Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. Acts 8:13

Yet Simon still didn’t understand. We read, “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit’” (verse 18).

Simon saw something which he thought could be bought. Peter’s response is harsh, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin” (verses 20-23).

Simon believed but was still full of bitterness and captive to sin. The thoughts of his heart didn’t change as a result of his conversion. It’s possible to go through the outward performance of faith and even be baptized but more is required to change the thoughts of our hearts. Simon wasn’t even aware of the sin in his heart. Are we aware of what is in our heart? How can we change if we aren’t even aware?

We can join with others who regularly pray, “Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy holy name: through Christ our Lord. Amen” (Collect for Purity, Anglican Prayer Book).

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