Lying to the Holy Spirit

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. 2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. 6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

9 Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things. — Acts 5:1-11.

Ananias and Sapphira declare that they have given all the proceeds from the sale of their property to the Lord when in fact they keep some back. Their sin against God is not their failure to give all, but their deceit in pretending to give all when they held some of it back for themselves.

Peter tells Ananias that Satan is behind their actions, and they have lied to the Holy Spirit. He points out that it was up to them how they dealt with the proceeds of the property sale, but they should not have pretended to have given all when they kept some of it for themselves.

Ananias dies immediately. The disciples take him out for burial. Sapphira arrives after three hours and lies to the apostles about the exactness of the amount of money received from the sale of their property. She dies and is taken out for burial.

As the account of the deaths spread among the people, great fear seizes the church and all who hear.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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