Scripture: (The following is in the middle of the Ananias and Sapphira episode)
“Why have you contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” (Acts 5:4b)
Observation: Between the beginning of Acts 5 and the mid-point of Acts 5, the thinking can be confusing and cause a head to tilt to the side and say “I don’t get that? What is Jesus trying to say to me here?”
Analysis: I wonder if this section of Scripture isn’t so much about the power of signs and wonders as it is about hearts and attitudes.
Acts is hard to break down anyway because it is the narrative about the life of the local church. Lots of stuff happening and Luke is doing his best (guided by the Holy Spirit) to accurately describe things (refer to Acts 1:1-3) just like he did in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:1-4)
Here I see Ananias and Sapphira being struck dead because they hid intent from their fellow congregants. The implication may be that they wanted the acclaim that they sacrificed much in the giving of the proceeds of their land sale but were stashing some funds away for themselves. Peter didn’t have an issue except for them wanting false applause? Maybe? Didn’t work out so well.
I think that Peter nails it with this: “You have not lied to man, but to God.”
Sin isn’t just a “something” that occurs as a performance against other people. For a Believer in Christ all sin committed is first and foremost an affront to God, a rebellious act to His rule and reign, something as a Believer I have aligned/committed myself to not do.
I am reminded afresh that when I sin (get angry, perturbed, nose out of joint about my wife or children) I am really complaining that God didn’t gift me appropriately.
When I talk in the car about other people’s driving, I am really complaining that God isn’t taking care of me properly and my feelings are “triggered.”
When I think that I have been slighted in recognition, God isn’t sticking up for me in the way I think He should.
The picture is clear: All sin is first and foremost sin against God. I sinned against Him first. My confession, therefore, is first and foremost to the Most High God; same with my repentance—secondarily to the one that my sin was committed to.
The Ananias and Sapphira episode would seem extreme if it happened today (Really? That’s an understatement). I don’t know how I feel or think about a possibility like that. How many times have I held something back in deference to not looking bad before people? More than I would like to think about, I am sure. Still, this fact remains: When I sin, I offend God first. “Against You and You alone have I sinned” says David (Ps 51).
Let any other rationale of sin come in second place to this.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for sharpening my mind in this. If I don’t realize the enormity of my transgression(s) before You, I belittle the Cross. Sin, in whatever capacity it occurs in me, is record of gross treason before You.
Your Grace is so strong. My rebellion…well, it is so weak compared to Your Grace but it cannot be overlooked or diminished by my boneheaded mind. I always need and beg for Your Mercy. AMEN.