Today’s text (Acts 89-24) introduces us to a man commonly known as “Simon the Sorcerer”. Simon once was a prominent wizard in Samaria and amazed people with his magic to the point that he was called, “The great power of God”. And he himself “claimed to be someone great” (V:9-11). Yet, it appears that when Philip came to town and preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Simon believed and was baptized (V:12-13). At that point it seemed that Simon was “right with God”. But after Simon revealed his heart in trying to purchase the power of the Holy Spirit with Money, Peter spoke a word of discernment and called Simon out.
You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God… For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” Acts 8:21 & 23
Here we are all given the serious warning that it is possible to believe, be baptized and regularly go to church and yet have a heart that is not right with God. Simon was, “Poisoned by bitterness”. Bitterness here can mean bitter jealousy or even a heart heart of un-forgiveness. Bitterness can rule your heart and keep you “bound by iniquity”.
Is your heart right with God? Are you holding bitterness, jealousy or un-forgiveness in your heart? If so, the remedy is not far away. Listen to the stern exhortation of Peter to Simon – Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. Acts 8:22
Some theologians argue that Simon was never really saved. Others say that he was a true believer but trapped in sin. In either case the remedy is the same. Repentance (V:22) Peter did not attempt to “cast the demon of bitterness out” of Simon. Neither did Peter put his arm around Simon and say, “Oh my dear friend you need a few more Sunday school classes to learn more about God”. Peter went right to the heart of the matter. Simon needed to come to God in repentance, receive grace and forgiveness and then walk with God in truth. That was God’s solution for Simon. This is also God’s solution for each of us. (Mark 6:12; Acts 3:19; 26:20; 1John 1:9)