Summary: Actions always carry consequences, and the biblical principle of sowing and reaping reminds us to carefully consider our decisions.
SOWING AND REAPING
I recall the time when my daughter was assigned a science project. We called around for some ideas on what to do. We decided that we would try to prove whether or not a nail could be protected from rust. On a particular day, we coated one nail with paint, dipped another in engine oil and sprayed a third with WD-40. The fourth nail we left unprotected. We hung these nails on a piece of string and placed them outside for about ten days. During this time, we had all types of weather. Finally, on the tenth day, we went out to see the results. The unprotected nail had of course rusted. The one sprayed with WD-40 only had a small amount of rust. The other two had no signs of rust. For this project to be truly scientific, it must be repeatable. In other words, if you performed the experiment the same way we did under the same conditions, you should get the same results. Science has to do with cause and effect and with repeatable situations. It concerns the laws of nature and how they operate. The universe itself operates according to these rules. If it did not, science would not exist.
Paul also speaks of cause and effect in these verses. He gives one of the great moral absolutes of the world. What we sow we will reap. This is true in the physical aspect and the spiritual. How does this matter of sowing and reaping fit into our lives today?
I. SOWING IS IMPORTANT
Paul tells us not to be deceived because God is not mocked. What we sow we will reap, and what we want to sow are things that are good. Deceived means to lead astray. Paul was in part calling on the Galatians not to be led astray by such people as the Judaizers. They tried to trick the Galatian Christians into believing that they had to obey the Mosaic ceremonies and laws of the Old Testament for salvation. Paul said it was only through the grace of Jesus Christ and our faith in him that salvation came. There is nothing we can add to the free grace of Jesus.
We deceive ourselves if we think there is some other way to come to God than by Jesus Christ. We deceive ourselves if we think we can sin as Christians and get away with it. Through our sowing of what is good, we prove ourselves to be children of God. James wrote; “Prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude yourselves.” (1:22)
When people try to come to God some other way, it mocks the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When Christians live in sin despite their forgiveness, it mocks God. Mocked carries the idea of turning our noses up at something as if to scorn or sneer. Believers are not exempt from this law of sowing and reaping. To live as if we are mocks God.
It is very important that the child of God sow what is good in their own personal lives and in the world they live in. The Bible says; “Those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it.” (Job 4:8) On the other hand, those who sow good harvest good. We must follow the example of Jesus who sowed perfect righteousness and reaped eternal life. Through faith in him, we can do the same. When we sow faith in Jesus, we will never have to worry about reaping the consequences of our sin because Jesus paid for them. We will still have heartaches, sorrows, shame and wounds in this life, but when we sow faith in Christ we will reap eternal life. When we sow sin, God plants that feeling of guilt in us to point us back to the right way.
Believers should strive to sow good. Paul reminds us that while we have opportunity we should do good to all people, especially for our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith. Opportunity refers to the total opportunity we have during our earthly existence. We must work effectively and diligently to take every opportunity to sow for God's glory. The good that Paul speaks of is the moral and spiritual excellence that comes as a fruit of the Spirit. This good we speak with our mouths and perform with our hands. One of the best means to demonstrate the truth of our Christianity is to do good for others. This is also the best way to make others sit up and notice the genuiness of our faith. The Bible says; “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach.” (Titus 2:7)