Vol. 7, No. 4
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Perhaps there are no more sobering passages in all of the inspired Scriptures, when taken in their context, than the seventh and eighth verses of the sixth chapter of Galatians. These verses state: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." These verses give the summary of man's attitude, his life and his destiny.
We notice first of all that the warning against deception is given. No man likes to think that it is possible for him to be deceived. Yet, examples are too numerous of those who have been deceived by the various political figures or systems. Certainly, no one would be so simple or foolish as to argue that the various religious leaders have not been deceitful with the people. These leaders have convinced the masses that obedience to God's Word is not necessary. Husbands, wives, parents and children sometimes deceive one another. As disappointing as it is to be deceived by others, the greatest deception of all is self-deception. How many times have we heard someone say, "I know that the Bible says it, but..." That person has deceived himself into believing that God really didn't mean what he said.
Several factors must be taken into consideration in contemplating the law of sowing and reaping. (1) All men are sowers. (2) What is sown will determine what is reaped. One does not "gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles" (Matthew 7:16). (3) One always expects to reap in greater quantity than he has sown. (4) Only two kinds of seeds can be sown -- good or evil. Let us briefly notice each of these.
Spiritually speaking, there is no such thing as any accountable person not sowing. There are no neutral positions. Jesus himself stated, "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30). The law of each thing bringing forth after its kind was established at the creation and is still in active force today. The prisons are filled with those who thought that they could commit their crimes while having to suffer no penalty. Even those who may have successfully evaded the law and its consequences still have an appointment with God (cf. Hebrews 9:27). Parents cannot sow the seeds of neglect and immorality and expect their children to be otherwise.
In the law of sowing and reaping, we are taught, and naturally expect, that we will reap more than what is sown. Every farmer and backyard gardener recognizes this principle. In the spiritual realm, the principle is also active, whether one's sowing is positive or negative. Paul assures his readers of this by noting that by one's sowing to the Spirit in this life, even though his human efforts are feeble at best, this one will reap eternal life. He also points out that the sowing to the flesh, even though some want to argue that such is "not really all that bad," will result in the reaping of corruption or eternal destruction.
One last observation. How can one know, at least to some extent, whether he is sowing to the flesh or to the Spirit? In this same book, Gal. 5:19-22, are given the "works of the flesh" and the "fruit of the Spirit." One can compare his life, secular and religious, with these things to determine how he is sowing.
Each of us is sowing. Each of us will be judged by the harvest that our sowing produces (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Revelation 20:12-15). What about you? Are you sowing to the flesh or to the Spirit?