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Monday, January 18, 2021

Simon the Samaritan Sorcerer

By Joe Slater

    Obeying the gospel doesn’t make you immune from temptation. The case of Simon the Samaritan Sorcerer clearly illustrates the life-long tug-of-war between sin and righteousness, pride and humility, faithfulness and disloyalty.
    All we know about Simon from Scripture comes from Acts 8:9-24. Before hearing the gospel from Philip, Simon practiced sorcery (literally “magic” – not cute tricks like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, but occult magic). Simon proudly claimed to be someone great, and the astonished people of Samaria proclaimed that he was “the great power of God” (8:10).
    When Simon saw Philip performing real miracles, he grasped the difference between true miracles and the fraudulent ones he had used to deceive people. Having heard Philip preaching the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, Simon humbled himself enough to believe and submit to baptism (immersion) (Acts 8:13).
    Satan wasn’t finished with Simon, though. When the apostles Peter and John came, Simon saw them laying their hands on the new Christians to impart supernatural gifts. He offered the apostles money if they would enable him to give miraculous gifts through the laying on of his own hands (8:18-19). His prideful craving to be seen as someone great had returned!
    Peter rebuked Simon, telling him to repent and pray for forgiveness (8:20-22). Note that he didn’t tell him to be immersed for the remission of sins again; nor did he tell him that he had never been saved in the first place. Simon humbled himself and pleaded with Peter to pray for him (8:24).
    We aren’t immune from temptation. When we yield to it, then we, like Simon, must repent and pray.
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com


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