But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
The question contains more than one truth in reference to Satan.
I. THE EXISTENCE AND REALITY OF SATAN, that is to say of the evil spirit who is the prince of darkness, is throughout undeniably to be understood. It cannot here be considered as a mere allegory; the matter was too serious, and the speech of the apostle is much too impressive, severe and direct for that.
II. EVIL DOES NOT EXIST AND GROW ISOLATED IN THE HUMAN BREAST, but is connectively interwoven with the kingdom of evil in the invisible world. And precisely the worst sins, the subtlest hypocrisy, where evil clothes itself in the holiest garments of light, are the operations of Satan.
III. THERE ARE DIFFERENT DEGREES OF THE WORKING OF SATAN, from the smallest temptation to the filling of the heart, i.e., entirely and completely taking possession of it, which is the terrible contrast to the "fulness of the Holy Spirit."
IV. MAN IS RESPONSIBLE, AND HIS WILL FREE EVEN IN RELATION TO THE POWERFUL PROMPTINGS OF THE DEVIL. For Peter says not only Satan has filled thy heart, but asks why. And the reason he seeks lies evidently not in Satan, but in Ananias. "Why hast thou permitted it?" The apostle indirectly testifies that man, if he will, may resist the devil (1 Peter 5:9; James 4:7). There is no irresistible power of Satan.
(G. V. Lechler, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?