SOWING WHAT YOU WANT TO REAP

SOWING WHAT YOU WANT TO REAP Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Life on earth is mostly a time of sowing. Make sure you are sowing what you want to reap in the ages to come. They make a great mistake who force their way, running over other people in order to seize what they desire. They may gain their ends now, but God remembers their works and they will reap untold sorrow in the future.

Those who sow love and peace now will reap love and peace now and in the new world of righteousness. Those who sow hatred and discord will reap hatred and discord. And who knows if there will ever be an end to it?

SOWING WHAT YOU WANT TO REAP

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)

One of the greatest of the misunderstandings afflicting us Christians may be the existing confusion concerning Galatians 6:7,8. The confusion exists because we do not know how to reconcile the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping with our customary doctrine of grace.

How does grace affect the law of sowing and reaping? Does grace modify or abolish the law of sowing and reaping? I think this is a big question in the mind of numerous Christian believers.

The confusion arises because of our definition of Divine grace. The current understanding of grace is that we obtain right standing in the sight of God by professing faith in the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. The idea is that no matter how we behave, as long as we profess faith in Jesus Christ we will be brought to Heaven when we die, there to enjoy the peace and joy of Paradise.

If the above is the scriptural definition of grace, then we may sow to please to our sinful nature throughout our Christian life and yet not reap destruction.

If such is the case, then why did the Apostle Paul warn the members of the Christian churches in Galatia that if they, as Christians, sowed to please their sinful nature, from that nature they would reap destruction? If Divine grace through Jesus Christ renders the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping incompetent, immaterial, and irrelevant, why did Paul write as he did?

One of two conditions must be true: either Paul was addressing unsaved people in Galatia, or else we do not understand Divine grace.

As to the first condition, it is not intellectually sound to maintain that Paul had switched from his numerous exhortations to the believers in Galatia and then warned unsaved people about sowing to their sinful nature. In addition, it would not be possible for unsaved people to sow to please the Holy Spirit in that they did not possess the Holy Spirit.

So we are assured that the apostle was addressing the believers.

This leaves us with the only other possibility: we do not understand Divine grace.

It is absolutely true that by professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we obtain remission of our sins. It also is absolutely true that we are going to reap what we are sowing.

The key is the concept of repentance. Throughout the Book of Acts we discover the Apostles did not restrict their preaching to belief in Christ, they insisted on works of repentance.

First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26:20)

"Prove their repentance by their deeds"!

It is here, I believe, that current Christian teachings is missing the mark. We are proclaiming the need for faith in Christ but are omitting to stress the need for repenting and proving our repentance by our deeds, by turning away from our sinful ways and embracing Christ.

It may be true that we omit the necessity for repentance because we are anxious to have people receive Christ and we do not wish to offend them. Therefore we cry, "Let Jesus into your heart," and do not stress proving our repentance by our deeds. It is interesting to note that the Apostles never preached let Jesus into your heart.

We will never prosper until we return to the New Testament.

The Christian life is one long act of repentance. We should be sorry for our sins, it is true; but what is absolutely necessary is that we then turn away from our sins, that we repent.

Let’s see how grace, and the law of sowing and reaping, dovetail.

When we receive Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins we are completely forgiven no matter how black our record has been. At the time of coming to Christ we are behaving almost entirely in our fallen nature in all that we do, even though we have received Christ and have been completely forgiven.

The Holy Spirit immediately counsels us to take a step forward, in gathering with fervent saints; or with reading our Bible and praying; or perhaps with putting away some destructive action such as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.

As soon as we gain victory in the pinpointed area the Spirit challenges us with another aspect of the sinful nature. Now we are to pray until we gain this additional victory. And so each day throughout our discipleship.

God originally counted us righteous because we obeyed Him by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. God continually will count us righteous if, through the Spirit, we choose each day to obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

If we accept Christ we are counted as righteous. But if we then do not continue to walk according to the New Testament commandments, we no longer are counted righteous. Our "faith" in Christ has proven to be a head knowledge only. There has been no genuine commitment as a disciple of the Man, Christ Jesus.

The Apostle Paul used the patriarch Abraham as an example of righteousness apart from the Law of Moses. Abraham believed the promise of God, and on that basis righteousness was ascribed to him.

Many years later God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as an offering to God. If Abraham had refused to do this he no longer would have been righteous in God’s sight.

Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God’s friend. (James 2:21-23)

The Christian discipleship is a prolonged act of repentance, that is, one of turning away from our sinful nature and sowing to please the Spirit of God. The Spirit counsels us and guides us continually, for this is the only path to eternal life.

As long as we keep on listening to Christ, obeying Him implicitly, maintaining our faith in Him, God counts us as righteous. The grace of God assists us with every Divine means, and holds us guiltless because we are obeying God. This God can do because of the atonement made by Jesus Christ on the cross.

Now, how does the law of sowing and reaping fit into the program of repentance, that is, of continually turning away from our sinful nature and embracing the ways of the Spirit of God?

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Let us take the first area, that of love. Our sinful nature is prone to hate, to seek revenge, to be spiteful and bitter. As we walk with the Spirit of God, the Spirit delivers us from hatred and bitterness, bringing forth Divine love in us.

Here is the point: as we choose to put away the hatred and bitterness, the malice and vengeful attitude, and embrace God’s love, we are sowing to the Spirit of God. We may or may not reap love in this life, but it is certain we will reap love in the ages to come.

But if we, as a Christian, do not walk with the Spirit of God, do not put away hatred and bitterness, do not bring forth Divine love in our behavior, we will reap hatred, bitterness, malice, and a vengeful attitude now, and then in the ages that lie ahead of us.

Can you see that it is not a matter of being forgiven and going to Heaven? It is a matter of the kind of relationships we will enjoy in Heaven, and then on the earth when the Lord returns.

We cannot sow hatred and reap love. This cannot be. Though God were to forgive us our acts of hatred, we still would have a hateful personality; and that hateful personality would continue to destroy us.

We might be under the impression that when the Lord comes He will make us a new creation. We suddenly will be delivered from hatred and made a new creation in Christ.

The truth is, it is today that we are to be made a new creation, not after we die or when the Lord returns. When the Lord returns, what we have sown, what we have become, will be revealed, not changed!

Think about the parable of the talents. When the Lord returned He did not make the lazy servant industrious. Rather the Lord took his talent away from him and threw him into the outer darkness.

When those who had wrought miracles in the name of the Lord stood before Him, the Lord did not forgive their unrighteousness and alter their personality. Rather Christ drove them from His Presence because they were workers of unrighteousness.

We are going to reap exactly what we sow.

If we sow love we are going to reap love. If we sow hatred we are going to reap hatred.

If we sow joy we are going to reap joy. If we sow misery we are going to reap misery.

If we sow peace we are going to reap peace. If we sow conflict we are going to reap conflict.

If we sow patience we are going to reap patience. If we sow impatience we are going to reap impatience.

If we sow kindness we are going to reap kindness. If we sow criticism we are going to reap criticism.

If we sow goodness we are going to reap goodness. If we sow wickedness we are going to reap wickedness.

If we sow faithfulness then we are going to reap faithfulness. If we sow treachery we are going to reap treachery.

If we sow gentleness we are going to reap gentleness. If we sow harshness we are going to reap harshness.

If we sow self-control we are going to reap quietness and assurance. If we sow lack of restraint we are going to reap wildness and confusion.

It is impossible to sow hatred and reap love.

It is impossible to sow impatience and reap patience.

It is impossible to sow criticism and reap kindness.

It is impossible to sow wickedness and reap goodness.

It is impossible to sow treachery and reap faithfulness.

It is impossible to sow harshness and reap gentleness.

It is impossible to sow wildness and confusion and reap self-control.

To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. (Psalms 18:25,26)

It absolutely is true that God’s love covers a multitude of sins. But that still does not change what we are.

Notice our key passage once again:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)

"The one who sows to please his sinful nature, FROM THAT NATURE WILL REAP DESTRUCTION." Can you receive the full impact of that?

When we behave in a hateful, malicious manner, bringing discord and pain to others as we seek to force our will, we corrupt our own nature. Then, in the day of resurrection, out from that very corruption will proceed the effect of being hateful and mean.

As Paul said in another place:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

There are many today who are winning battles but losing the war. By this I mean they are treating others cruelly, forcing their will no matter who is injured. Sometimes such wicked people (often Christians) are able to triumph for a brief period until the faithful believers, who are plodding along on their pilgrimage, despair of getting relief.

But our God is righteous. When the true saints have been conformed to the image of Christ, as a result of their patiently enduring the self-seeking thrashing about of the wicked, then God will return and reveal who is serving Him and who is not.

In that hour every single act of the self-seeking will return upon them tenfold. The haters will be hated. The violent will be assaulted. The hypocrites will be revealed as to their true nature. Those who stepped on others will themselves be stepped on.

The righteous, after they have done their best, are saved with difficulty as they pass through fiery trials. What, then, will be true of the ungodly? Their ungodly behavior will be visited upon them in the day God avenges Himself of the wickedness practiced in the earth.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones To judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. (Jude 1:14-16)

The above judgment will fall on those who assembled with the saints, according to the context.

"But Lord, You have walked among us in our churches. We have been called by your name. We sang the songs of Zion. We engaged in the activities of our assembling. We are Christians, saved by grace!"

"Depart from Me! I never knew you! Did you really believe I would overlook your slandering and gossiping, your malicious treatment of your brothers and sisters, your robbing of the poor, your adulterous acts, your worldliness, your refusal to take up your cross of self-denial and follow me faithfully?

"Did you really believe by saying My name you were excused from righteous behavior? Why did you not do what I and My apostles commanded? "Did you imagine that I was waiting with pleasure to usher you into Paradise after the way you behaved on the earth, the way you treated your fellow servants?

"Paul told you that you would receive the consequences of your actions. Why did you not believe him? Were you seeking your own glory all the while?

"You knew that millions were poor and naked, being denied physical food and well as spiritual food. When you had such an abundance, why did you not do everything in your power to alleviate their suffering?"

You know, our common sense should warn us that today’s teaching of lawless grace is not of God. How could it be? God’s purpose for man has always been that man will practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. To present a "grace" that forgives people without changing them is to go outside our normal understanding of God’s holy Nature. All covenants of God have as their purpose the promoting of righteous behavior among earth’s peoples.

God cannot be mocked. We are going to reap what we sow. Every idle word a person speaks will be brought up in the day of judgment.

"But," we protest, "when we accept Christ as our Savior our idle words are forgiven to be remembered against us no more."

This is true, but only under the scriptural conditions.

The scriptural conditions are that we walk each day in the light of God’s will, growing each day in the ability to discern between good and evil, and in the willingness and strength to embrace the good and reject the evil. This is what it means to "grow in Christ.’

Each day we are being conformed to His image. Each day we are gaining victory over our sinful nature. Each day we are choosing to do God’s will with increasing determination.

Galatians 6:7,8 speaks of sowing to please the Spirit of God. There are only two ways in which a person can live. One is in the sinful nature. The other is in the Spirit of God.

When we begin our Christian discipleship we are almost all sinful nature and very little of the Spirit of God. Each day should see us with less of the sinful nature and more of the Spirit of God. Our goal is to be so filled with the Spirit of God that every thought, every word, every action, every breath we take is filled with the Spirit of God. This is the sublime goal of the new covenant. This is "that which is perfect."

Our goal is not merely to go to Heaven, to Paradise. To go to Heaven, to Paradise, is not the same as living in the fullness of the Spirit of God. Heaven is a place. Living in the fullness of the Spirit is a condition of our personality. We can be in Heaven and void of the Spirit of God. We can be on the earth and living in the fullness of the Spirit of God. Heaven and being filled with the Spirit of God are not at all the same thing.

We see, then, that the current understanding that the Christian salvation is a ticket to eternal residence in Paradise falls far short of the program outlined in the New Testament. The Christian salvation is one of total change, of a new creation in which all the old sinful nature has passed away and every aspect of our personality has been made new in the Spirit of God.

Whatever is true of you and me the moment we die will be true of us as we enter the spirit realm. Death is an enemy, not a redeemer. The only difference will be that we do not have a physical body. If we have followed Jesus afar off while living on the earth, we still will follow Jesus afar off when we die.

When the Day of the Lord arrives and we are raised from the dead, there still will be no change in what we are. The only difference will be that now we have received back our physical body.

What then? We are given back what we have done in the body, whether good or bad. This is what the Bible teaches clearly and consistently. To depart from this is to leave the Scriptures and enter delusion—a delusion that will be shattered when we face the reality of the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Try and set aside your traditional teaching and reread the New Testament. See if what we have taught here follows the tenor of the words of the Apostles of Christ. Numerous American Christians are going to be terribly upset when they die and discover the Lord Jesus does not come rushing to meet them. Instead they find themselves in some area of the spirit realm inhabited by people of the same spiritual growth of themselves. God does not like mixtures, as He pointed out in the Old Testament. Let the holy remain that way and the filthy remain that way. This is what the Lord says. He wants His way to be made straight.

We have not made the Lord’s way straight. We have fed the people several unscriptural traditions that make the Word of God of no effect. We have said as long as they profess belief in Christ their sins will be overlooked. Thus we are leading them straight to punishment and loss of inheritance.

We have been warned in almost all of Paul’s epistles, in the Book of Hebrews, in the Book of James, in First and Second Peter, in First John, in Jude, and in the Book of Revelation, about the peril of not behaving righteously.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)

Do you not know the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10)

"Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. "Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty. (II Corinthians 6:17,18)

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (Galatians 5:19,20)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; To be made new in the attitude of your minds; And to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18,19)

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:8-10)

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; That each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, Not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; And that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (I Thessalonians 4:3-7)

And so on and on and on in the New Testament. We have not mentioned Jesus’ warning that if we do not bear the fruit of godliness we will be cut from the Vine, from Christ.

We understand, therefore, that the current belief that as long as we make a profession of faith in Christ our behavior is not critically involved in our salvation does not conform to the New Testament writings. It is "another gospel."

Millions of American Christians are proceeding in the notion that even though they are not denying themselves, taking up their cross, and following the Lord each day, they will go to Heaven when they die because they are saved by grace. If this notion is true we might as well discard the New Testament, for the New Testament does not in any manner correspond to the idea that we are saved to go to Heaven whether or not there is any moral transformation.

Indeed we will reap what we have sown. If we as a Christian live so as to please our sinful nature, from that very polluted nature we will reap destruction—perhaps now, but definitely in the Day of the Lord.

If, however, we patiently follow the counsel of the Spirit of God, enduring the dealings of the Lord, striving to rejoice and live righteously, not blaming others when God chastises us, we will reap eternal life. Each day we will live less in the sinful nature and more in the Spirit of God.

This is love. This is joy. This is peace. Such we are sowing, and such we will reap now and throughout the ages to come.