But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
It doesn’t seem on the surface like a sin worthy of immediate death. It seems small, in a way. But the root of it goes much deeper, and it shows how seriously God takes such things. Lying and deception are at the heart of Satan, and they go directly against a God of truth. They are at the heart of the evil workings in the world. And they have no place in the heart and life of a believer in Christ. Truth must be at the center of what we do, and this situation was a stark example for the early church.
We’re not really going to get away with these kinds of things, because God knows all. We don’t fool Him or deceive Him, and pride is at the root of that kind of attitude. It’s important to be honest with ourselves, with God, and with others because right relationships are built upon honesty and trust. Our relationship with God starts with trusting Jesus as Savior. It starts when we believe what He says is true. It comes when we’re willing to be honest enough to admit we are sinners who need someone to save us.
Dishonesty has no place in the work of God. A body with Christ at the head must revolve around truth. Being a follower of Christ means we ourselves should be trustworthy. And the attitudes and motives behind our actions should be pure and righteous. We might be fooled into thinking we can gain something for our deception, but the price we end up paying may be far too steep.
Ananias paid a great price for his sin. But what he did could have infected the church and set off a chain reaction that could have hurt others and damaged what was being built. In our own lives, there may be times we are tempted to lie, to give a false impression, to deceive others. But let us remember how harsh the consequences can be. May we remember who the father of lies is and instead seek to honor our God of truth by being honest and truthful ourselves.