The Law of Sowing and Reaping
01. What is the law of sowing and reaping?
A. The law of sowing and reaping is mentioned in several Scripture passages (Job 4:8; Hosea 8:7; 10:12). But the primary text is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians:
01. “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” (Galatians 6:7-9).
B. This passage teaches that each of us is a “sower” who will reap the harvest of his own planting. If you sow to the Spirit, you will reap a harvest of blessing. If you sow to the flesh, you will reap a harvest of sorrow and adversity.
C. Ignorance of the law of sowing and reaping lies behind such trite phrases as, “We all have to sow a few wild oats,” or “Oh, go ahead, God will forgive you.” The world is full of heartbroken “reapers” who thought they could sow one thing and reap another. All too often comes the anguished cry, “Why didn’t someone tell me about reaping? Tell everyone it’s not worth it!”
02. What does it mean to sow to the Spirit?
A. The immediate context of Galatians 6 gives several examples of sowing to the Spirit. When you bear another’s burdens, you are sowing to the Spirit (6:2). When you financially support faithful teachers of God’s Word, you are sowing to the Spirit (6:6). The larger context of the book of Galatians teaches us many ways to sow to the Spirit. Obedience to Scripture is sowing to the Spirit. Expressing Christ-like attitudes is sowing to the Spirit. To manifest love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control is to sow to the Spirit (5:22-23). To be led by the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit is sowing to the Spirit (5:16, 25).
B. When you choose to forgive and not harbor resentful feelings, you are sowing to the Spirit. When you bring your imagination and thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ, you are sowing to the Spirit (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). When you refuse to tell something negative about another person (even though it is true!), you are sowing to the Spirit. Each time you speak the truth, honor your word, pay your bills, offer praise to God for His goodness, you are sowing to the Spirit.
03. What does it mean to sow to the flesh?
A. Paul lists many practices that illustrate sowing to the flesh. Such things as marital unfaithfulness, sexual impurity, indecency, sensuality, involvement with the occult, hatred, quarrels, fits of temper, selfish ambition, dissension, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and allowing other things to take God’s place in our life are ways one sows to the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Sowing to the flesh begins in the thought-life. Every time you hold a grudge, entertain an impure fantasy, wallow in self-pity, speak ill of another person, or fail to carry out your responsibilities through procrastination or laziness, you are sowing to the flesh. To be self-centered, critical of others, or envious of others is sowing to the flesh (Galatians 5:15, 26).
#. As a parent, you can sow a critical spirit within your children by finding fault with others. When your children grow up and begin to criticize you and reject your values, consider that you are reaping what you sowed.
04. What are the ultimate results of reaping what we sow?
A. Paul states that if you sow to the flesh, you will of the flesh reap corruption. “Corruption” speaks of physical decay and moral rottenness that ultimately leads to eternal death in Hell. If you sow to the Spirit, you will of the Spirit reap life everlasting. The essence of everlasting life is to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son (John 17:3; 1 John 5:11). As believers, we will enjoy this relationship throughout eternity on the New Earth.
B. If you fully reaped for all your sins, you would spend eternity in Hell. But God is gracious and full of mercy. He does not continue to punish His children for past sins. Yes, there will be reaping in this present life: some sins lead to disease and other sins destroy marriages and families. The Christian is not exempt from the law of sowing and reaping. But God is not adding up all your past sins and making sure you pay for all of them. He forgives sin. He deals with His children in love. Even when He chastens them, He is doing so in order to bring them back to a right relationship with Him (Hebrews 12:9-12).
05. What are some principles of the law of sowing and reaping?
A. You reap WHAT you sow.
01. If you sow wheat, you will reap wheat. If you sow a kindness, you will reap a kindness. If you sow a lie, unfaithfulness, or discord, you will reap the same. The warning, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” behooves you to be very careful what you sow.
02. Jacob deceived his father Isaac by using a goat to prepare him “venison,” convincing his aged and blind father that he was Esau. Years later, Jacob reaped this deceit when his sons used the blood from a goat smeared on Joseph’s coat of many colors to convince Jacob that Joseph was dead (compare Genesis 27:9-29 with Genesis 37:31-35). Jacob’s heart was broken and he mourned over the loss of his son. Without knowing the cause-effect relationship, he was reaping what he had sowed!
03. Paul persecuted many Christians before his own conversion. He later reaped great persecution for the Gospel of Christ (Acts 9:16; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27). Consider the connection between Paul’s role in Stephen’s stoning and the time Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 7:58; 14:19).
B. You reap in a DIFFERENT SEASON than you sow.
01. Notice that Galatians 6:7 starts by saying, “Do not be deceived.” Why does Paul begin with this warning? The answer is found in the fact that your reaping does not come immediately after you act. Because of this, you can be deceived into thinking that the reaping will not come. Ecclesiastes 8:11 says, “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.” If you could see the long-term results of your choices, you would always sow to the Spirit.
02. The harvest comes in God’s time—His appointed season. An example of this is seen in God’s judgment on Israel. They failed to obey the Sabbatical year law which required raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun.” Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.”
06. What are some implications of the law of sowing and reaping?
A. What you are tomorrow will depend on what you do today. Right now you are making choices that will affect the rest of your life. It is imperative that you sow good seeds of obedience. In the future, they will bloom into a harvest of righteousness, not just for you, but also for your children and grand-children. As the saying goes, “Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
B. It is easy to become discouraged in doing good. The harvest often seems a long way off. But you must remind yourself of the importance of perseverance. God promises that you will reap if you don’t give up.
C. Those in positions of influence are targeted by Satan because their sowing has the ability to touch many people.
Melwyn Misquitta is the founder of Witness Ministries, a non-denominational, Word of Faith Christian Ministry. Br. Melwyn is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
In 1999, the Lord touched the life of Br. Melwyn in an unique-miraculous way. Br. Melwyn, was paralyzed & during this illness, he was witnessed by a believer about the Word of God which stirred up his faith to receive complete – miraculous healing.
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