Open your Bibles with me tonight to Paul’s letter to the Galatians. We will begin by reading chapter 6 verses 7 and 8: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
There is a relationship with what we have just read to verse 6; however, in addition to several issues of interpretation with that verse that I would have to unravel for you, our purpose this evening is such that it is best to avoid it altogether. Context is always important, of course, but you can take what I say tonight and apply it back to verse 6, and there will be no problem. Also, I am unsure that we will be able to cover verse 10 the next time, but it is also true with this verse that you can take what I say, and apply it there.
So let us turn our attention first to verses 7 and 8. Paul would like to make sure that people do not have a false assumption about their condition, what would happen to them, or how God would treat them. He tells us not to be deceived. Deceived about what? He says that we are not to be deceived about the fact that God cannot be mocked. Then he talks about sowing and reaping, and he tells us that if you sow to the flesh, then from the flesh you will reap destruction. But if you will sow to the Spirit, then from the Spirit, you will reap life everlasting.
This warning, this admonition, suggests a troubling reality in the hearts of men, namely, that there are those who are deceived about these simple truths that seem so obvious to us, at least in our more sober, spiritual moments. What are they deceived about? They are deceived about the things that Paul is now telling us not to be deceived about. In other words, they are deceived into thinking that God can be mocked. They are deceived into thinking that they can sow to the flesh and not reap destruction. Maybe some of them even think that they will reap life everlasting, even though they sow to the flesh.
On the other hand, maybe some people are deceived into thinking that they can sow to the Spirit and not reap life. Why do they think this way? And what does the apostle Paul have to say about them? These people are also deceived, and we will briefly talk about them later. First, we will talk about those who think that they can mock God with impunity.
Whenever a person thinks that he can sow to the flesh and not reap destruction, he falls under the kind of deception that Paul here tells us to avoid. Specifically, there are a number of ways that one can succumb to this kind of deception. A person may be self-deceived, so that he convinces himself to believe something that is untrue. Or, someone else may have a big part in convincing him of the falsehood. Whatever the case may be, a person who is deceived in the way that we are now considering has a false conception of his own spiritual condition. He says to himself, “It is well, it is well with my soul,” when it is not true.
A person may be deceived into thinking that the things he’s doing are not really sinful. In his own thinking, he may subtly alter the meanings of the words that the Bible uses to describe sin. He may interpret the words that the Bible uses – that is, to distort them – in such a manner, so that it takes much more than what he is doing before he would fit the description of a wicked sinner. Another person might not deny that the things that he is doing are sinful according to biblical terms. But no matter how much of these sinful acts he performs, and no matter how often he performs them, he is convinced that he is still a Christian, and that God will still welcome him into heaven.
Then, there are those who seem to understand what the Bible says about sin, and they do not object to its definition of sin. So they understand that what they’re doing are sinful, and that they are living a sinful lifestyle. Moreover, they may not even deny that they are yet unsaved. With some of them, the deception is that they always think that they have more time. But the deception is still greater than this, in that they think that they will actually use this time to eventually turn back to God.
One preacher told a story about a young man he encountered, and it aptly illustrates what we are saying here. I am not quoting him exactly, and so the details may differ somewhat. The young man mentioned that he was going to visit the town where the preacher resided, and so the preacher invited him to attend his church, the one where he was the pastor. But this young man replied, “No, I attend church here at home, and I’m happy with that, but I’m not going to your church.” Surprised, the preacher asked, “Why not? What’s wrong with my church? Why won’t you come?” The man explained, “Well, if I come to your church, I might get saved.” At this, of course, the preacher was astonished, and so he pressed on: “What do you mean? I would think that you would want to come so that you can get saved.” The young man said, “But that’s the problem: I don’t want to get saved. I don’t want to get saved, because there are still a number of things that I would like to do, and if I get saved now, I won’t be able to do them anymore.”
“No, I don’t want to get saved now,” he continued, “but this is what I’m going to do: I’m going to keep on doing what I would like to do, and I’m going to enjoy myself and pursue my desires and ambitions. And after a number of years, perhaps at the end of my life, when I have done all that I would like to do, then I will get saved.” As one would expect, the preacher became quite indignant, and challenged him, “Why, do you plan to make a fool out of God?” At this, the young man looked at the preacher and said, “Yes. Yes, this is exactly what I am going to do.”
We are horrified at this young man’s unabashed irreverence, but the truth is that many people are doing the same thing – they’re trying to make a fool out of God. They’re trying to pursue interests that the Bible forbids. They try to maintain a set of priorities that God disapproves. They try to indulge in desires that are contrary to the law of God. But they say to themselves, “I still have time. I’m going to get saved later. For now, I’m going to enjoy myself, and then after that I will settle down.” In this way, many people try to fool God. They try to cheat him. They may not be as blatant as this young man, but that’s because they are not as “honest” – or, really, as stupid and irreverent – as this young man. It is not that this young man is any better, but that both kinds of people are bad and sinful, and both will be condemned to hell.
I have known and ministered to people who are, in principle, no different than this young man. These people were given ample attention, and detailed explanation of the truths of God. I have spent many hours ministering to some of them. I have written them long letters to expound the faith and to answer their questions. I have sent them the only copies of some of my books to educate and mature them in the faith. I have spent many hours on the phone with some of them, dismantling their spiritual bondage, and encouraging them to good works and to live a zealous life.
Some of these people were seemingly established in the faith for a while, but then something happened to them, and from that point forward they drifted back into the world. I say that they “drifted” because each time it was a slow process, and at least with these people that I’m thinking of right now, it was never a violent and total change, although each time there was a definite turning point. What at least partly explains their backsliding was that, each time something would happen to the person that required him to rearrange his life and reassess his priorities. The backsliding would begin at this point when the person decided to put worldly things first instead of continuing to devote their energy to pursue the things of God and seek the kingdom of God.
One of them might have started a new job, and his new job required much more time from him than the previous one. To excel on this job, it required his total commitment, so that he was either going to demonstrate inferior performance, or he was going to have to place other things aside in favor of this new job. Then, another one might have started a new business, and the same thing would happen. Another person might have gotten married, and the same thing would happen. Then, this person became a parent and spiritual things became even less important to him.
Like I said, the turn was never violent, that is, at least with these people that I’m thinking of right now. None of them said, “I’m denouncing the faith. I do not want to be a Christian anymore. So from now on I’m not going to read my Bible. I’m not going to pray. I’m not going to seek God, and I’m not going to consider the welfare of the ministry and the church.” None of them said anything like this, but the thinking went something like, “I am new at this job in which I have yet to prove myself. I’m not used to the many needs and demands of this new job, not to mention the unfamiliar people that I now have to deal with. So I’m going to work through this present crisis – I don’t think it will take very long – and after that I’m going to have more free time. And then I’ll direct my attention and energy back to the things of God and my spiritual well-being. I’ll get back to study and prayer, and ministry and the church.” But while they waited, they drifted further and further away from the faith, and from the lifestyle that they used to know.
You see, these people were deceived. Jesus said that we are to seek first the kingdom of God, but these people believed that they could put something else first – for a while at least – and then go back and put the kingdom of God first again. Surely God could not ask for more? But they were deceived – God cannot be mocked. God cannot be cheated, and what every man sows that shall he reap. A man who continues to sow to the flesh will from the flesh reap destruction. This is a principle that he can never escape, that he can never run away from. And this is a principle that will never fail. If you continue to sow to the flesh, you will reap destruction.
But you say to me, “Don’t you believe in the biblical doctrine of predestination? If God has chosen them for salvation, then they will surely be restored and come back to God.” Of course I believe this, but by what means will God bring them back? It is by his Word and by his Spirit. It is precisely by a warning and by an admonition such as this one that Paul gives us, made effective by his Spirit, that God will bring back the elect, that God will awaken the elect’s spiritual senses.
But in one of his letters, Paul tells us that some people return to the world, because they love the world more than they love God (2 Timothy 4:10), and some people love money more than they love God. Scripture’s warnings might not awaken these people, but the word of God will always have some effect on anyone who hears. If it is not a positive and edifying effect, then it will be a negative, hardening, and destructive effect. So when the reprobate hears, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. A man reaps what he sows,” he will not react in the same way as someone whose heart has been changed and is being worked on by the Holy Spirit.
But he might still feel a challenge, and he might still feel a threat. He might sense the wrath of God hanging right above his head. He might feel a spiritual burden, but he will refuse to yield, because the Holy Spirit has not given him a heart of flesh, and all that he has is a heart of stone. So he will do the only thing that he knows to do, and that is to suppress the truth in unrighteousness, and to quiet and quench his conscience. For this he will receive an even greater damnation, and this is the will of God for the reprobate.
Once I was trying to convince a friend to leave a cult, but he told me that he had invested some money, about $900, into a strange project initiated and maintained by the cult, and he was reluctant to leave all of that money behind, so that he was unwilling to leave at least until he could get all that money back. I told him that since he was willing to sell his soul for $900, I would pay him $1,000 to buy his soul. Although I considered that a lot of money, I told him that if he would agree to the deal, that’s how much I would pay him. But the deal would be that if I were to pay him the $1,000 to buy his soul, then I would own him forever, and he would have to leave the cult and do whatever I say from that point forward. After all, there would be little difference than when he was with the cult, except he would be $100 better off. He saw the point and left the cult. But later, he drifted away from the faith, and from me as well. Could it be that that incident revealed what was really in his heart, and what was really important to him?
But God cannot be mocked, and a man will reap what he sows. If he continues to sow to his flesh, then from his flesh he will reap destruction. He cannot escape it. He cannot run away from it. He cannot work around it. He cannot cheat it and outsmart it. This is because God cannot be mocked. He knows all things, and he judges all things, and he has determined that whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. God will see to it that this happens.
You understand that we’re not talking about karma. We’re not talking about some impersonal law – some law that is established in the universe that anybody can operate or manipulate. Rather, we are talking about a personal God, a personal judge, who has revealed to us his holy demands. And he tells us that anything is a lie that would convince us that we could sow to the flesh and not reap destruction. Any teaching that would tell you that you could sow to the flesh and still reap life is a lie. It is a deception. It is a false doctrine. And any teaching that tells you that you can cheat God, and change his holy law and his holy judgment is deception and blasphemy. It will lead only to eternal perdition.
So do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. You cannot make him a fool. You cannot manipulate him. You cannot make him your clown. Of course, you can always try, but there will be consequences, and you are deceived if you think you can escape them. But if you would know the truth, then know this: God is not mocked, and if you sow to flesh, then you will reap destruction.
Last time I spoke on Galatians chapter 6 verses 7 and 8. There the apostle Paul tells us, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” These verses imply the disturbing reality that there are people who are indeed deceived about this obvious truth. They are deceived into thinking that God can be mocked, and that one can sow to his flesh and not reap destruction.
There is another place in Paul’s letters where he uses the phrase, “Do not be deceived,” and if for no other reason than to further our understanding on this passage in Galatians, it will be worthwhile for us to take a look at this other passage. I have in mind First Corinthians chapter 6, and when you get there, you can read with me, verses 9 and 10. He writes, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Here Paul again tells us not to be deceived, and the thing that he does not want us to be deceived about is the fact that “the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God.” And so we are again faced with the disturbing reality that people can be deceived about something as clear and as obvious as this, so that they would think that the wicked will indeed inherit the kingdom of God. Their thinking about right and wrong, about what pleases God, and about what God requires from them, is the very opposite of what God has revealed.
So lest anyone be confused, and lest anyone be deceived, Paul wishes to make his point clear, and that is the unalterable fact that “the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Notice that Paul says it twice. He says it once in verse 9, and then after giving us a list of specific types of sinners, he says it again at the end of verse 10. He says again, “the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God.” He is saying, “Do not be deceived. Make no mistake about this. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. And don’t you dare think differently. The wicked it will never, never, never inherit the kingdom of God. God will not welcome them into heaven, but he will send them to hell to be punished and tortured forever.”
And notice that here he does not give us only a list of sins, but he gives us a list of the people identified by the sins. Our society often separates the people from their actions, and if they condemn wickedness at all, they tend to condemn the actions, but excuse the people, perhaps as victims of their upbringing and circumstances. This twisted way of thinking has infiltrated the church and its theology, so that many believers even think that “God hates the sin, but he loves the sinner” is part of the gospel.
In one biblical dictionary, one scholar pointed out that the Hebrews did not separate the people from their actions, but from this premise, he immediately concluded that therefore God hates the sin but loves the sinner. I can’t tell you exactly what was happening in his mind when he wrote this, but this conclusion is the very opposite of what the premise produces. You see, the premise came from his studies, but his conclusion came from his ingrained assumption that God cannot hate anyone in any sense. This assumption, of course, came from the world, and is now taught through the church. It was so much a part of this biblical scholar, that although his premise logically demanded the opposite, he blindly assumed that it led to his conclusion.
And this is how many people read the Bible today, they assume that their current beliefs are true and right, so that they think whatever they read from the Bible will lend support to them, even if the Bible teaches exactly the opposite of what they believe, and even if it condemns their beliefs and actions as wicked. Christians also often think this way because they have been influenced by the world. They have remaining sin in their hearts, and their minds are not yet completely renewed by the word of God. So, whether we are examining ourselves or helping somebody else, we must use the word of God to break through this spiritual blindness. This deception is real, potent, and stubborn. And so Paul emphasizes to us twice, that the wicked cannot inherit the kingdom of God. In all your thinking about God, sin, and salvation, don’t get this wrong, and don’t compromise this point.
If the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God, then who are these wicked people? Is someone wicked because he eats meat? Is someone wicked because he believes in capital punishment? Is someone wicked because he disciplines his children? Is someone wicked because he preaches the gospel, and “imposes” his beliefs on other people? Well, this seems to be what many unbelievers think today. And because the church has been weak in resisting their influence, even many professing believers seem to think so as well.
But Paul tells us who these wicked people are. They are fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, and homosexuals. They are the greedy, they are thieves, they are crooks, and they are drunks. In other words, the wicked people are what the unbelievers consider as normal people. The wicked people are the non-Christian people, and those whom non-Christians approve or even glorify.
Do not be deceived. These people will not inherit the kingdom of God. They will not enter heaven. If you are a fornicator, you will go to hell. If you are an idolater, you will go to hell. If you are an adulterer, you will go to hell. If you are a homosexual, you will go to hell. And if you are a fornicator, or an idolater, or an adulterer, or if you’re a homosexual, don’t think that you will enter heaven that way – that is, without repentance and faith – because you will not enter. You are one of the wicked people that God will send straight to hell when you die.
And the same goes with those of you who are greedy, those of you who are thieves, those of you who are crooks, and those of you who are drunks. Don’t think that you can enter heaven that way. You may hope, and you may assume, but God is telling you that you will not enter heaven as an adulterer or a homosexual, and he is telling you that you will not enter heaven as a thief or a drunk. If you think otherwise, then you have been deceived, and you must stop taking comfort in your delusion, but wake up to the truth instead.
It is true that Paul is addressing the church. In verse 8, he says, “Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.” So what Paul says to the Corinthians ought to serve as a severe warning to them. As he says to them in another place, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
There is one school of thought that maintains that God has one set of requirements for his people, and another set of requirements for those who do not know him. In other words, according to this way of thinking, something like the Ten Commandments were given to the people of God, and so they reason that God never said that the Gentiles could not fornicate and commit adultery, or worship idols. Even some professing Christians believe this and think that God’s moral laws have been given to believers only, because they have been saved by grace, and because they have received revelation from God. Certainly, they think, the same set of requirements cannot apply to others.
As a matter of fact, this is just not true. Even in the Old Testament, the prophets hold the Gentiles accountable for breaking God’s moral laws, including such things as idolatry and adultery. And Paul says in the first and second chapters of his letter to the Romans that the Gentiles had the law of God written on their hearts. So the same moral requirements have been imposed upon both believers and unbelievers. Fornication, adultery, idolatry, homosexuality, thievery, greed, and all things that the Bible calls sins, are sins for both believers and unbelievers.
We do not have time to make a detailed digression on this issue, but what Peter wrote ought to settle it: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?'” (1 Peter 4:17-18). So unbelievers are not exempt from God’s moral laws, nor are they exempt from believing the gospel, but because, according to God’s sovereign and active reprobation, they break God’s moral laws and reject his gospel, their damnation is sure.
But of course, Paul is not saying that only Christians must not be adulterers and homosexuals, for his point is precisely that these people cannot be saved and that these people are wicked, and that these people are unbelievers. He says to the Corinthians, “Why are you acting like the unbelievers? Don’t you know that the wicked will not enter heaven? Don’t be unclear about this. Don’t be deceived about this. Wicked people like fornicators, adulterers, idolaters, and homosexuals will never inherit the kingdom of heaven.”
Then, he continues in verse 11, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” He says, “some of you were these people.” Of course, he says “some” because although all were sinners, he has not given a complete list of sins or sinners. The point is that the wicked cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, and some of these Corinthians were these wicked people that Paul listed. But they were changed. He says, “But you are washed, you were sanctified, you were justified.”
In the Greek, the word “but” appears before each verb, and the same is true with the word “you.” The New International Version and the English Standard Version have the word “you” before each verb, but they do not repeat the word “but” before each verb. The more literal translations on this verse are the King James Version, the New King James Version, and the New American Standard Bible. So the proper translation should be, “But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified.” By repeating the words “but” and “you” before each verb, Paul emphasizes the difference between Christians and non-Christians, the difference between the righteous and the wicked, and the difference between the saved and the unsaved: “The wicked are that way, and they will not enter heaven. But you are this way – God has made you this way – and you will enter heaven.” To blur or to deny this distinction is to be deceived.
So there is hope for the wicked, since these Corinthians that Paul is writing to were once such wicked people, but God changed them by his grace. So there’s hope for the wicked, but they cannot enter heaven as they are. The deception that Paul is talking about is to be confused on this point. If you’re one of these wicked people, there is hope, there is a way out. These sins can be forgiven – you can be forgiven. But that is it, isn’t it? To receive forgiveness, you can no longer justify your sins, and you can no longer ignore the fact that you’re a sinner. You need forgiveness, and it is found only in Jesus Christ.
Our passage mentions homosexuals, and since this is a much debated topic in our day, I would like to quickly say something about it, and to use it as an example, as we think about the other kinds of sinners that this passage mentions. We do not have a lot of time left, so I cannot be exhaustive about this.
There are a number of arguments by which homosexuals seek to justify themselves. They say, “We love each other.” But what is the definition of love? If we define love as the Bible does, as obedience to the moral law of God in our relationship with God and with one another, then the homosexuals do not love one another. In fact, the Bible says that they lust after one another and use one another. They say, “We are not hurting anyone.” But what is the definition of hurt? And why is right and wrong judged by whether an action hurts another person? They call their behavior an “alternative lifestyle,” and indeed it is, for it is an alternative to decency and righteousness.
They say that they are born homosexuals, so that they really have no choice in what they become. And if they have no choice about it, then it could not possibly be wrong – at least one can never say that it is their fault. But this assumes a necessary relationship between freedom and responsibility, and as I have repeatedly refuted this assumption, showing that it is both unjustified and unnecessary, I would not say anything more about this right now.
But there is something related to this that I would like to mention, and that is the way that many Christians have tried to handle this argument. Because the homosexuals have tried to use scientific arguments to prove that sexual orientation is determined by birth and not by choice, many Christians have tried to deal with them on that level, so that they have tried to use scientific arguments against the belief that homosexuals are born homosexuals. For example, one battle may be fought over what DNA research can tell us about this.
As in many similar cases in debate, I say that the whole battle is pointless. Rather, I can answer the homosexuals with a plain, “So what?” So what if a person is a homosexual by birth and not by choice? What difference does it make? The question is whether homosexuality is a sin and not what makes a person a homosexual. If a person is a homosexual by birth, then all this means is that God made this person into this particular type of sinner by birth. But this does nothing to change the fact that homosexuality is a sin.
It is indeed possible for homosexuals to change, but this has nothing to do with whether homosexuality is genetically determined. That point is completely irrelevant. Paul says that the wicked people who will not inherit the kingdom include homosexuals, and then he reminds the Corinthians that some of them were homosexuals, so that they were among those people who could not inherit the kingdom of God. But then he adds that they have been washed, that they have been sanctified, and that they have been justified.
Given the assumption that people’s theories about genetics is correct in the first place – an assumption that has no rational justification – it does not matter whether a person is a homosexual by birth. Even if homosexuality is genetic, it makes no difference to God – he can still change the person. Therefore, even if I yield the entire scientific aspect of the debate to the homosexuals, I can still say to them, “So what?”
The homosexuals, of course, go much further than trying to justify themselves, and saying that they’re not doing anything wrong. They go on to portray themselves as victims, and then as heroes, and as reformers, as pioneers against discrimination and injustice. Some would even claim that God is on their side all the way, and that he is even behind them and supporting their cause. They have convinced themselves that lust is love, that depravity is decency, and that rebellion is reformation.
The sodomites said concerning Lot, “now he wants to play the judge!” (Genesis 19:9), and this is another argument that the homosexuals use against us. They say, “Who are you to judge us?” Well, I know full well who I am, who we are, and also who they are. I am an ambassador of Christ, sent to preach and to enforce his word with spiritual authority. We are the people of God, and the apple of his eye. And as Paul says, we are even to judge angels, and it would seem that “even men of little account in the church” (1 Corinthians 6:4) should be competent enough to judge a matter as obvious as homosexuality. As for them, we also know who they are – they are the wicked people that Paul says will never inherit the kingdom of heaven, that is, unless they repent and change.
Of course we must not give the false impression that we are teaching salvation by works or by personal holiness. And certainly salvation does not come by just not being a homosexual, but the problem is whether homosexuals admit that they are sinners and that they need Christ at all. The fatal spiritual problem is that they do not admit their sin and their need. Instead, many of them are hardened, and even boast against the command of God, saying that, “We have done no wrong. God is on our side.” They say, “Peace, Peace. God will not judge us. We are in the right, and they are in the wrong. We are the victims, and then we are the heroes, and we are reformers. As for these people who oppose us, they are full of hate and prejudice.” As long as the homosexuals think this way, they will remain far from the kingdom of heaven.
In Romans chapter 1, Paul mentions those who are given over to shameful lusts. He says, “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (v. 26-27). And then, he says in verse 32, “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
It is for this reason that God’s wrath is poured out upon them. Today there are many, including some who call themselves Christians, who might not be homosexuals themselves, but they have taken up the cause to promote acceptance of homosexuality in the church and in society. Some of them might not be homosexuals themselves, but they approve and encourage those who are homosexuals. These people will share in the condemnation that God will pour out upon the homosexuals. What would God do with a person who votes to keep a homosexual pastor or to ordain a homosexual?
Sometimes people rightly point out that the Bible condemns all kinds of sins, and not only homosexuality. This objection has been repeated so often, and the church has answered it so weakly, that it has been at times effective in neutralizing the church’s condemnation against this abomination. When we are talking about homosexuality, we should insist that it is a sin that will keep a person out of the kingdom of God; in other words, it will send him to hell. Rather than weakening our outrage against this particular sin because of the objection that the Bible mentions many other sins, we should increase our outrage and then broaden it to include all sins.
The truth is that all sins lead to hell, and that any sin would keep a person out of the kingdom of God. If not for the sovereign grace of God, all of us would be excluded from the kingdom of heaven. So let us remind ourselves of the passage from Galatians once again. There, Paul says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
What is your excuse for putting off spiritual things? What is your excuse for putting off repentance? Hurry, and seek him while he may be found. Some people say to themselves, “He will wait for me. He will be there when I’m ready.” Yes, but maybe you won’t be there. Maybe you will never be ready. The “prodigal son” came back to his father because “he came to his senses” (Luke 15:17). And Scripture tells us elsewhere that it is the Spirit of God that awakens the elect to his spiritual senses. Some people try to sound clever, and say, “He will forgive me. After all, that’s his job.” But if we can speak this way about God at all, then it is also his job to condemn people like these. God will not mocked. You cannot make a fool out of him.
Now we are out of time. But before we conclude I would like to mention another kind of deception that we can find in our passage from Galatians chapter 6. Paul says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.” But you see, Paul does not stop there, for he continues to say, “the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
In our struggle for personal holiness and in our fight of faith, there is sometimes the temptation to become discouraged, or to think that we will not reap God’s blessings. But just as the sinner is deceived into thinking that he will not reap destruction, this temptation to discouragement is based on a deception.
So the apostle exhorts us in verse 9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Today we are not deceived. We are sure that God is not mocked. We are sure that a man will reap what he sows. We are sure that a man who sows to his flesh, from his flesh, he will reap destruction. And we are not deceived, because we know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. We know and we are sure that fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, and homosexuals, as well as thieves, liars, and slanderers, will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
So now do not be deceived, for the same principle works in a positive direction as well. If we would not grow tired, if we would not grow complacent, if we would not become discouraged, and if we will continue to do good, and do what God has commanded us to do, then we will surely reap a harvest of life and glory at the proper time. The writer of Hebrews says that “anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (11:6). Such is the nature of true faith, the kind of faith that will sow to the Spirit and reap life everlasting.