Sowing and Reaping
Galatians 6:7-8 ESV
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he 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.”
Not everyone who portends to have faith in Jesus truly has faith. Not everyone who professes the name of Jesus, and/or who goes through religious performance has genuine faith in Jesus Christ. For, just because one confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and says they believe in their hearts that God has raised Jesus from the dead does not mean one is saved, even though I know Rom. 10:9-10 says this, taken out of context.
But, we have to read scriptures in context to get the whole picture. We can’t pull a few verses out of context and build entire doctrines around them. We have to read all of Romans, and all of the New Testament, to get the whole picture. And, we have to read all the words that Paul wrote, not just the ones that make us feel good about ourselves. For, Paul claimed that he taught the whole counsel of God, which he did, so we need to read it all.
So, we can’t just make some outward confession of Christ as Savior. We can’t just “ask Jesus into our hearts.” We can’t just acknowledge Jesus and what he did for us on that cross. And, we can’t just accept his grace and forgiveness for ourselves, and then apply it to our lives on our own terms. We can’t apply the blessings of God to our lives absent of the cross of Christ in our lives, in other words. God is the one who sets the terms, not us.
For, when we set our own terms for our own salvation, and we decide what is true or not true, and when we seek to establish our own religion based on our own criteria, and yet pretend that we are sincere in our relationships with Almighty God, then we are mocking God. We are treating him with contempt. We are slapping him in the face when we set our own criteria for what constitutes our salvation from sin and our eternal life with God.
For, faith in Jesus Christ is not outward only. It is not a performance to look good to others. It is not an intellectual acknowledgment of what he did for us on that cross, either, or an intellectual exercise of studying his Word. And, it is not just words that we say or some emotional decision we make.
Knowing and Doing
Yesterday we read in James 1 about how we need to be doers of the word and not be hearers only – See Aborted Life. For, genuine faith in Jesus Christ is not just words, but it is action. It is not just what we profess with our lips, but it is what we do in love for God and in heart response to what he did for us. For, love is not what we feel, but what we do.
But, it is not just anything we choose to do for God. We have to do what He says. We have to die with him to sin, be raised with him to new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and we have to walk with him daily in his righteousness and holiness, and no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world if we want salvation from sin and eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14).
For, we are all going to reap what we sow, and what we sow is our actions and what we reap is the result of those actions. So, how we choose to live our lives, either in obedience to our Lord, or for our own flesh, will determine where we spend eternity, either with God, or in hell.
And, it isn’t like any of us live in absolute sinless perfection, so where God draws the line is with our lifestyles (habits, what we practice). If what we practice is of the flesh and for the flesh, to please ourselves, then what we will reap is destruction (decay, death). But, if what we practice (in lifestyle) is of the Spirit and in obedience to our Lord, then what we reap, i.e. the end result, will be eternal life with God (see also Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Rom. 2:6-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-26; 1 Jn. 2:3-6, etc.).
But, this isn’t about religious performance or about earning our salvation, either. The “doing” or the “actions” or what we “sow” has to be according to what God requires, not according to our flesh and what we determine.
So, a person can go through all the motions of having a genuine faith relationship with God but it be outward only, just for show, to impress others or to fool others into believing they are walking with God when they are still walking in the flesh. For, they are still the ones determining the course of their lives, or how they will spend their time, or even how they will “please” God, much like the Israelites of old tried to do. But, God was not pleased with their performances, for it was lip service only, but their hearts were far from God.
So, just saying here that a person can appear righteous outwardly but their hearts can be far from God.
As well, a person can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but if they don’t follow that profession with the actions that God requires of them, then their faith was not of the Spirit of God but of the flesh of man. So, to have genuine faith for salvation we need to do what God requires, and that faith submits to Christ as Lord and it dies with him to sin and it lives to him to his righteousness in the power and working of God’s Spirit living within them.
Galatians 6:9-10 ESV
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
So, the encouragement for us here is that we should not grow weary in doing good, but the good that God requires, not as we determine.
For, there are many “good deed doers” who don’t have genuine faith in Jesus Christ at all. And, we are not saved by our “good deeds,” as we determine them for our salvation. For, we cannot do anything to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We cannot work our way into heaven, in other words. So, being good, by our own terms, is not what pleases God.
Not long ago I became acquainted with the “Missional Movement.” On a surface read, it looks good. But, there are a lot of hidden messages contained within, and there is a lot of deception. There is a lot of “double-talk,” too, i.e. a mixture of truth and lies, made to look like truth outwardly. Sometimes the lies would be disguised by a display of scripture so that the subtle message was that what was being taught was related to the scripture, but not. John Eldredge, a famous Christian author, uses that technique, too.
Anyway, one of the things that caught my attention about this “Missional Movement” was how they described the sharing of the gospel of Christ. They said that we need to be the gospel, which is true. We do need to reflect Christ with our lives and shine his light with our lifestyles. But, that appeared to be the end all for the sharing of the gospel, i.e. I could not find where they stressed the actual teaching of the gospel to others.
What stood out to me was how they stressed good deeds to others as us being the gospel, but those deeds often were pretty surface level or even could be against God’s will and purposes. They weren’t all bad, though. Some of them were good things. But, some of them were about having neighbors over to watch a movie. That is not sharing the gospel.
So, what this is is a cheap grace gospel which fits right in with the one world religion, for it offends no one, for it is just about being “nice” to people so that we make them happy. But, it isn’t about sharing the true message of the gospel with them so that they can be saved from their sins and have the hope of freedom from slavery to sin resulting in eternal life with God.
So, although our faith is action, it is the actions that God requires. It is not about just being “good deed doers” and making people feel good. It is about death to sin and living to righteousness, and it is about sharing the truth with other people which will set them free from their prisons to sin.
When I Was Walking
An Original Work / January 16, 2020
When I was walking along the way,
My Lord was with me, and He did say,
“My child I’m with you. I hear you pray,
‘Oh, help me, Lord! Need You today!’”
He is my friend, near to the end.
Gently leads me. His servant be.
He helps me pray – knows what to say.
He’s all I need. On Him I feed.
When I am wond’ring of what to do,
He gently leads me to what is truth.
He is my helper. He strengthens me.
When I’m in want, supplies my need.
He comforts me with all His love.
Gives me His grace from heav’n above.
I heed His call to watch and pray,
To guard my heart throughout each day.
When He is calling to come to Him,
To let Him lead you, trust Him within,
How will you answer to Him today?
Will you say, “Yes, Lord, have your way”?
Do not neglect to let Him in,
Cleanse you from sin, made new within.
Leave all your sin, obey your Lord,
Trust in His Word – His mighty Sword.