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Resisting Repentance

Acts 5:7-11
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, 'Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?' 'Yes,' she said, 'that is the price.' Peter said to her, 'How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.' At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events. (NIVUK)

Ananias had just died after lying to Peter about the gift he made to the church (Acts 5:1-6). Sapphira, the dead man's wife came in three hours later and Peter asked her what she knew about the money which had been given to help believers who were in need. She gave the answers which Ananias had told her to say. So she agreed that her husband had sold the land for exactly the same amount of money that was presented to Peter. She lied.

Peter's righteous anger fell on her as he asked how the couple dared to conspire together to lie to God. Peter could hear the young men who had just buried her husband returning from the cemetery, and prophesied that she would also die. She did. She also fell down and was carried out to join her dead husband. However, the end of the story could have been so different if she had told the truth, and had repented of conspiring with her husband and Satan to lie.

The growing number of Spirit-filled believers had never seen anything like this before (Acts 2:44-47). Perhaps they remembered that Jesus had commented on a fatal accident when a tower in Jerusalem fell and killed eighteen people. He said that they were no worse than other people but unless everybody repented, they would also perish (Luke 13:4-5). The death of Ananias and Sapphira was a potent reminder that repentance was not only essential to enter God's family (Acts 2:38) but would continue to be at the core of Christian discipleship (2 Corinthians 7:10).

God is good to His people (Romans 8:28). But when they sin they must repent (Romans 2:4). Resisting the opportunity to repent cannot bring blessing (Revelation 2:21). Confessing our sin is a normal part of the Christian’s life (1 John 1:9) and is embedded in what we know as the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:12). It is God's appointed gate through which every believer must go to be forgiven, and then be restored to fellowship with God and His people (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). Repentance is part of our daily discipleship, so do not resist God's command (Acts 17:30).

Father God. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who convicts me of my sin and for Your Word which commands me to repent. I am truly sorry that I have not treated my sin with the seriousness that You regard it, and for which my Saviour died. Please give me fresh daily grace to see how offensive my sin is to You; I repent of all that displeases You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams