Saturday, March 10, 2012

Acts 8:22-25

Summary retelling of Acts 8: 22-25:

After rebuking Simon, Peter reminds Simon to repent and pray for forgiveness.  Thus, Peter’s condemnation is not eternal (as in, taking the place of God) but rather as a cautionary warning against God’s potential judgment.  Peter is afraid for Simon because he is seemingly in the bondage of doing injustice rather than figuring out how to live justly.  Simon responds by asking Peter to pray for him.  After settling the issue, Peter and John return to Jerusalem.

Thoughts for Today:
First Thought:
The rebuke has gone out, and it is quickly followed by a call to repentance.  It is not too late for Simon.  It is not too late for any of us as long as we still draw breath.  Any of us can turn and repent and ask God to forgive our ways at any point regardless of whatever we’ve done.  God will genuinely forgive the truly repentant sinner.

How do you repent and ask for forgiveness?  How often do you do it?

Second Thought:
Peter fears for Simon because of Simon’s focus.  At first, Simon seems to be focused on an interest in God and Jesus Christ.  Yet, it becomes clear that Simon is actually focused on something besides Jesus Christ – that is, his financial status.  This is a problem that all of us face in one form or another.  Our task is not to figure out our life.  Our task is to take how we know God wants us to live and to do so accordingly.  God sets forth His agenda and His ways pretty clearly in His Word.  We are to focus on how to live justly according to His ways.

How much time do you spend following God’s ways?  How much time do you spend doing what you want/need to do and then figure out how to make your choices seem like they are in line with God’s ways?

Third Thought:
We are not told that Simon prays as Peter suggests.  Rather, Simon asks Peter to pray for him.  This troubles me.  It could be that Simon does take Peter’s words to heart, does legitimately pray for forgiveness, and asks Peter to pray in addition.  But I fear that it could actually represent another reality.  It could be that Simon doesn’t take Peter’s words seriously, trusts Peter to be able to do the job, and moves on with his life.  Simon may never get it even in the end.  He might never realize that God’s gift to him is free; all he has to do is receive it.  His response to ask Peter to pray for him might just be evidence that he doesn’t truly get that God wants to be in a relationship with each of us personally rather than through someone else.

How sad would it be if Simon never truly grasped what Peter was telling Simon about God’s grace?  How do you know that you have a personal relationship with God?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 8:26-28
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