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Beware of Wrong Motives

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Just because someone is baptized does not necessarily mean he or she is a Christian.

But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God.” (Acts 8:20–21)

In the book of Acts we read about a man named Simon, who was a sorcerer, an occultist. He had a lot of people under his influence when the apostle Philip came along, preaching the gospel in Samaria. As people were coming to faith and miracles were being performed, Simon realized that he had to change his racket. So we read in Acts 8:13 that Simon himself believed and was baptized. He followed Philip everywhere and was astonished by the great signs and wonders he saw.

When the apostles heard what was happening in Samaria, they sent Peter and John there. And so Simon approached the apostles and offered them money because he saw God’s power working through them and wanted to buy it. But Peter told him, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin” (Acts 8:20–23).

Simon showed by his actions that he never was a believer. Yes, he was baptized. (And if you are a Christian, you ought to be baptized.) But just because someone is baptized doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is a Christian.

This shows us that people can be in a godly place, around godly people, and not have it affect them in the right way. As it has been said, the same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. The light of Jesus Christ, if it does not convert the listener, plunges him or her into deeper darkness.

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