holy Spirit by withholding what rightfully belonged to God.  We have to be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit or cause problems for fellow believers. 

Acts 5:1-11; Ephesians 4:25, 30, 3, 24


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