mandag 20. juni 2016

Not for sale

No doubt, some people will regard it as status to be able to minister the Holy Spirit to others. Simon, the sorcerer, was impressed by Philip and came to faith, but he was apparently even more excited when he saw how Peter and John ministered the Holy Spirit to people.

I feel a bit sorry for Simon. He had not been a believer for a long time. His background was that of a wizard. It is very likely that the wizards of his time held the same tradition as the magicians of today – they buy tricks from one another. Simon witnessed what he perceived as "amazing tricks." He wanted it, and was ready to pay for it. 

In the 90’s during the Toronto-blessing, it was interesting that I in a regional newspaper was accused of conducting the same kind of tricks as an illusionist. Neither had I learned it, nor had I bought it. What happened was and is solely an effect of the Holy Spirit, and it is impossible for me to duplicate it. 

Poor Simon did not understand that the transformation he was witnessing was an effect of the Holy Spirit and not of Peter and John, and he was reprimanded by Peter:

“May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Acts 8:20-23
Simon realized his serious situation and repented. 

During the four years we lived in Gvarv in Telemark (Norway), I quite often played the church organ in the local church. Nes Church (the picture) is from app 1150 AD and is vividly decorated with frescoes devoted to Simon the sorcerer. The paintings testify to a tradition that indicate that his repentance was genuine and that he as a follower of Christ had a strong ministry. 

Although the tradition is not verifiable, four years with regular visits to the church, made me feel as though I “knew” Simon, and I still sympathize with him. If the story of his conversion and ministry is true, I know that Simon definitely received it for free, or “gratis” as we say both in Norwegian and Russian. The stem comes from the Latin word “Gratia” – meaning grace. Everything with grace is gratis – its free!

‘Manna’ for today:

The Holy Spirit and his gifts are free!

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