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Maybe it would've been good for Simon if Sir Paul McCartney would've been there singing, "Can't buy me love," when Simon offered to purchase the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the Acts of the Apostles records saying, "Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:18-19). Seems like a good thing. Simon wanted the gift of the Holy Spirit, which isn't something to condemn people for desiring. However, St. Peter responded saying, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity." In reaction, Simon asked for Peter to pray for him that nothing spoken may fall upon him. It doesn't say that he repented, but these words do show remorse over his false declaration of paying for the gift of the Holy Spirit. For man cannot pay any temporal treasure for the gift of the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is not a gift of this world, but a gift from above for the salvation of sinful man.
For the gift of the Holy Spirit is Jesus Himself. The Holy Spirit doesn't offer earthly prosperity, nor does He grant eternal temporal life. He doesn't promise you three wishes like an Arabian genie, nor is the Holy Spirit a divine gameshow host that awards you a new car for getting the right answer. No, the Holy Spirit doesn't offer you any temporal goods, but rather is the giver of the Eternal Good, Jesus Christ and His mercy for you. And because Jesus is not a temporal god, but the Eternal God and Savior, He cannot be bought or purchased, but only given from above. The Holy Spirit is not a gift that can be purchased by any temporal thing, be it money, our merit, our piety, or even our personal sacrifices, but rather the Holy Spirit is the gift that is given to us freely and mercifully by our Lord, Jesus the Christ. Why is the Holy Spirit given to us? To comfort us and assure us of our salvation and forgiveness that Jesus purchased and won for us on the cross. Just as Simon had to repent of paying for the Holy Spirit, so must we repent still today of any attempt to purchase salvation through our own means. We must despair of any hope in ourselves, or trust in temporal goods, for good standing before our Heavenly Father.
Let us take comfort in this reality, that the Holy Spirit is given freely to us, because Jesus already paid the price for our salvation. The Holy Spirit is a gift that is received, not one we pay for and accept. May the Lord remove from our hearts all Simony, and attempts to buy God off, and instead give us hearts that are crushed by the Law and ready to be revived in the life giving message of the Gospel. May The Comforter bring you the only gift of assurance this day, the gift of absolution that is a guarantee in the blood of Jesus.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. You are mine forever," Amen.