TRUE SAVING FAITH

Scripture Reading:  Acts 8:9-25

“But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip.  And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.” (Acts 8:12,13)

Simon the Sorcerer (Simon Magus) is also mentioned in ancient writings outside the Bible.  He may have been the Simon who founded the Gnostic sect of the Simonians.  He was highly revered by the Samaritans.

Simon was impressed by Philip’s preaching and power.  He saw the miracles that were being performed and he knew Philip had access to a source of power greater than his.  Simon “believed” and was baptized; but the nature of his faith is uncertain.

When Simon saw God’s miraculous power at work, he craved it for himself.  He offered to pay money to the apostles if they would give Simon their authority (vs. 18,19).  He wanted to turn something that was spiritual into something that was commercial for his own profit.  When Peter and John arrived, Peter confronted Simon with his sin and admonished him sternly:  “May your silver perish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money.  You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God” (vs. 20,21).  Peter then urged Simon to repent:  “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intentions of your heart may be forgiven you” (v. 22).

As stated earlier, the nature of Simon’s faith was questionable.  We are told that he “believed” and was baptized.  We have good reason to question whether Simon’s faith was true saving faith.  It could have been mere intellectual assent.  Remember what James said about this kind of faith:  “You believe that God is one.  You do well; the demons also believe and shudder” (James 2:19).  Simon’s faith could have been a self-serving faith. Simon wanted the ability to perform miracles so he could make money more than he wanted a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.

There are many today who fail to understand the true nature of faith.  Saving faith is trusting Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.  It involves true conviction that results in a changed life.

Lord Jesus, may my faith be authentic and life-changing.  Let me never believe to get the benefits without desiring an intimate relationship with You.

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