The One Who Sows to the Flesh,
Will Reap Corruption
DIG: Who ultimately deceived the Galatian believers? Why is it important to declare the whole purpose of God? Who is the supreme deceiver? Can believers be guilty of mocking God? How so? Why does God discipline His children? What does sowing to the flesh refer to? What does sowing to the Ruach refer to? Why does Paul need to remind us that our labor in the Lord is not in vain?
REFLECT: What kind of spiritual crop are you sowing? If we can only reproduce our own kind, how many believers have you won to Messiah? How can you know that you will reap a good crop? How can you sow to the Ruach this week? Who do you know that is sowing a harvest of corruption? Are you praying for them? How can you help them? Are you looking for opportunities to do good to others? Why? Why not? Are there any particular changes the Ruach is moving you to make?
The Galatians who had abandoned grace for legalism were warned that if they did not put themselves under the ministry of those teachers who lead them into grace, they would reap a harvest of corruption.
As he gives the Galatian believers some final spiritual words, Paul employs a well-known law of botany – that a given seed can only reproduce its own kind – to illustrate God’s parallel and equally unbreakable laws in the moral and spiritual realms: Do not be deceived – God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he also shall reap (6:7a). It was as if the wayward Galatians were saying to themselves, “It’s not important which teachers we listen to, Paul and the pastors from the Galatian churches, or anti-missionaries from Jerusalem.” Thus, they had already deceived themselves, being led astray (3:1) by the Judaizers into thinking that obedience to the 613 commandments of Moshe, represented especially by circumcision, was necessary for a right standing before God (2:15-21, 3:2-3, 4:8-11).
Mocked (Greek: mukterizo) means to turn up the nose, to ridicule, to ignore, or to sneer. The word when used rhetorically, referred to the betrayal of covert ill-will and contempt by cynical gestures in spite of superficially kind words. It implies an outward profession of respect neutralized by an indirect expression of contempt. The thought which Paul wanted to press home to the misguided Galatians was that it was useless to think that they could outsmart ADONAI by reaping a harvest different from that which they had sown. Paul, therefore, reminded them that they could not outsmart God in doing so, for it would lead to disaster in their lives and discipline from the hand of Ha’Shem.163
The great danger of false teachers of any age, is not only in their evil teachings, but in their being taught God’s truth. A person who teaches false doctrine in the name of the Adversary, or simply on the basis of his or her own authority, seldom has much influence, especially in the Church. It has always been and will continue to be false teachers who claim to teach in the name of God who are the most destructive. But evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived (Second Timothy 3:13). During the last days, Yeshua said, such deceptive teachers will multiply greatly in both numbers and influence. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen (Matthew 24:24). That is why it is so important to declare the whole purpose of God (Acts 20:27), not only for the building up of the Church, but also for protecting it against being weakened by false teachers. Believers who are ignorant of Scripture are extremely vulnerable to the schemes of the great dragon. The Word of God is not only our food, but our armor as well (Ephesians 6:10-17).
The supreme deceiver, of course, is the Adversary, who, whenever he speaks lies he is just being himself – for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Our Lord assures His children that the destroyer’s demise is certain, that the ancient serpent, called the devil and Satan, [will be] seized and bound for a thousand years in the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3). But in the meantime he is the great Adversary, whose main purpose is to deceive and destroy. In Galatians 6:7b-10, Paul drives home the point that even believers can become guilty of mocking God (see the commentary on Revelation, to see link click Bc – The Church at Thyatira), and that being saved does not exempt them from the inescapable consequences of the basic principles of sowing and reaping. Discipline is not inconsistent with love. It is lack of discipline, in fact, that is inconsistent with love (see the commentary on Hebrews Cz – God Disciplines His Children).164
False doctrine is a very serious business. To put a professed believer out of fellowship, to excommunicate him, would be to deliver him over to Satan for the destruction of his fleshly nature, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Yeshua (First Corinthians 5:5). Satan is the ruler of this world, and turning a believer to him, therefore, thrusts the misguided believer back into his own world, apart from the care and support of fellowship of the congregation from which he came. That person has forfeited his right to participation in the Church of Yeshua Messiah, which He intends to guard at all costs. The word deliver (Greek: paradidomi) is a very strong term indicating the judicial act of sentencing, or handing over for punishment. The sentence passed on a believer infecting others in the body with false doctrine is to be delivered over to Satan. Paul excommunicated Hymenaeus and Alexander because of their continued and unrepentant blasphemy. They were spreading a false gospel and Paul delivered them over to Satan to be disciplined and not blaspheme (First Timothy 1:20).165
Believers have only two fields in which they can sow, that of the flesh and that of the Ruach. The flesh refers to the believers’ fallen nature, which awaits the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23). Those who sow to the flesh pander to its evil desires instead of letting the Ruach subdue it. They submit to its passions instead of overcoming it.166
For the one who sows to (Greek: eis, meaning with a view to) the flesh will reap corruption from the flesh (6:7b). Sowing with a view to the fallen nature refers to the act of a person choosing those things which will satisfy the cravings of the totally deprived nature. In this context, these words refer to the Gentile Galatians who, in following the teachings of the Judaizers, catered to the desires of their fallen nature. All false doctrine is adjusted to appeal to the fallen nature of mankind, satisfying his instinct for worship, while at the same time allowing him to go on in his sin. The teachings of the Judaizers catered to the fallen natures of the Galatians in that they made no demand for the necessity of regeneration nor for faith in Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross that paid for sin. In addition, their teachings stressed legalism, a salvation-by-works religion, which glorifies mankind, not ADONAI. This could only lead, Paul says, to corruption in their lives.167
Having provided the scriptural principle supporting his argument, Paul now proceeds to apply it to the Galatians’ specific circumstances. But the one who sows to the Ruach will reap from the Ruach eternal life (6:8). On the other hand, those who choose their course of conduct with a view to fulfilling the wishes of the Ruach ha-Kodesh, are the believers who reap the blessings of eternal life (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ms – The Eternal Security of the Believer) which ADONAI has given. The believer who is preoccupied with the things of God, rather than the fleshly things of this world, will produce the fruit of the Ruach (5:22-23). To sow to the Ruach is the same as to walk by the Ruach (5:16), to be led by the Ruach (5:18), and to be filled with the Ruach (Ephesians 5:18). It is the same as living in Messiah and in His Word, and having His words live in us (John 8:31 and 15:7). It is the same as walking in Messiah (Colossians 2:6) and focusing one’s mind on the things above, not on things of this earth (Colossians 3:2). It is the same as presenting one’s body as a living sacrifice – holy, acceptable to God and not being conformed to this world but being transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2).168
For those who walk and sow to the Ruach, the fruit of patience (5:22) often seems among the most elusive (see the commentary on Hebrews Cy – We Are Surrounded by a Great Cloud of Witnesses). Many believers become discouraged with spiritual sowing because the harvest is often long in coming. In the face of this reality the apostle told the Galatians, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we don’t give up” (6:9). Lose heart (Greek: is from enkakeo) and give up (Greek: is from eklou) both convey the idea of becoming exhausted and giving up. They are the opposite of being steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord – because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (First Corinthians 15:58).
Therefore, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good toward all (Proverbs 3:27). The exhortation is not merely to do good to others when the opportunity presents itself, but to look for opportunities to do good to others. The word do (Greek: ergazomai), which emphasizes the process of an action, carrying with this the ideas of continuity and repetition. It means to labor, to be active, to perform, with the idea of continued action. Good (Greek: agathos) has the definite article in front of it. In other words, Paul was speaking of a particular good, the good. It is the agathos goodness of moral and spiritual excellence that is a fruit of the Ruach (5:22), not simply a goodness limited to physical or temporal things. It is internal goodness produced by the Ruach ha-Kodesh in the hearts of obedient believers, which then finds expression in external goodness spoken by their mouths and carried out by their hands. It is also a good that is to be shown toward all, including unbelievers (First Peter 2:15). One of the best ways to silence the criticism of our faith in Yeshua is for us to do good to unbelievers. Loving concern will do more than any debate. The heart of every believer should be kindness (Titus 2:7-8).
As important as doing good to unbelievers is, however, it is especially to be demonstrated to those who belong to the household of faith (6:10). The first test of our love to God is our love for His other children, our brothers and sisters in Messiah (First John 3:14). If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: that the one who loves God should also love his brother (First John 4:20-21).169 Such love only believers can give and receive, since it grows out of having the Ruach ha-Kodesh.
This passage then speaks clearly about our social responsibility, but it should be noted that it is addressed to individual believers. The church is not an agency for social work, although individual believers are charged to minister in this way as they are able and have opportunities. Repay no one evil for evil; give thought to what is good in the eyes of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in shalom with all people. Never take your own revenge, loved ones, but give room for God’s wrath – for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine; I will reply,” says ADONAI. Rather, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing so you will heap coals of fire upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Roman 12:17-21).170
What is so important about winning a race? Is it more than the feeling of pride/joy as you race over the finish line? What about the joy of entering heaven for eternal joy and peace? Isn’t that what should be our greatest joy? Or should we look forward to heaven and also have a deep desire to live our lives here so that we have a gift of thanks to give to our great Savior for all he did to suffer in taking our punishment for sin?
When we do a good deed, we must be careful that it is done with a humble heart to God’s glory. God does not see a man as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but ADONAI looks into the heart (First Samuel 16:7c). Even when someone does something very good, Ha’Shem still looks at the heart and rewards only when the person whose attitude is to honor God. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear. For the day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work—what sort it is (First Corinthians 3:12-14). Someone may do good deeds that make him look good, but God sees to heart to see who the first love is in each person’s heart. In the hearts of all ADONAI’s children, God rules on the throne. Many know about YHVH and delight in His love; but believing is so much more than head knowledge. Receiving/believing means accepting Jesus as Lord/Master of their life. But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12). What a kind, gracious and loving master you always are! Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we drive out demons in Your name and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’”(Matthew 7:22).
Dear Heavenly Father, Praise You for Your loving, kind heart and that as a father he loves to bless/reward his children who serve him with godly attitudes. We look forward to serving you on earth with such a godly heart that when we get to heaven we will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful with a little, so I’ll put you in charge of much. Enter into your master’s joy!” (Matthew 25:21).
Praise You for God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5c). We rejoice that You will never leave us for the gift of Your always abiding presence is Fantastic!
Praise and thank You for being such a wonderful and caring Father. Thank You that: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His mercy for those who fear Him, As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalms 103:11,12).
We want to love You back so we gladly give You control of all that touches our lives. We will not pull away from problems, but will lay them in Your lap thanking You for Your help and glad that You use our trials not to hurt us but to bless us and to bring You glory. These trials are so that the true metal of your faith (far more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire) may come to light in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah Yeshua (First Peter 1:7). We love to serve You, doing good for Your glory and honor. In Your holy Son’s name and power of resurrection. Amen