after an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. and peter said to her, “tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” and she said, “yes, for so much.” but peter said to her, “how is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. when the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. [acts 5:7-10]
may we know and believe that it is against God’s will to “test the Spirit of the Lord.”
what does this mean? in this specific context, this couple had lied to the leaders of the church. they conspired to sin and keep on sinning. that is, they pretended to have brought the full price for a field they sold to the apostles. and even worse, they were pretended to be something, extravagant self-less givers, they were not. in essence, they were testing whether the Spirit would reveal their sin – while they kept on sinning.
what does this mean for you and i – to “test the Spirit?”
in a greater context, it means to go against God’s will (to sin) and to keep going against God’s will (to keep on sinning) – all the while hiding your sin in the midst of God’s people. this God says, cannot be. for this sin, infects and affects many in the body. specific to the early church, God was protecting his new and fragile bride. specific to the church now, God’s love has not lessened and he still longs to protect his bride.
while his holiness is great – his grace is great as well!
our hypocrisy is great. to quote doc holiday from the movie “tombstone” – our “hypocrisy knows no bounds.” our ability to believe one thing and say and or do another is limitless. to quote paul in the letter to the romans,
“for i do not understand my own actions. for i do not do what i want, but i do the very thing i hate.” [romans 7:15]
we cannot seem to stop doing the things we even know to stop doing. oh, we desperately need help!
wretched man that i am! who will deliver me from this body of death? thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! [romans 7:24-25]
our sin is great – but Jesus and the grace he provides to forgive and to battle against our sin is greater! hear the words of the LORD today. may they breathe life into your soul, nourish your hungry soul, and free it from the lies the enemies whispers and yells.
listen to the LORD. listen to his voice. ask him to help you believe. ask him to help you believe his grace is greater. and, ask him to help you believe the Spirit is the ongoing dispenser of that grace within you forever. listen and believe!
there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. [romans 8:1]
for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. for to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. [romans 8:5-6]
you, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. but if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. [romans 8:9-10]
for all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. for you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” [romans 8:14-15]
~ john ryan