Ananias, Sapphira and Simon the Sorcerer

Many times people who believe in Once Saved Always Saved will tell me that salvation if a gift and God will never take His gift back. They often go even further and state that not only will God never take back the gift He will not allow us to give it back. In their minds a person loses their free will at the moment of salvation. Well actually that is an over simplification, because if we did truly lose our free will then this discussion would be meaningless. See if a person loses their free will, they would no longer be capable of sinning. So let me restate that, they believe that the person loses their free will to accept or reject Jesus Christ but not their free will to choose to sin or not sin.

It is important that we understand what salvation is. I don't want to beleaguer the point, so I will just use a simple definition: salvation is our reconciliation to God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is a free gift from God by grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:9 NIV) That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. It is belief that Jesus is the Son of God.

Now that we have defined salvation, I want to look at a couple of people in the Bible. What about Ananias and Sapphira. If you remember them from Acts 5, they were the couple who sold a field and tried to say that they gave all the money to God, while in fact they held some back. We know from the story that they were part of the Acts church. We know that they sinned before God and that they died at Peter's feet.

Were they saved? We are not told that they were believers, but I think we can assume they were from Peter's reaction to their deceit. Peter did not preach the gospel to them, he condemned them for their sin. So if they were believers, then where are they now? Someone who believes in OSAS has to say in heaven, because if they were believers and nothing can ever reverse that then the instant they died they went to be with Jesus in heaven.

Now this brings up some interesting thoughts. Both Ananias and Sapphira died quiet quick deaths. Their deaths were miraculous, meaning that God struck them down where they stood. I have often heard OSAS believers state that a person can sin so badly that God will take them home to be with Him so that they won't be able to sin anymore. Does that make sense? It does not make sense to me. It would be like rewarding people for sinful behavior. Concerning their deaths we read: (Acts 5:11 NIV) Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

The fist martyr was Stephen and we do not read that great fear seized the believers over his stoning, yet we do read it about Ananias and Sapphira's deaths. If the church was not afraid to die as martyrs then why would they be afraid to be taken home to heaven early? I think the answer is that they were afraid of falling into judgment.

Simon the Sorcerer is another interesting story. With out definition of salvation in mind read this: (Acts 8:13 NIV) Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. He believed. I would say he was a believer. Now look at what happens a little later: (Acts 8:18-24 NIV) [18] When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money [19] and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

[20] Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! [21] You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. [22] Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. [23] For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

[24] Then Simon answered, "Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me."

Notice what Peter says: 'repent of this wickedness .... perhaps he (the Lord) will forgive you.' I thought OSAS teaches that all our sins 'past, present and future' are forgiven at the moment of salvation. If so then this passage is meaningless. Simon seems to have taken what Peter said pretty seriously.

You can try to say that Simon was never a true believer, but if that is true, then why did the Holy Spirit have Luke include the verse about him believing and being baptized? No, I think we can be sure that he was a true believer, but that he was pulled away by his own evil desires and greed.

Why do we teach people that once they have placed faith in Jesus Christ nothing else matters? That their sins are already forgiven and nothing they do, or believe or fail to believe from that point on matters? We are risking sending people to hell for eternity because we don't bother to read the Bible and accept what it says at face value.

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