Galatians 6:8. 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.
Every year in my backyard we try to grow a few vegetables in our little garden. Some years it works (sort of) and some years not so much. There is always some uncertainty whenever spring rolls around and we plant for the new season. But one thing that we are never uncertain about is whether the seeds we plant will grow into that same plant. We always wonder how many tomatoes will grow, and we wonder if the bugs or animals will eat them all before we do. But we never once wonder if our tomato plants will reap tomatoes. Or will this be the year that our tomato plants suddenly grow cucumbers? Nope. We’ve never had that worry. Why? Because you reap what you sow.
This universal rule began at creation. Clearly it is built into nature. Sow apples, reap apples. Sow corn, reap corn. But this rule goes deeper into the spiritual realm of good and evil. Sow good, reap good. Sow evil, reap evil.
The law of Moses was born from this same sowing and reaping principle. Sow obedience, reap blessing. Sow disobedience, reap cursing. Law is always a strict cause-effect system. A system that we decided we wanted way back in the Garden when we ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God gave us the Mosaic Law to reveal our failure in this cause-effect system. What the Mosaic Law taught us, for 1500 years, is that no one can live within this kind of a system. Everyone failed. Moses failed. David failed. Daniel failed. Esther failed. The Pharisees failed. The Galatians were failing. We all fail at managing our own life. We have all sown disobedience and deserve to reap the curse.
In addition to our individual sinfulness, we also live in a fallen world. Therefore, the sowing-reaping system often fails us. Maybe you’ve seen good people reap cursing, and bad people reap blessing. Asaph wrestled with this problem in Psalm 73:3 – For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. And what about Job, David, Ruth, Paul, and of course Jesus. These were all people who reaped suffering despite sowing good.
The cause – effect system of the law just doesn’t work. Not in real life. Why? Because (to review) we fail to consistently sow righteousness and reap its blessings. And we live in a fallen world where sowing righteousness often just results in cursing, and heartache, and trouble (like at the cross).
But in Christ there is a new sowing and reaping that never, ever, ever fails – the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Why is Galatians 6:8 so important for us to understand? Because when everything in the natural world is failing us, we can know that in the spiritual world the pattern of sowing and reaping still holds because of the redemptive life of Christ inside of us. The cause-effect pattern of the law will either destroy you or it will fail you because of sin. But the life of the Spirit will never destroy you and it will never fail you.
If you sow to the Spirit, you WILL reap from the Spirit all the realities of Christ’s eternal life. Every single time. Period.
If you sow love, you will reap love. If you sow joy, you will reap joy. If you sow peace, you will reap peace. Faith is rewarded. Receiving grace does bring growth. Beholding Christ does transform us. Always! No exceptions.
This isn’t works. The seed of the spirit that you are sowing is already graciously implanted in you. The seed of love, joy, peace is already yours to sow.
Oh, and if you sow to the flesh…corruption.
If you are sowing your good behavior or your own adherence to Christian principles in order to reap a change in your situation, well, there is no guarantee that anything will change. But what is guaranteed is that this kind of sowing to the flesh will destroy you on the inside, it will bring corruption, like all law keeping does.
“To live is Christ” is to give up the control of the cause- effect system of law keeping. And in its place to adopt the control forfeiting faith of sowing to the Spirit. Which is guaranteed life. Christ’s life growing in you, reaping a harvest of love and grace for all eternity.
Where can you see yourself trying to live from a fleshly sowing and reaping (control)?
You in Christ
Where can you see sowing to the Spirit in your life?
Christ in you
How can you sow Christ into the lives of others?
Playlist: Songs of sowing and reaping.