We read the story of Ananias and Sapphira and can be filled with fear.
But were they true believers?
The Bible tells us that Ananias and Sapphira’s hearts were filled with Satan. This shows that they did not have the Holy Spirit in their hearts.
Acts 5:3 “But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the price of the land?”
Ananias and Sapphira were most probably deceivers just like Judas – not true believers.
We know that Judas was with Jesus and the Apostles for 3.5 years. But Jesus said that Judas was not clean – he was not a believer but a deceiver. When Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, he said to them that all of them were clean (true believers) except Judas.
John 13 “ 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,…..10 Jesus said to him, “Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For he knew him who would betray him, therefore he said, “You are not all clean.”
The devil had entered the heart of Judas to betray Jesus Christ.
Luke 22 ” 3 Satan entered into Judas, who was also called Iscariot, who was counted with the twelve.”
How is it possible for the devil to infiltrate the Church? We see that Jesus prophesied that it would happen.
Matthew 13 “24 He set another parable before them, saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while people slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds also among the wheat, and went away. …30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First, gather up the darnel weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”……37 He answered them, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 the field is the world, the good seeds are the children of the Kingdom, and the darnel weeds are the children of the evil one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. “
The devil placed deceivers into the Church – like Judas and Ananias. But look who is being judged by God – it’s the unbeliever and not the true believer!
God separates the wheat from the chaff.
The unbeliever belonged to the devil but the believer belongs to the Holy Spirit.
The believers’ hearts were filled with the Holy Spirit and they shared all their belongings just a few verses before Ananias was judged. This shows that Ananias did not have the Holy Spirit and was not a true believer.
Acts 4 “31 When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. 32 The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul. Not one of them claimed that anything of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”
The true believer CANNOT be filled with the devil.
A believer cannot be possessed by Satan because we have a new heart that is regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The enemy cannot corrupt a believer’s heart.
1st John 5:18 “We know that whoever is born of God doesn’t sin, but he who was born of God keeps himself, and the evil one doesn’t touch him.”
1st John 2:13 “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father.”
Therefore Ananias and Sapphira were not believers but were unbelieving deceivers like Judas who received God’s judgment for their unrepentant wickedness.
A true believer will not be 100% sinless, but we will be sincere in his faith and love for others. The true believer will not live in wickedness and will not be trying to cheat other people. The true believer will not be living like a devil.
1st John 3 “7 Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. To this end the Son of God was revealed: that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever is born of God doesn’t commit sin, because his seed remains in him, and he can’t sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are revealed, and the children of the devil. Whoever doesn’t do righteousness is not of God, neither is he who doesn’t love his brother.”
The warnings in the Bible are for those who are wicked in the heart because they are not saved – they must repent and truly surrender to Christ in faith to be saved, otherwise, they will be judged.
The true believers may stumble but always return to Christ in faith/repentance.
Our Lord is loving and compassionate to those who are humble and believe in Him but nobody can mock Him by rebellious sin in the Church. We see how Jesus judged the rebellious sinner (deceiver) who was in the Church here:
Revelation 2 “20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate your woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her and those who commit adultery with her into a bed of great oppression, unless they repent of her works. 23 I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”
This happened to Ananias and Sapphira – they mocked God by sowing to the flesh and were destroyed. Paul said that people who trusted in the Law were sowing to the flesh and would not be saved. The believer sows to the Spirit by faith in Christ, to receive eternal life.
Galatians 6 “7 Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. “
But what does God say to the sincere believer?
Colossians 2 “13 You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses“
We are not under God’s wrath but in His GRACE.
The believer is saved by grace through faith without works. We are at peace with God.
We look forward to salvation by grace.
Romans 5 “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God…..9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life.”