REAPING DESTRUCTION

REAPING DESTRUCTION 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.

The believer who sows to his or her sinful nature will reap destruction, according to the Apostle Paul. Now, precisely what does it mean to reap destruction? The destruction of what?—and when will the destruction be reaped?

REAPING DESTRUCTION

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)

"From the Spirit will reap eternal life."

From his sinful nature, from his fleshly nature, will reap destruction.

First, what is our sinful, fleshly nature? Paul instructs us as follows:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, Idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, Envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

"Shall not inherit the Kingdom of God!"

Notice it does not say will not go to Heaven. Heaven is a place. The Kingdom of God is a state of being. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the world.  We cannot sin and inherit the Kingdom of God because there is no sin in the Kingdom of God.

The New Testament often emphasizes our state of being rather than a destination, such as Heaven or Hell. "Shall not perish but have eternal life." "The wages of sin is death." These refer to our state of being, not to our destination after physical death or in the Day of Resurrection.

Sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God. But sin did not begin in the Kingdom of God, in the state of being in which God governs. Sin began in Heaven when Satan chose to place his will over the will of God. There is no sin in the Kingdom of God because the Kingdom is the doing of God’s will on the earth as it is performed in Heaven.

Let’s take one of these behaviors that will not inherit the Kingdom of God. We shall choose immorality, since Paul often mentions this particular sinful behavior. The sexually immoral will not inherit the Kingdom of God because immorality is not permitted in the Kingdom. The sexually immoral will be placed in the Lake of Fire.

Immorality includes adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, sexual perversion, and all other forms of unscriptural sexual lusts and practices.

Fornication is sexual intercourse apart from legally authorized marriage.

What does it mean to sow to fornication? It means to practice fornication even though such behavior is condemned by the New Testament.

Paul warns us that fornicators will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul warns us also that fornicators will reap destruction, by saying that the believer (or any person) who sows to fornication will reap destruction.

Notice that Paul does not mention Heaven as a reward or Hell as a penalty, unless Hell and destruction are the same situation.

I think Hell and destruction are not the same because Hell is a place while destruction has to do with the condition of our personality.

In the same manner, Heaven is a place while eternal life, the result of sowing to the Spirit of God, has to do with the condition of our personality.

It may be noticed that other religions have as their destinations places of pleasure or places of torment. While this is true also of the Christian salvation, the Christian salvation is pointed primarily toward the condition of the individual. This makes sense, because it would not be profitable to bring wicked people into Paradise or righteous, holy people into Hell. It is not the destination that is of first importance but the type of person the individual is. All of us will be "gathered to our people," that is, to the social group in which we fit.

This is a practical distinction, because in the case of a place being a destiny, such as Heaven or Hell, we cannot experience our destiny until we die. But in the case of the condition of our personality being our destiny, such as destruction or eternal life, we can enter our destiny today—not to the fullness, to be sure, but to a significant extent. This means we will alter our behavior day by day in order to attain our desired destiny and not just wait to die to go to Heaven.

We can lay hold on eternal life today.

We also can destroy our personality today by yielding to the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul.

The difference between being a member of the Christian religion, and being a disciple of the Lord Jesus, is that the member of the Christian religion may not press forward into abundant eternal life because he is awaiting his reward in Heaven. Meanwhile, because of the teaching of lawless grace, he or she may be sowing to his or her sinful nature and reaping destruction.

The disciple, however, is sowing to the Holy Spirit by bringing each action and decision of his life to the Lord Jesus. He is denying himself, taking up his cross, and following Jesus. Thus each day a part of his sinful nature dies and in its place is created the Life and Nature of Jesus.

We are asking the question: precisely what is, or will be, destroyed if we choose to live in the lusts and passions of our sinful nature?

Man is spirit, soul, and body. So we have two issues: how do we destroy our spirit, soul, and body today?; how do we destroy our spirit, soul, and body in the Day of Resurrection? We are using fornication to represent sowing to the sinful nature.

Let’s begin with the destruction of our spirit. Paul taught us it is God’s will that whoever is joined to the Lord is one Spirit with Him.

But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. (I Corinthians 6:17)

The Spirit of God is eternal life. When we are not diligent in the task of cleansing ourselves from spiritual filthiness, we minimize the amount of eternal life we possess.

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

We learn from the above verse that there are behaviors, such as fornication, that contaminate our spirit. The result is destruction, in the sense that we deprive ourselves of the abundance of eternal life we could have if we would perfect our spirit in holiness. We continue expressing the uncleanness in our personality.

The Holy Spirit will perfect our spirit in holiness if we will follow Him. Then we will increase in resurrection life.

But if we are not careful to purify ourselves from spiritual corruption, we will continue in the human spirit—a spirit that is willing to partake of moral filth; a spirit that is dead because it is cut off from God. Thus we sow to our sinful nature today and reap destruction in our spirit today.

Can we reap eternal life in our spirit today?

When we persevere in faith that we have been crucified with Christ, and also have been raised from death and have ascended with Him to the right hand of the Father in Heaven, we have the means whereby we can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. We can keep our mind steadfastly on our place in Christ in the Father instead of focusing our attention on the moral death that is in the world spirit—the spirits of lust, covetousness, entertainment, violence, and drunkenness.

When we keep our attention on things above we increase each day in purity of spirit. Sharing in the sufferings of Christ also helps purify our spirit.

In the Day of Resurrection our spirit will rejoin our body. If our spirit has not been purified by the Holy Fire of God’s Spirit, our impure human spirit will rejoin our resurrected body. There will be no eternal life to enable us to inherit all that God has made new in Christ. We will not have any part in the new Jerusalem, the glorified Christian church.

Our spirit is the life of our personality. Our soul is the origin of our decisions.

How do we reap destruction in our soul when we continue to practice fornication?

The adamic soul is born in sin and rebellion. This is our inheritance from Adam and Eve. We come into the world as a rebel against the will of God, choosing to follow our own will.

God does not attempt to cure the soul. The human soul, or heart, cannot be cured; it is hopelessly wicked and rebellious.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

The true Christian salvation is not eternal residence in Paradise, although such residence is included. The actual salvation is a transformation of what we are in spirit, soul, and body.

God’s solution for the wickedness and rebellion of the adamic soul is transformation accomplished by personal crucifixion and resurrection. God is not saving what we are; God is crucifying what we are.

The salvation of the soul begins now. We learn to look to the Lord Jesus for every decision and action of our life. The Lord gives us a cross of deferred desire to carry, and often permits Satan to put us in an imprisoning situation in which we are miserable. As we refuse to save ourselves but continue to look to Jesus, our adamic soul dies, little by little, and in its place is created the body and blood of Christ. We become partakers of the Divine Nature.

The process takes place now—today. The transformation does not take place on the basis of dying and going to Heaven.

If, however, we choose to follow our sinful inclinations, such as fornication, our adamic soul remains alive. We do not partake of the Divine Nature. We continue as a wicked, rebellious person. This is true whether or not we are a member of the Christian religion.

We may modify our behavior in some respects, such as by abstaining from fornication. To this extent we may partake of Christ. But if major aspects of our personality are not undergoing crucifixion and resurrection, we will remain basically an adamic personality. The adamic personality, whose life is restricted to the corrupt flesh and blood nature, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, according to the Apostle Paul.

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (I Corinthians 15:50)

Therefore, the believer in Christ who continues to live in his or her sinful nature will prevent the transformation of personality that should be occurring today.

Can we enter eternal life in our soul during our discipleship on the earth?

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)

We can increase in eternal life, in the possession of Christ, each day if we will fight the good fight of faith. We do not have to wait until we die and go to Heaven to increase in eternal life in our soul.

In the Day of Resurrection the body will be raised from the dead, animated by spiritual energy although not necessarily by the incorruptible, eternal resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will be raised by the same energy by which the angels exist; and as far as we know, angels do not have eternal life, the Life of Christ, dwelling in them.

In that day the soul will be reunited with the animated body. But in the case of the person who has continued in fornication, no image of Christ will be found. Instead, there will be the same sinful, rebellious personality that had lived previously on the earth.

This is destruction in that there is no glorious image of Christ in the soul, ready to be clothed with the body of eternal life from Heaven.

Before we deal with the destiny of the corrupt spirit and the rebellious adamic soul, let us consider the body. Paul prayed that our whole spirit, soul, and body would be kept blameless at the coming of the Lord.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

Sin dwells in our flesh, according to Paul.

But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Romans 7:23)

Fornication results from the lust that dwells in our flesh. Paul commanded us to put to death the deeds of our body. Paul said we would die if we do not: that is, die spiritually.

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)

The context of the above verse suggests Paul is referring to the day in which our body is made alive by the Spirit of God, at the return of the Lord.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

Romans 8:11-13 is a powerful statement. Paul actually is saying that if we persist in living according to our sinful nature the Holy Spirit will not make alive our mortal body in the Day of the Lord; we will slay our own resurrection unto eternal life.

How about today? Do we reap destruction in our body today if we practice fornication?

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (I Corinthians 3:16,17)

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. (I Corinthians 6:18)

Indeed we do. In the United States today, as well as in other countries, there are a number of venereal diseases, that is, diseases transmitted by sexual intercourse. The most prominent and deadly of these is AIDS. These diseases are associated with promiscuity.

We see, then, that when we sow to our lustful fleshly nature we reap destruction in our body. This takes place today.

Do we reap life today in our body if we sow to the Spirit of God?

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (II Corinthians 4:8-10)

How about in the Day of Resurrection?

If we have faithfully sown our body to the death of the cross by accepting the various sufferings that are part of true discipleship, there has been laid up for us in Heaven a glorious body of eternal life that the Lord will clothe us with at His appearing. Our flesh and bones will be raised from their place of interment and then clothed with our robe from Heaven.

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; (I Corinthians 15:42)

For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (II Corinthians 5:4)

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:8)

But if we have not sown our body to the deaths that God requires of us, there will be no robe from Heaven. If there is, it will reflect in itself the sin that we have sown. We will be clothed in that Day with corruption and destruction.

To live in the sinful nature is to destroy our spirit, our soul, and our body today. To continue in the sinful nature is to insure that in the Day of Resurrection our spirit still will be unclean; our soul will be in its rebellious adamic state; and our body will portray the kind of life we have chosen to live.

Please notice our key verse 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)

Do you see that if we sow to please our sinful nature, then out from that nature we will reap destruction? The destruction does not come from a far distance, nor does it have to do with a place to which we are assigned. The destruction proceeds from our own behavior.

The law of sowing and reaping reveals the perfect justice of God. God gives us through Christ His Holy Spirit. If we choose to sow to the Holy Spirit, that is, to follow the Spirit each day, we reap eternal life now and in the Day of Resurrection. But if we choose to sow to our sinful nature, we reap destruction now and in the Day of Resurrection.

But what about Heaven and Hell?

After we die we will be placed where we belong. If we are filled with Christ we will be placed with those who are filled with Christ.

If, however, we have chosen to live in our sinful nature, we will be placed with those of like nature. In fact, if we have not been transformed into the image of Christ, and then were placed with transformed personalities, we would be miserable.

This is true today. If we are not being transformed morally we find no pleasure being with those who are following the Lord Jesus in faithful discipleship. Isn’t this true?

Sometimes it is said Christ came to bring sinners to Heaven. Do we actually believe a sinner would be happy among those who love God with all their heart and are seeking to be holy? Sinners do not care for the company of the saints today, on the earth. Why would they feel differently when they die and pass into the spirit realm?

I can’t be too specific about what happens to us after we die because the Bible does not dwell on this topic. The Bible speaks rather of the Day of Resurrection and the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Our destiny ultimately is in the earth—the present earth when the Lord returns, and the new earth when the present earth flees from the face of God.

The Apostle Paul told us clearly that people, Christians or not, who continue to live according to the lusts of their sinful nature, shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. So there is no question about this. If we choose to remain in our fleshly way of life we will destroy any chance of inheriting the Kingdom of God. Those who today are saying we will inherit the Kingdom of God by merely confessing Christ as Savior and Lord, even though we do not do what He and His Apostles have commanded, are false prophets. They and their followers are reaping destruction today and will reap destruction in the Day of the Lord.

"I have not sent them," declares the LORD. "They are prophesying lies in my name. Therefore, I will banish you and you will perish, both you and the prophets who prophesy to you." (Jeremiah 27:15)

I believe all people, certainly all Christians, would like to be close to God. I can’t imagine anyone saying he wants nothing to do with God. Maybe there are people like that, but I would think it would be an unusual attitude for any individual to have.

The problem is, God is a consuming Fire.

Now, what does this mean?

It means there are specific behaviors that God will not accept in His Presence. When these behaviors come near to God they burst into flame, so to speak. If they are characteristic of us we would experience agony in God’s Presence. Sometimes we refer to a mild form of this agony as conviction.

The specific behaviors are eight in number. The people who continue to practice them will reside forever in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

The cowardly.

The unbelieving.

The vile.

The murderers.

The sexually immoral.

Those who practice magic arts.

The idolaters.

All liars.

It is my understanding that these eight behaviors include all attitudes and actions that God finds detestable—unworthy of His Presence.

In medical practice people are vaccinated against disease. The procedure consists of exposing the individual to a small amount of the disease so the person’s body will build resistance to the disease. Then, if the individual is exposed to a large amount of the disease, the necessary resistance is present.

This is how God is erecting a defense against these eight behaviors that have proceeded from the self-will of Satan.

God permitted mankind to be exposed to sin. Then God sent to earth the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Defense against sin.

Whoever receives Jesus Christ receives the Defense against sin.

Then God baptizes the individual with Divine fire, causing the sin in his or her personality to react. But since Christ is present in the person, the sin is confessed and rejected from the personality. Little by little the process continues until the person is immune to sin. Christ, who cannot sin, has been established in him or her.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. (I John 3:9)

As we follow the Holy Spirit, putting to death through the Spirit the sins of our personality, we receive eternal life. We are sowing to the Spirit of God, and we are reaping eternal life. In the Day of Christ we will be crowned with the authority and power of eternal life. We have been found worthy of the Kingdom of God.

But if we do not receive Christ each day, if we do not follow the Holy Spirit each day, choosing instead to follow the lusts and passions of our sinful nature, we—Christian or not—will not develop an immunity to sin. We still will be practicing one or more of the eight detestable behaviors over which the Lake of Fire retains authority. We have chosen to sow to our sinful nature, and out from our own untransformed nature we will reap destruction.

Furthermore we, Christian or not, will find our place in the Lake of Fire, which always is the repository for these specific behaviors and their branches.

The great error of Christian thinking is that accepting Christ waives the Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping. How could it? What we are, we are; and physical death does not change this.

Please keep in mind that the Apostle Paul was addressing the saints in Galatia when he taught concerning the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping.

The first form of destruction is the corruption of our own personality—spirit, soul, and body.

The second form of destruction has to do with the place of residence, the destination of our destroyed personality.

The Bible mentions Hell, the Lake of Fire, the outer darkness, and blackest darkness that endures for eternity, as the destinations of destroyed personalities.

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (Matthew 5:29,30)

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30:

They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:13)

Daniel says that in the Day of Resurrection some people will be viewed with contempt, while others will shine as the stars forever.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12;2)

Isaiah speaks of dead bodies that are never consumed by worms.

And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)

If our personality is made heavenly by the Lord Jesus, then we will enjoy the Presence of God and Christ now and forever.

If our personality continues to be corrupt, then we will be separated from the Presence of God and Christ now and forever.

We will be placed wherever we belong, wherever we fit, regardless of our belief in the doctrines of the Christian religion.

First, the destruction of our personality.

Second, the destination of the destroyed personality.

To sum up:

The only acceptable state of the believer in Christ is that of being filled with God and Christ at all times.

There are several destinations available to people: the new Jerusalem; Hell; the Lake of Fire; the outer darkness. If we will be diligent in perfecting an acceptable state of being, our destination will be the new Jerusalem; for people ultimately will be placed where they belong.

If we take care of our state of being, our destination will take care of itself.

Adam and Eve began their lives in Paradise, in the desired destination. They were driven from Paradise because they sinned against God. Their state of being changed from innocence to rebellion and guilt. People always will be driven from Paradise when they continue to sin, whether or not they profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The cherubim and the flaming sword still guard the way to the tree of life.

The Lord Jesus Christ gave us His own body and blood, and the Holy Spirit of God, that we might be able to sow to the Spirit and reap eternal life.

If we will follow the Spirit each day we will reap life—now, and in the world to come.

If we follow our own sinful nature each day we will reap destruction—now, and in the world to come.

It is as simple as this.

The choice is ours. Let us choose wisely.