“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” (Galatians 6:7-10) Man wants God to give an account (Why God?) but ultimately “each one of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans14:12) We will reap what we sow.
Each sower decides what his harvest will be for the law of the harvest is immutable. Sow a little; reap a little; sow much; reap much. “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Cor. 9:6) As in farming we reap what we sow. If we sow tomato seeds we will not reap corn. Some people sow wild oats and pray for a crop failure. But sowing always (ultimately) means reaping what we sowed, although there is always a delay. God has established both physical laws and moral laws for His world. “You may be sure that your sin will (ultimately) find you out.” (Num. 32:23) Jesus paid for our sins but He doesn’t remove all the consequences.
Yet the law of the spiritual harvest must take in our heavenly recompense for in this life there is not a one-to-one ratio between sowing and reaping. “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11) As the righteous psalmist Asaph lamented: “I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me, till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” (Psalm 73:3, 13, 16-17)
“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”(v. 8) This does not mean we lose our salvation (“will… reap corruption”) if we sow to the sinful nature (flesh) nor “earn” eternal life by sowing to the Spirit. Salvation is by grace through faith. It means that there are temporal and eternal blessings for obedience, and consequences for disobedience for believers and unbelievers. And it means that as believers we reap spiritual and eternal growth and fruit as we sow to the Spirit and grow in our capacity to experience intimacy with the Lord. Jesus defined eternal life as knowing Him and the Father intimately, not just going to heaven. (John 17:3)
Although as Christians we will not be judged for our sins (praise God) we will be judged for our works and be rewarded or suffer loss of reward at the judgment seat of Christ. “By the grace God has given me, I (Paul) laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Cor. 3:10-15)
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (v.9) Although we are not saved by good works we are saved for good works. (Eph. 2:10) Sometimes when the fruit of our spiritual labor is delayed and not seen right away we may get weary and want to give up. But Paul reminds us that we must continue to water and weed (continue “doing good”) or the seeds we have sown will reap a diminished harvest. Reaping always involves a long wait after we have sown the seed (good deeds) and requires patience and perseverance which, in itself, produces a harvest of Christ-like character that will redound to God’s glory forever. “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the (good) outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” (James 5:10-11)
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (v. 10) Paul makes the application of all that he said above. Sow every time we have an opportunity for one day we will reap a harvest. Until we understand time from God’s perspective we may only do a better job of scheduling time but not do a better job of spending time on whom/what He would have us spend it on. “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) Because time is our most precious resource, Scripture exhorts us to: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Eph. 5:15-17)
Peter Drucker says that Know Thy Time (how you use it) is closely related to Know Thyself (i.e., what you truly value). But the real question is what does God value? “Now listen, you who say, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:13-17) This means to do “the right thing” now (“as we have opportunity”) and not presume that we can do it someday in the future.
“Let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” We are to do good to all people, believers and unbelievers, even as Jesus did. But we are to put the family of God first even as we are called to care for our natural family first. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Tim. 5:8)
Until He comes again,
Len and Kristen