Simon the magician was a man who believed in the gospel but wanted to buy the gift of giving the Holy Spirit. So the apostle Peter rebuked him severely.
Simon the magician was a witch practitioner in Samaria , who impressed the people with magic. Many Samaritans thought he was divine and called him “the Great Power” ( Acts 8: 9-10 ). But when Philip arrived preaching the gospel, the Samaritans believed in Jesus. Simon the magician also believed and was baptized ( Acts 8:13 ).
The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the people in Samaria. So Peter and John went there and laid hands on them and the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw this, he wanted to buy the power to give the Holy Spirit ( Acts 8: 18-19 ). Peter rebuked Simon and told him to repent. But Simon only asked the apostles to pray for him, that he would not be condemned.
The Bible does not say what happened to Simon the magician after that. There are several legends about him but nobody knows if they are true.
What was the sin of Simon the magician?
Simon the magician wanted to use the Holy Spirit as a business. Witchcraft seeks to manipulate spiritual forces (demons) to do the sorcerer’s will. Simon the magician thought he could do the same with God.
See here: what does the Bible say about witchcraft?
A gift from God cannot be purchased. God gives His gifts to whomever He wants, as He wants ( 1 Corinthians 12:11 ). We cannot do business with God.
God does not work for us; we work for God. It is wrong to try to manipulate God. The Bible teaches us to seek God’s will and to align our will with his ( James 4: 7 ). Simon the magician was not interested in doing God’s will; he wanted to gain power to do his own will.
Did Simon the magician lose his salvation?
The Bible does not say that Simon the magician lost his salvation. He believed the message and was baptized, which suggests that he was truly converted ( Mark 16:16 ). But his heart was still bound by sin. So Peter warned that he needed to repent ( Acts 8: 20-23 ).
Some people suggest that Simon the magician was not really converted. He may have believed in the power of Jesus but did not truly repent. Repentance is also essential for salvation ( Acts 2:38 ). Or, Simon may be an example of the parable of the sower, of a seed choked by thorns. This type of person hears the word but does not mature because he follows his sinful wills ( Luke 8:14 ).
See also: can a Christian lose his salvation?
Simon believed the gospel but lost his focus. He was more in awe of the apostles ‘power and miracles than of Jesus’ salvation. Simon let his old nature take over, instead of submitting everything under God’s will. This is a mistake that even many true believers make in different areas of their lives. This is dangerous and prevents spiritual growth.