“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
Jacob in the Book of Genesis is one of the first examples we have in the Bible of the law of reaping and sowing in action. He took advantage of his brother Esau’s carnality and pressed him to sell him his birthright for a bowl of soup (Gen. 25). He deceived his father, Isaac, and fooled him into giving him the blessing of the first-born son (Gen. 27:). It seems in his early life that Jacob sought to acquire those things which God intended for him through deception and guile.
Jacob sowed deception and only a few chapters later we see him reaping the same. Laban, his uncle, deals with Jacob deceptively throughout Genesis 29-31 and, no sooner does he escape than he finds himself having to pass right through Edom, the home of his brother Esau whom he deceived so many years before.
Jacob will eventually fall victim to the very same type of deception from his own sons culminating in the selling of his favorite son, Joseph, into Egyptian slavery (Gen. 37). Rather than dealing honestly with their father, the sons, of course, lie and deceive him about Joseph’s fate.
The tale of Jacob is one wrought with pain, sorrow, and regret. At the end of his life, he tells Egypt’s Pharaoh:
“The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” (Genesis 47:9)
And what of King David, the man after God’s own heart? His adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite, in order to cover up his indiscretion brought horrific consequences upon his household and would forever stain his life. The blood on David’s hands would severely limit the potential God had blessed him with and would alter the course which God had intended for him to walk.
Saul of Tarsus, the great persecutor of the early Church, would himself suffer greatly at the hands of those who would beat and cast stones at the body of the apostle, much as he had done to others. the Lord said of him when he was converted and became the Apostle Paul:
“For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”(Acts 9:16)
Paul’s own testimony in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 attests to the validity of the Lord’s warning.
The Biblical law of Reaping and Sowing is seldom talked about in the Body of Christ anymore. Because the Lord forgives our sins, we tend to forget that there are often temporal consequences for the sins we commit. We relegate verses like Galatians 6:7 to the unsaved and unrepentant. It is the lost sinner who will ultimately reap what he sows in the fires of Hell, we conclude. Yet all of the examples we have considered were, in fact, the Lord’s people! Jacob, David, Paul, and many others mentioned in the Bible who suffered likewise were servants of God who would reap the harvest of their actions. And the Book of Galatians was not addressed to lost sinners, but to a body of believers in Christ.
God does forgive our sins and, for those trusting in Jesus Christ, an eternity in Hell is not a consequence of those sins. But there are other consequences that we may suffer here on earth for our actions. Just because we have passed from death to life and are saved by the blood of Jesus in no way means that we can expect to get away with behaving however we please.
As we begin a new year, may all of God’s people be mindful of the words we say and the deeds we do. Let us begin afresh to sow things pertaining to godliness and holiness into our own lives and the lives of those around us. It does matter how we treat others and may we never be guilty of supposing that our access to the forgiveness of Christ enables us to fulfill the lusts of the flesh with impunity.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,
**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.
[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]