Q. I am pleased to find your website. I have had a question for some time and haven’t found an answer yet. perhaps you can help. I was reading Acts 8 about Simon the Sorcerer becoming a believer & following Philip (v. 13). I believe in the grace of God as our only foundation for salvation; most of the time I understand how I have previously misinterpreted verses. But I do not understand verses 20-24 in the light of unconditional eternal salvation. Either Simon wasn’t a believer or salvation is dependent on confession of individual sins- as in simons case. Please shed light on this for me.
A. Acts 8:13 says that Simon believed and was baptized. But verse 15 says neither he nor any of the others received the Holy Spirit at that time (Verse 16). Even after the others received the Holy Spirit, there’s no indication that Simon did. He was more interested in receiving the power to convey the Spirit than in receiving Him into his heart. His actions and Peter’s discernment of his bitterness and captivity to sin (Acts 8:20-23) demonstrate that his belief was intellectual, not spiritual, and therefore not sufficient for salvation. Even his request that Peter pray for him was not out of a spirit of repentance, but an attempt to avoid the punishment Peter had pronounced.
In early Christian literature, Simon was described as an arch heretic who was the father of Gnostic teaching, a false doctrine that infected the early Church and persists to this day in the form of New Age teaching. The practice of purchasing church office was named Simony after him.