5. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
9. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. – Acts 5:3, 9 KJV
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Chapter three of the book of Genesis, presented the case of a couple who decided to unite in their act of disobedience to God. The punishment for that unity is what the entire human race is going through today as that act brought spiritual death and great discomfort to man. Without being clear of what the thinking of Adam was in his response to God’s inquiry as to how he knew he was naked, it is obvious that he was not going to take responsibility and was probably blaming the Almighty God for the choice of the woman that He made for him -:Gen. 3:12. None of those attempts at defending the act of dis-obedience was successful as the Almighty God meted out appropriate penalties which none of them could appeal.
As if that was not enough to learn from regarding the need to avoid unholy alliances, Ananias and Sapphira in today’s scripture decided to travel along the same path. The disciples, after the death of Jesus Christ had formed a community of fellow believers in order to further strengthen individual faith and forge better inter-personal relationships. As it is usual with such communities, they had codes guiding their living together, one of which was the decision of each one to share whatever an individual has with other members of the community, to prevent lack by any member – Acts 4:34-37. Ananias and Sapphira were members of that community and they had benefitted from this act done by other members. Although it was not obligatory that they act in a similar manner as the other members of the community, in sharing what they possessed, they were morally expected to be truthful, honest and loyal to the community. In this, they failed, deciding instead to honour the marital accord between both of them. They sold their own land but decided to keep a portion of the proceeds, choosing to under-declare what they made from it – Acts 5:1-2.
Although they successfully deceived men, they could not do same with the Holy Spirit whom they did not reckon was part of the people that their act of deceit was targeting. Most people who are involved in unholy alliances naively think that only humans are included in the circle of people that are expected to be the victim of their negative smartness, but the truth is that God is always the third party in every agreement, written or unwritten, between human beings, especially within a Christian community. Successful deceit of men in this manner will never produce the same success with God. God cannot be deceived, and unfortunately for the deceitful person, God it is that metes out judgement on such matters. The scripture today is the judgement of God for such acts, which is also similar to that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They both died instantly. Peter, in his reaction revealed the spiritual angle of such acts by people, especially Christians.
1. He establish that it was the case of Satan occupying the heart of Ananias.
2. It was the decision to agree to a wrong act, in this instance, the act of betrayal, that led to the death of Sapphira.
This was the same pattern in the case of Adam and Eve, with Satan occupying Eve and Adam agreeing to a negative suggestion by his wife thus prioritising his marital relationship over his relationship with the Almighty God.
Irrespective of whom Satan uses as the route of providing ideas that are against the plan of God, each individual needs to always consider all suggestions with regards to the Word of God before agreeing to such suggestions, else the repercussion will always be death, may be initially spiritual but will eventually be physical death. Such acts will introduce pain and distress, and the Christian should always know that he/she will never be able to get away with it. The fact that it was done in secret also will not stop the Almighty God through his Holy Spirit from knowing and meting out the appropriate penalty which is death.
The Christian today needs to be conscious of the rampant existence of this great act of dishonesty and be extra careful not to be trapped in it as the repercussion can be very grave. Avoid all unholy alliances and no matter the nature of the relationship, the Christian should always let the conditions for the relationship with God supercede any other condition. In all things, it must be God first. Make this a rule and you will avoid living the life of a living dead. May God save us all from every unholy Alliance that we may have been involved in or is imminent before us in Jesus name. Amen.