Satan is attacking the young church with the threat of corruption as Ananias lies about the price of his gift. Peter rebukes him and he immediately dies. “After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened”(Acts 5:7). There is a possibility that Ananias has done this without her knowledge or even against her will. “And Peter said to her, ‘Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.’ And she said, ‘Yes, for so much’”(Acts 5:8). Her response not only explains the nature of the lie, but also implicates her.
“But Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out’”(Acts 5:9). Her response shows Peter that this Christian couple has cooked up a scheme to deceive others. Sapphira deserves just as much of a rebuke as Ananias. Rather than being a voice of love and encouragement to do right, they have enabled each other to do wrong. Sapphira is also struck dead “and great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things”(Acts 5:11).
Strange as it may be, very often people try to enlist others in their sin. Perhaps people’s approval assuages our guilty consciences. Perhaps we hope that sinning together will strengthen a friendship or relational connection. This story reminds us that we are all guilty for our own choices—and therefore must learn to resist others’ invitations to join them in evil (Prov 1:10).
One thing to think about: Why am I sometimes susceptible to joining others in their sin?
One thing to pray for: Wisdom to see where evil leads
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