Tuesday, 14 June 2016
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7
The previous verse spoke of sharing “in all good things with him who teaches.” As noted, Vincent’s Word studies says that this is speaking of students sharing in the sound teachings of instructors and not getting swayed by false doctrines. Paul now directs his thought to the attitude of the heart by saying, “Do not be deceived.” The words are especially important and are intended to call out for the reader to pay heed. As Albert Barnes notes, “The sources of the danger were the corruption of their own hearts, the difficulty of knowing their true character, the instructions of the false teachers, etc.” Paul was asking them not to rely simply on the evaluation made by the heart which is so wicked that it ranks among the greatest of deceivers.
In so doing, they would be liable to mocking God, but “God is not mocked.” The verb here literally indicates sneering with the nostrils flaring in contempt. We have been given the word of life in the explanation of what Jesus did. In turning back to the law for our justification, it is an act comparable to mocking God. And so we have a choice as to whether we will follow such false teachers who insist on living by deeds of the law, or we will follow the truth of the word which says that our justification comes solely by the merits of Christ.
To show us that we cannot have it both ways, he says, “…for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” This is a truth which he conveyed to the Corinthians as well –
“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
Paul is using a material concept to make a spiritual application. If a farmer sows a great deal of good seed, he will generally reap a great harvest. If he only sows a little, or if he sows bad seed, then he will reap sparingly. The same is true with spiritual matters. If a person teaches as the Judaizers taught with their false doctrines, there will be a harvest of bad doctrine. If a person teaches the word of the apostles (today it is the Holy Bible which records their words), there will be a harvest of sound doctrine.
The word “that” in “that he will also reap” is emphatic – it is that and nothing else. Good doctrine for life cannot be reaped if bad doctrine is sown into it. And sound doctrine will be reaped when sound doctrine is sown. In the end, it is a sober choice, but one which God is carefully watching over as the Day of Judgment draws near.
Life application: Garbage in; garbage out. If we fill our lives with those who teach false doctrine, we will be filled with false doctrine. God is not mocked. Let us not fill ourselves with garbage. Cling to the cross of Christ, and to that alone, for your right standing with God.
Lord God Almighty, You have all the power in the universe in Your hand. You have given us Your word to guide us, and that word tells us that we are to trust in what You have done through Jesus and not to attempt to be justified by works of the law. Just as You don’t need our efforts to keep things going in the universe, You certainly don’t need our efforts to keep us on the right path to glory. Help us to trust in the finished work of Christ, just as we trust that the galaxies will continue to spin in their heavenly paths. When we trust Christ’s efforts, certainly all will turn out as it should. Thank You for Jesus! Amen.