Bible Society of South Africa

The Holy Spirit and lies – 19 May 2021

By Carina Francke

Bible text(s)

4Before you sold the property, it belonged to you; and after you sold it, the money was yours. Why, then, did you decide to do such a thing? You have not lied to human beings — you have lied to God!” 5As soon as Ananias heard this, he fell down dead; and all who heard about it were terrified. 6The young men came in, wrapped up his body, carried him out, and buried him.

7About three hours later his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in. 8Peter asked her, “Tell me, was this the full amount you and your husband received for your property?”

“Yes,” she answered, “the full amount.”

9So Peter said to her, “Why did you and your husband decide to put the Lord's Spirit to the test? The men who buried your husband are now at the door, and they will carry you out too!”

Acts 5:4-9GNBOpen in Bible reader

Read: Acts 5:1-11

In our family, a hiding was one’s fate if you dared to tell a lie; truth was your only road to mercy and forgiveness. My Grade 4 teacher’s words still echo in my ears: “Lies have short wings.” Truth, it seems to me, demands priority in one’s life.

In today’s Scripture, we read the heart-breaking story of Ananias and Sapphira, a believing couple in the first church. With his wife’s full knowledge, he sold a piece of land and kept part of the money for himself. They had then given the money to the apostles who had intentionally been brought under the impression that it was the whole sum. And to make things worse, they lied about the matter. When asked whether their gift was the whole sum of money, they both affirmed it.

But the Holy Spirit brought it to the apostle’s attention. Peter identifies the source of this lie when he confronts the man, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4) When he heard these words, Ananias fell down dead. The same fate overcame Sapphira, but not before she heard what she and her husband had actually done: “How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? (Acts 5:9)

Do you understand what is being said here? Satan is personally involved in the initiation of lies. When you listen to his misleading, lying voice, you are in essence lying to God, as well as to the Holy Spirit. But that is not all, every time you, or I, or anyone else tells a lie, we test the Spirit of the Lord. Humans testing the Godhead, what a frightening thought!

The Spirit-filled believer may not, should not ever euphemistically excuse a lie as a white lie or a half-truth. Truth is the heartbeat of our relationship with the Godhead. Will you be able to stand up for your truth, if Truth stands in front of you?

Prayer: Father, please enable me to recognise the lie, turn my back on it, and embrace the Truth with every fibre of my being. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
Find us on