So, what did you think when you read what Peter said to Simon, the former magician?
“You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God…..for I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” (8:23)
Did that confrontation leave you feeling a little uncomfortable? I bet it did! I have commented on this idea before. I had to smile with the thought of someone taking Peter’s approach today. Ha! I don’t think it would happen! Not in today’s politically correct environment where Christians are afraid to state the obvious, in fear of looking judgmental.
Sadly, the consequence of our current trend is resulting in a boat load of people going to church (just like Simon), deceiving themselves, thinking they are saved, when in reality they are “in the bond of iniquity” (in other words, living an immoral life). We as Christians just bit our tongues, smile and maybe say, “Jesus loves you and so do I!” But is that really loving them? I think Peter was extremely loving to Simon! In confronting Simon, Peter was, “snatching him out of the fire” (Jude 1:23).
The beauty that resulted in Peter’s confrontation is Simon’s response. “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you said may come upon me.” (vs 24). That sounds, to me, like Simon was realizing his need to change, don’t you think? If Peter never called him out, he may not have ever realized his error.
Remember, Peter heard first hand from Jesus, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you…” (Matt. 18:15)
When reading this story, it doesn’t indicate who was around them when they had this confrontation. Simon could have come to Peter alone to exchange money for the “magic trick”. Or perhaps someone else brought Peter (the 2 of them) to Simon to address this person’s concern. Either way, it appears that they may have gained a brother by confronting him of his sin.
This reminds me of what Paul also wrote to the Galatians, “Brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him, in a spirit of gentleness.” (6:1)
Jesus, Peter and Paul all taught that we are not to ignore sin, but to confront it, in order to save a person. Boy, has Satan done a mighty work to muzzle us in this area! I’m just say’en…..