The story of Ananias and Sapphira always seemed a bit harsh to me. In short, they sold some land to give the proceeds to the church, but lied about how much they made and only donated a portion of the profit. When they were confronted about it by Peter, they dropped dead. You can read it in Acts 5:1-11.
Harsh, right? Especially in the post-resurrection world we so often associate with liberal forgiveness and grace. Their fate seems like something out of Joshua.
But their story is meant to remind us of another couple who died because of their sin, too. Adam and Eve—the first couple that we’re introduced in the Bible—sinned by taking what wasn’t theirs (Gen 3).
These two couples sinned as mirror opposites. Adam and Eve took in disobedience. Ananias and Sapphira withheld in disobedience. The first sin of the first couple in the garden was one of commission. The first sin of the first couple post-resurrection was one of omission.
Both sins led to death. The first couple returned to dust (Gen 3:19), and the second couple followed the first to burial in the ground (Acts 5:9-10).
And both of their sin had lasting consequences. Cain took the life of his brother, Abel. Just like his parents, Cain took what was not his. And just like Ananias and Sapphira, the church withheld support from Hellenistic widows, which was funded by the proceeds of sold land (Acts 6:1). See the pattern?
We take and withhold what is not ours, and our sin breeds more sin. But God is very different from us. He gives to us what is not ours (his Son) and withholds what is (his wrath). Both lead to life, and his grace breeds grace.