Scripture Texts: Acts 4:32-37; Acts 5:1-16; Psalms 44
The account from Acts 5 is one of the more troubling passages in the New Testament. Gathered together is the community of grace, the church, and they are receiving a gift from others in the group. When the couple practice deception they both end up dead. That does not appear to be a gracious response.
Had the couple admitted they were holding some back rather than tell everyone they were giving it all, the story would have ended in a very different way. Because the church is a community of grace, the honest confession would have certainly been met with forgiveness. When there was clearly the presence of repentant hearts and contrite spirits, the church would have offered the forgiveness of Christ.
Deception is a dangerous game to play, and it always comes into the light. In the case of a relationship, deception can erode the quality of a relationship quicker than almost anything. When we attempt to deceive someone, especially our spouse, we are setting the stage for a broken relationship. In all of creation there is one person who we are to have no secrets from and that is our spouse. The health of the marital relationship depends on no secrets, and no deception.
The issue with the couple in Acts was not what they did with their money, rather what they did with their deception. The actions can be challenging, however nothing is more damaging than trying to cover up poor actions with grand deception. The truth always comes out, so it is better to live in the truth from the beginning rather than after an attempt at deception. There will still be anger, there will also be more room for grace.