By Andy Alexander
You’re walking in the downtown area of a major metropolitan city and notice a tattered man lying against the wall in a semi-conscious state with a bottle of cheap wine in his hand. A little further down the street flashing lights catch your eye and upon investigation you discover paramedics loading a body into its rear compartment and in no hurry for the body is dead due to an overdose of drugs. You continue your walk and are approached by several young ladies who look much older than they actually are offering their bodies to you for a price. Beneath the heavy application of makeup, cheap frilly clothes, and loud boisterous talking you can sense an emptiness in their life. What is occurring in all of these cases is the natural process of reaping what is sown. Reaping can be a very pleasant experience or, as in the lives of these people, a tragic heartache.
The sot in the gutter probably began drinking in high school and his parents just laughed it off as sowing a few wild oats. The overdosed drug user succumbed to peer pressure and, anyway, he knew he could stop anytime he got ready. The prostitutes had various backgrounds that brought them to their life of sin. One had children to support which she had given birth to while in junior high and she had to drop out of school. Another had given her body to any body who came along and no one would even consider her for marriage so she began to sell herself. Another had never received any love at home, in fact she did not really have a home and she desperately sought affection from anyone. Multitudes of cases could be repeated, but the results are the same. People sow to their flesh, they live for the short-lived pleasures in this life and they reap corruption.
The brethren in Galatia were warned by the apostle Paul that those who practice the works of the flesh “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21). He went on in the same letter and taught them as follows:
Be not deceived, God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, 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 (Gal. 6:78).
This fact can be seen in the agricultural realm. A farmer plants corn expecting to reap corn in accordance with the laws of nature that God set in place from the beginning of time.
We Cannot Slip One Over on God
When Paul tells us not to be deceived he is informing us that we can deceive ourselves into thinking that we are going to reap a home in heaven, a spiritual reward, while sowing to our flesh in this life. Sometimes there are people who profess to live a spiritual life, but they actually are serving themselves rather than God. “Hypocrite” is the term for these erring Christians and our Lord knows their spiritual state even when we fail to recognize and deal with it. They do fool the brethren from time to time but they never fool the Lord in heaven who sees all (Heb. 4:12-13).
We can be deceived into thinking that a little worldliness will not hurt us such as a little bit of alcohol, a small amount of smut in our entertainment, or the wearing of immodest apparel in the name of athletics. The Word of God teaches us about the captivating qualities of sin and Christians must take heed to these warnings (Rom. 6:16-17; 2 Pet. 2:20). If we sow to the flesh we will of the flesh reap corruption. Sin will lead to more sin and eventually to eternal death unless genuine repentance is made.
There is no such thing as a small sin in God’s sight. Nadab and Abihu were destroyed for offering strange fire, Uzzah was smitten for touching the Ark, and the man gathering wood on the Sabbath day was stoned to death (Lev. 10:1-2; 2 Sam. 6:6-7; Num. 15:32-36). In our eyes these may seem to be very minor offenses and something that should just be overlooked, but God did not view them in this light and these are lessons from which one can and should learn how God sees and reacts to sin (Rom. 15:4). If we believe that God will overlook sin in our lives then we are deceiving ourselves and we had better take the cure that our Lord prescribes – confession, repentance, and prayer (1 Jn. 1:9; Acts 8:22).
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 13, p. 394
July 2, 1992