Acts 5:1-11 (ESV):
But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife's knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles' feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him.
7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
In Peter's words, Ananias and Sapphira agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord (v9), which appears to be a terrible sin in the eyes of God, so terrible that it even warranted having the couple killed on the spot, without even being given the chance to confess and repent.
- Why were Ananias and Sapphira not given a second chance? Why weren't they simply confronted and led to confession and repentance? Why such a radical and drastic punishment on the spot?
- Can we infer anything about the ultimate eternal fate of Ananias and Sapphira? Is it possible that Ananias and Sapphira were still saved despite the exemplary punishment they received?