Simon The Magician—Marks Of A False Conversion
SIMON THE MAGICIAN
There's nothing inherently wrong with prayers to accept Jesus as personal Savior, responding to an altar call, and other ceremonies that churches may observe today, but to equate it right away with being "saved" is not quite right. Imagine giving assurance to those who are not entitled to it when they're actually heading somewhere else. It's terrible!
Simon the magician was not a true believer; he was a false convert. Here are the reasons to think in this way.
1. WRONG MOTIVE TO BELIEVE. Simon thought highly of himself. He was filled with pride, and proud people don't come to Christ. One of the prerequisites of coming to Christ is humility and one's acknowledgement of his sin. Simon was doing his tricks and illusions, when Philip came along and did "genuine" signs and "upstaged" him. Imagine how Simon felt?! Angry? Jealous? What did he do? He followed them and when he had the chance, he made an offer to pay them money in exchange for the "miraculous gift". What did Peter tell him? May your money perish with you!" It's like saying "Go to hell with your money!" We don't tell that to a believer but to an unbeliever.
2. WRONG UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL. The apostles (Peter and John) showed up and laid hands on people and the Holy Spirit came on them. Simon saw this and thought he could obtain the gift of God by paying for it. He didn't know the Gospel! Here's how the gift works. When someone gives you a gift, they extend part of themselves to you, and their friendship. So when God offers the Gospel for free and people reject it, they reject God. That's why to offer to pay for it is most offensive. To buy God (the Holy Spirit) is heretical! The Gospel is free but it's not cheap. It needed Christ to die for us to be saved. You couldn't offer God anything for your salvation - not our abilities, money, not even our faith!
3. WRONG RESPONSE WHEN CONFRONTED WITH HIS SIN. If we examine closely, we find his response not genuine, even sarcastic. Extra-biblical accounts mention him as consistently opposing the disciples. A true convert will take their sin seriously, not be defensive, but rather turn from it.