Again I am thinking about a “faith that can move mountains”. This may very well be a reference to miracles. In the gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles we read that many miraculous healings were happening by the hands of Jesus and his Followers.
If it should be true that Paul refers to the working of miracles in 1 Corinthians 13:2, then his words imply that there could be different kinds of miracles. He speaks of a possibility that mountains could be moved yet without love.
There was a man called Simon living in the city of Samaria. He was a sorcerer. We do not learn what kind of works he actually did. Yet by his sorcery he greatly impressed the people of this city. “He boasted that he was someone great.”(Acts 8:9c/NIV). People greatly respected him and said: “This man is the great power of God.” (Acts 8:10b/KJV).
Whereas the apostles were concerned that God should be honoured by miracles and healings they performed in the power of the Holy Spirit, Simon the sorcerer accepted honour to himself.
Philip came to Samaria and preached the gospel. His message was accompanied by signs following. We learn that people were freed from demonic spirits. Several, who had been lame and unable to walk, were healed too.
Many came to believe in Jesus. Simon too turned to Christ and was baptised. Simon was greatly impressed by the miracles that happened by the hands of Philip.
News of conversions to Christ in Samaria came to the apostles in Jerusalem. They sent Peter and John. “When they arrived they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 8:15+16/NIV).
Finally Peter and John laid their hands on the new disciples in Samaria and they received the Holy Spirit. At this point Simon, who had been a sorcerer before turning to Christ, was particularly impressed and he took action. He offered the apostles money. He wanted to receive that same power that others should receive the Holy Spirit by his hands.
We do not know, perhaps he earlier had paid sums of money to other sorcerers to receive the power that he had exercised in Samaria for so long. Yet Peter made it very clear that God’s gifts cannot be bought with money.
Peter said to him: “For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” He advised Simon to repent from his sinful attitudes, and to ask God to forgive him.
Now, I should think bitterness and love are opposites. You cannot really be loving and bitter at the same time.
Jesus said that on judgment day many would come to him, saying: “Lord, lord, have we not… in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matthew 7:22/KJV). “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19).
“…and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2c).