The author is against all sin. I agree totally with Paul.
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Romans 6:15 ESV
What About Ananias and Sapphira?
Often when a person wants to argue that Christians are still under the Ten Commandments, they bring up the isolated situation of Ananias and Sapphira. If we are not under the law as Christians, why did God kill them? Great question.
I state that this is an isolated incident because it is the only one that could be used for this argument. While there are numerous examples that can be used to support the opposite.
Let me ask a few pertinent questions to start.
Why are Ananias and Sapphira the only (believers?) we see in the New Testament where this happened?
Why is it that God did not kill the other obvious sinners in the New Testament? What about the those involved in sexual sin in Corinthian church for example? What about the numerous sins we see in the other churches?
Why is it that in 1 Tim 3:1-13, in the instruction on how to choose believers to lead the church, to be Overseer’s and Deacons, we are instructed only to select a believer from our group of believers, who displays the following attributes?
1The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,b sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 1 Tim 3:1-3 ESV – Also see Titus 1:5-9 for Elder qualifications.
Doesn’t the above verse tell us that the church had believers who had these issues, displayed the opposite character a Leader required, and because of these issues they should not be chosen to lead? It is without argument that God does not want people to sin. Therefore he wants leaders who will be a better model of what all believers should seek to become. Note though that the early church was full of people who were still breaking the law and God did not kill them. If everyone were without sin, there would be no need to qualify a person who wanted to be a leader.
What about yourself, why hasn’t God killed you for the sins you have committed as a believer. What about the sins your pastor has committed, why is he still alive?
I could go on and on with examples of believers who were still rough, breaking the law, which have as their end an opposite result (grace, mercy, forgiveness, love) of what is seen in the one example of Ananias and Sapphira.
My Observations on Ananias and Sapphira
32Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 4:32-37 ESV
1But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it.6The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9But 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.” 10Immediately 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. 11And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. Acts 5: 1-11 ESV
1) Nowhere does it tell us that Ananias and Sapphira believed, were saved. In Acts 4:32 it tells us about those who believed. In Acts 5:1, it tells us a man and his wife sold a piece of property. Now to some in the church at the time, Ananias and Sapphira may have looked like believers just like they do today, they were even willing to give money to the church. But churches are filled with people who attend, help and give money but do not believe the gospel. Some even give great amounts of money to be recognized and applauded. Many by giving money think they can be made right with God. Maybe Ananias and Sapphira thought this too.
2) Ananias and Sapphira could have been trying to buy righteousness and a position in the church like Simon who tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:18-23.
But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Acts 8:20-21 ESV
Note that Peter states that Simons' heart is not right with God. When the Bible clearly teaches believers from Abraham unto us are declared righteous, right with God, by faith, not by the law.
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Gen 15:6
Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” Gal 3:11
3) In Acts 5:3, Peter tells us Anania's heart was filled by Satan to lie to the Holy Spirit. Could his lie have been that he believed but in reality he did not, and his actions were now proving where he stood? Another one who looked to everyone like he was a believer was Judas. He even deceived the other disciples. He too was filled with Satan. I do not believe that Satan can fill the heart of a believer, sealed by the Holy Spirit. Satan’s mission is to create doubt and foster unbelief like he did in the very beginning with Adam. Adams sin was unbelief. The Bible teaches of the wheat (believers) and the tares (unbelievers) that look alike. The Lord of the Harvest tells the reapers to wait until the mature wheat and tares are clearly revealed so that the tares can be removed without harming the wheat.
4) The Acts church was very young and fragile. God could have stopped Ananias because he was filled with Satan and God was protecting the new church. Satan will even masquerade as an angel of light to deceive.
5) God has the right to take life whenever he wants. He did so prior to the law given by Moses. On the contrary, he also protected Cain after he killed Able, stating that he would take the life of anyone who killed Cain. I am in no way stating that Ananias and Sapphira were right with God but it should be noted that God can take the life of the righteous to protect them from evil: The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Isa 57:1 NIV
It is never good to make a doctrine out isolated scripture. I have just examined a small portion of scripture that contradicts the claim that Ananias and Sapphira prove we are still under the Old Covenant of law given by Moses. There is tons of scripture that contradicts this claim.
We are saved by grace through faith so no man can boast. Yes we should do the right thing but we are no longer in a place where the law can condemn us.
A few more questions to think about
Sin is a transgression of the law. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4)
Why does Paul call the Corinthian church members Saints and not sinners when he confronts them about their sins?
Why is that we do not see believers addressed as sinners in the New Testament?
Why is it that we never see believers who fall short of the law not called hypocrites in the New Testament?
Why is the only example where it is inferred that a believer is a hypocrite is when Peter pulls back from the lawless Gentiles and acts like a Jew under the law when the legalistic Jews show up?
The entire book of Galatians deals with people who had believed the gospel and then had been deceived into thinking that they must keep the law also to be saved.
Why is it that the book of Galatians tells us the way to fall from grace is not by sinning? It tells us you fall from grace by going back to the law to be justified?
You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Gal 5:4 ESV
I have written in-depth Bible studies on this subject. The Bible is crystal clear we are no longer under the dominion of the law. Jesus paid for all of our sins on the cross. We are under grace, apart from the law, the only place where sin lies dead.
…For apart from the law, sin lies dead. Rom 7:8b
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. Rom 6:14 ESV
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