Readers Question / Comment - Do you think Ananias and Sapphira went to heaven?

Hi,

Do you think that Ananias and Sapphira went to heaven or did that one lie condemn them to hell?

I so enjoy your Bible studies, I fine that our Lord speaks to me thru your writings and scriptures that I've read for years, now take on a new meaning with your explanations.
Thank you for your obedience to Jesus.

Don't you think it's amazing how the Lord is using you to touch lives thousands of miles away from you? People who you'll probably never meet, this side of heaven. Of course the technology involved is a whole other amazing subject.

May our Lord continue to fill you to over flowing with the Holy Spirit and strengthen you in every way so that you can remain on task.

Sis Johns

JPN Reply:

Hi!

Thanks for the email and the encouragement. Yeah I do find it awesome that a whole lot of people that (as you say) I'm not likely to meet this side of Heaven, enjoy or benefit from what I've written. Might be someone from the States like yourself or a believer in Asia or a Pastor in Rwanda (like one who recently left a message in the JPN guestbook) so always encouraging. It certainly is an interesting age were so many can be reached so easily now.

Ananias and Sapphira... yeah certainly an interesting story. It is a little hard because we know so little about them. For example we don't even know if they were definitely born again believers. But here is my take for what it is worth...

Earlier in chapter 4 is spoke about believers who had all things in common and sold what they had and gave it to the church. It says:

Acts 4:32-35 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. (33) And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. (34) For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales (35) and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

It then follows with the two examples (1 good and 1 not good) of people selling their property to give to the church. So from this I would assume that A&S were genuine believers who wanted to be seen giving everything (like Barnabas in Acts 4:36) but still wanted to keep some money... resulting in their lie.

So if we believe that they were genuine believers then does this lie commit them to hell? No. There is nothing in the story that indicates that they went to hell and this was not a sin that Jesus didn't pay for when He died. As believers they had already passed from death unto life (John 5:24). But coming at the very start of the church, with God incredibly active and the great need to start in purity, it was a sin that required swift and firm judgement - and the result was that which was needed with a holy fear coming upon the believers.

Connected to this story is the truth, though not often dwelt upon, that God can sometimes take a believers life in judgement. Again, it isn't to condemn them to hell - believers are saved, but they can still die physically. As an example, Paul talks about those in 1 Cor 11 that had 'fallen asleep' (ie believers that had died) because of bring judgement upon themselves at the Lord's Supper.

This, like A&S, are examples in scripture of a 'sin leading to death' as mentioned in 1 John 5:16. Have a read of Ray Stedman's notes on this at the bottom of this Q&A http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/questions/sinleadingtodeath.htm

 It will give more info on this. You will see some famous names including Moses that committed the sin unto death. Again, it is not saying that they weren't saved anymore. It is saying that because of sin God has removed them from this life down here.

Hope this helps,

Iain.

PS - I spent about 6 weeks in the US for the first time late last year. Had a wonderful time. Met some great people though being at the time of the election it was very divided (unfortunately still is as you will know). Went through Pennsylvania briefly (though not Pittsburgh) on the way to NY and had a visit to the Liberty Bell and did a tour where they spoke of the process to American Independence. All very exciting and interesting. : )