We don’t know much about Ananias and Sapphira. We don’t know about their marriage, their inward spiritual condition, or what they were like as people. We do know, however, that they were both complicit in the sin of lying to the Lord about their contributions:
“After an interval of about three hours, his wife came in, but she did not know what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me, were the two of you paid this amount for the land?” Sapphira said, “Yes, that much.” Peter then told her, “Why have you agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out!” At once she collapsed at his feet and died. So when the young men came in, they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear gripped the whole church and all who heard about these things”.
(Acts 5.7-11, NET)
Ananias and Sapphira shared in the same sin and they shared in its consequences together too. Wanting the same image of generosity her husband desired (5.1-6) Sapphira also lies to the Lord and to Peter here (v.8). Like her husband, she meets an abrupt end when confronted with her sin and we read it caused the church and everyone who heard about it to fear.
Passages like this are hard to read, aren’t they? They’re hard to read and they’re hard to write about. We are uncomfortable reading of the consequences of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s sins because we are sinners too. We know that should God confront us with our sins of lying, of selfishness, of laziness, of immorality, any of our sin, then we too would face the same end as Ananias and Sapphira. Knowing this makes reading passages like this uncomfortable because we know that we are them.
We are not Peter and the church here, we are Ananias and Sapphira.
Save for the work of Jesus on the cross we would, one day, be confronted with the consequences of all our sins. The lies, the gossip, the slander, not doing what we should, and doing what we ought not to. Passages like this are hard to read but at the core they urge us all the more towards the work of Jesus on the cross. They urge us to Jesus who gave His life as a ransom for many, who took upon Himself the sins of the world and died the death that was the wage of our sin.
As uncomfortable as it might be, read Acts 5.1-11 again and see yourself in Ananias and Sapphira. See yourself as the sinner and then thank God that you can be forgiven and not confronted.