Through the Word in 2020 / Jan. 13
We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/
Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 5:33-48; Acts 8:1-25; Psalm 13, Genesis 31.
There is a species of belief, such as this, rooted apparently in amazement at seeing certain outward signs, which is nevertheless not a saving faith at all. It masquerades as faith, but it isn’t enduring, deep rooted and fruitful faith. It is a faith which steals some temporary life which is little more than the life of a parasite. It has no life of its own, but only that which it draws from its host. And such a faith must one day be exposed and show itself for what it truly is.
Simon the Magian in our Acts portion, it appears, was simply amazed by the Disciples the same way His former followers were amazed by him. And as amazement at Simon’s activities could save no one, so mere amazement at Philip’s signs could not save either. Just because we might see miraculous things and be amazed by them doesn’t mean we believe Jesus has died for our sins, and are trusting in His atoning work for being reconciled to God the Father. We must trust Him and His work on behalf of our souls, not just gawk at His power.
As the account goes on the demonstrate, Simon’s heart had not been affected at all. He was still motivated by greed, recognition, power and even bitterness – a lack of love for others, certainly not love for his enemies. But such things can’t be the characteristics of those born again by the Spirit. While vestiges of these sins remain, they no longer do so unchallenged, and no longer carry the place of prominence.
As James will tell us in his letter, even the demons acknowledge that God is real, and has power – and they even tremble at that reality. But mere acknowledgment of God’s power is not saving faith in either men or demons. If they do not love Him, serve Him or trust Him, it is not saving faith, it is parasitic faith. We need to be sure we are personally trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross on our behalf. For all those who do, are really and truly – His.