(Simon was already declared as a believer and had been baptized in this chapter). He was amazed that men were able to heal, cast out demons and give the Holy Spirit. When he asked for the power to be able to give the Holy Spirit with the laying on of hands, which sounds like it had good intent, he was truly wanting to be seen as a man with power; he was looking for fame. What he didn't realize is that it was not man doing these works, it was God working through man. Even if he had prayed earnestly to God for this power, his motivation and intent were still not right with God, so Peter instructed him to pray for his sins and learn the errors of this ways.
In order for a man to receive the Holy Spirit Jesus says he must be baptized. Scripture also points out that you may not receive the Spirit right at baptism: some have received the Spirit before baptism (Act 10:44,) some after baptism such as in this chapter. This would mean that the laying on of hands also does not guarantee the receiving of the Spirit. A person's relationship with God is imperative to receive the Spirit and to also notice its presence throughout their life.
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