“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7)
On October 31, 1517, an obscure Augustinian monk in Wittenberg, Germany wanted the world to know the truth that he had seen in Scriptures based on a new understanding of Romans 1:17. “The just shall live by faith.” Little did Martin Luther know he would shake the world, or rather God would use him to set the world on fire by His Word.
The just shall not live by goodness, not by our own works, but faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9).
It is at this point that care must be taken. To believe that in justification by faith alone, in Christ alone, and by grace alone, does not mean that a person has no responsibility. The Bible is clear. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:7, 8).
The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace through faith alone, but the faith that saves is not alone, it is accompanied by good works. And the good works that must accompany salvation are built on the principle of sowing and reaping. What we sow, we reap.
There are fundamental laws to sowing and reaping.
First, there must be a sowing in order to reap. That is a simple, but important truth. It does no good to keep seed stored up forever. It must be used.
“During excavations at the site of Herod the Great’s palace in Israel in the early 1960’s, archeologists unearthed a small stockpile of seeds stowed in a clay jar dating back 2,000 years. For the next four decades, the ancient seeds were kept in a drawer at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University. But then, in 2005, botanical researcher Elaine Solowey decided to plant one and see what, if anything, would sprout.
“I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?” said Solowey. She was soon proven wrong.
Amazingly, the multi-millennial seed did indeed sprout — producing a sapling no one had seen in centuries, becoming the oldest known tree seed to germinate” (Natural Sciences).
There had to be a sowing before there was a reaping.
The same principle is true spiritually. If you want to know the mercy of God, then you must sow in righteousness.
The prophet Hosea said, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy.”
By putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior you will know the mercy of God. Therefore, “break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12).
It is wrong to think that a person can be verbally mean, emotionally cruel, and behave in a vicious manner to another person, or family member, and be blessed of God with righteousness. God does show benevolent mercy to such people. They might enjoy health, money, power, and popularity, but they do not have righteousness raining down upon them.
Has righteousness rained upon you? Are you clothed with the righteousness of Christ and of His Spirit? There will be evidence, for the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22, 23).
You can begin to sow spiritual seed today by seeking the Lord and asking Him to make you what you cannot make of yourself. Pray without ceasing, for that is the essence of dropping gospel seed petitions. “Lord, make me holy. Make me loving. Lord, give me your joy, and your peace. Dear Jesus, help me to be longsuffering, and gentle with others who hate and persecute me.”
You must sow before you reap. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Psalm 126:5).
Second, sowing must be done consistently, and according to a plan. “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted” (Eccl. 3:1, 2).
A person who would be a good musician must be consistent in practicing. The story is told of a hillbilly from South Carolina that went to New York City. He became lost, and asked a bearded man he saw, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” And the bearded man began to snap his fingers and sway as he said, “Ya gotta practice man, practice.”
A person who would be a good lawyer must diligently study the law. And a person who would reap a spiritual harvest must consistently sow, according to Divine design.
Have you been consistently sowing good deeds?
Have you been consistent in confessing all your transgressions, and repenting of sin?
Have you been sowing holy habits of faithfulness to Church, Bible study, prayer meeting, and other worship services?
Have you been sowing words of loving kindness and helpfulness?
Have you been sowing so you can reap the grace and mercy of God?
Third, there will be a reaping of what is sown.
There are people who sow wild oats, as the idiom goes. They engage in rebellious, or promiscuous behavior that is harmful to themselves, and hurts others. Some people might sow their wild oats during the week and then go to Church on Sunday, and pray for a crop failure, but that will not happen. One day they will reap what they have sow in the form of a broken heart, a diseased body, and a life of wasted years.
“Have you wandered along on life’ pathway?
Have you lived without love, a life of tears?
Have you searched for the great hidden meaning?
Or is your life filled with long wasted years?
Wasted years, wasted years, oh, how foolish
As you walk on in darkness and fear
Turn around, turn around, love is calling
Keeps calling you from a life of wasted years.”
There are people who do not want to sow wild oats any longer. They want to be good. Some are like Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, and founder of Samaritan’s Purse. Franklin Graham has said that he grew sick and tired of being sick and tired. He wanted to be different.
There are people who are weary of being deceived by Satan. Saul of Tarsus was among this group, and, as the apostle Paul, confessed it to Titus. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3).
Are you being foolish?
Are you disobeying God in some area of your life?
Are you deceived by the lure of finding pleasure in an inappropriate way?
Are you living in malice, or the desire to do evil?
Do you envy someone?
Are you acting in a hateful way to anyone?
Do you emotionally and consciously hate anyone?
These are the weeds of a life of flesh, and not the good gospel seed found in a life of faith.
The Bible says that a person who sows to the flesh through bad behavior, drug abuse, wrongful acts of sex, and too much alcohol, shall reap destruction and death. Proverbs 6 says that the worthless man shall suddenly be broken without remedy.
God will not hesitate to break a person emotionally, financially, or in health in order for them to learn the lessons of life they need, and be drawn to Him.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote,
“Though the mills of God grind slowly,
yet they grind exceeding small,
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all.”
–Translation of Retribution by Friedrich Von Logau
The Bible says, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23).
There is a way to escape being broken, and that is by being born from above. Only Christ can make a person new. Society cannot make a person good. Government cannot make a person good. Both have tried. Countless programs have been set forth, including economic equality, social parity, and strong laws against hate and prejudice. But morality cannot be legislated, only regulated. Only the Creator can make a marred person whole again.
Every marred person must be born again, and we are all marred by sin. We are born into the physical world, and so we must be reborn into the spiritual world. We must be twice born.
Once the new birth takes place there is the ability to sow to the Spirit. To sow to the Spirit means to do something specific.
First, be the kind of person Jesus was, submissive to the Father’s will, and obedient in all matters.
Second, seek biblical virtues, and practice them. “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14).
Third, honor all commitments large and small. Be a person of principle.
Fourth, keep the Commandments. Confess as sin any Commandment that is violated in word, thought, or deed. The Bible says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Prov. 28:13).
Fifth, depart from evil, and do good. “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).
There is a fourth principle associated with sowing and repeating. Ignorance of what is sown will not keep a person from reaping. The Law prohibited Israel from sowing their fields “with mingled seed” (Lev. 19:19). In life, there are people who are sowing with mingled seed. They want to have a little bit of religion, and a little bit of the world.
They do not want to be wholly ungodly, but neither do they want to be totally righteous and good. Jesus talked about a sower sowing seeds, but then Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts (Mark 4:15).
The conclusion of the matter is that when a person sows to the world, the flesh, and the Devil, they will reap Hell. There will be hell on earth in the form of emotional trauma, and hell in eternity as they are separated from all that is good.
On the Cross Jesus conquered sin and death. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil” (1 John 3:8). 1 John 4:4 says, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
The fifth principle of sowing and reaping is to expect a harvest. It is no surprise to a farmer when a good crop is produced, provided he has done his job properly. The same is true spiritually. Those who sow to the Spirit will not be disappointed, or surprised when their prayers are answered, they enjoy the gifts of God, and go to heaven when they die. Those who walk by the Spirit should expect new power to live a Christian life, and have love, and joy, and peace never known before. God cannot lie. Jesus has promised to give life and that more abundantly to those who follow Him.
Why not commit yourself afresh to following Christ? Why not begin anew to sow to the Spirit pure gospel seeds? You will reap more than you sow.
This is true for good and bad. Some people are surprised at how well the Devil pays off. Speaking to his generation, Hosea said, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hos. 8:7).
“Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go,
keep you longer than you wanted to stay,
and cost you more than you wanted to pay.”
In contrast, Jesus will take away your sin, keep you by His grace, and offer you His love, peace, and mercy without price. “ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1).
Sin never loved you, but Jesus does.
Sin never died for you, but Jesus did.
Sin never gave you freedom, but Jesus sets the prisoners free.
Come to Christ. Sow spiritual thoughts, words, and deeds and reap an eternal reward, more than you ever imagined.