But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,…
Now, half the trouble which many people take to be smooth and worthless impostors in religion would make them genuine Christians. A lie is a great deal harder to tell than the truth. It is actually harder to be a successful hypocrite than to be a successful Christian. In the one case God is continually helping us. In the other case God is hindering us, and all the time is exposing us to detection and disgrace. It is really easier to possess a sincere heart-piety, and to let that inward light shine out naturally from the countenance and the conduct, than it is to go through life wearing the mask of false profession. To be a true Christian is a constant joy. To seem to be one when we are not is to wear a hateful galling yoke of bondage. In order to keep up appearances an insincere professor is incessantly obliged to do many things which are exceedingly distasteful and even loathsome. He must utter many a solemn falsehood which sticks in his throat. He must forfeit all self-respect. He must perform many a penance, and call it a pleasure. He lives in the constant dread that his mask may slip aside and reveal his real character. For no man ever went through a whole false life of professed piety without awakening occasional suspicion of his "godly sincerity." Sometimes a sudden emergency jerks the mask aside and exposes the dissembler. Oh! what a wretched life is led by him who, in trying to "keep afloat" before his fellow-creatures, is constantly striving to caulk up those fatal leaks which he knows are sending him to the bottom!
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,