“7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked. For whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
“mocked” (Gr. mukterizo – 3456)
To turn up the nose at with contempt, to sneer at, scoff at, deride, treat with ridicule.
It’s the idea of making a fool of God. It’s a universal law of God that whatever we sow we will reap the same thing. Therefore, those who sneer at this universal law of God and think that they can sow and not pay a price for it, are very much deceived. God cannot be made a fool of.
What is Paul referring to here? Within the context he’s been talking about the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:19-25). In the previous verse Paul refers to our responsibility before God, and how each one of us will give an account of our lives to Him. He elaborates on this in the next verse:
“8 For the one who sows to his own flesh, from the flesh will reap corruption; but the one who sows to the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
If we sow, by way of lifestyle, to our sinful old nature, we will “reap corruption.”
“corruption” (Gr. phthora – 5356)
Destruction, ruin, to perish, deterioration, decay.
Paul is contrasting “corruption” with “eternal life.” There is no getting around the obvious meaning here. The opposite of eternal life is eternal death (spiritual destruction, to perish in hell).
We are saved by faith, and we are kept saved by faith. However, we must consider the character of faith. Faith reveals itself in one of two ways. Either it will reveal itself as a true faith or as a false faith. True faith is always characterized by faithfulness. Those who profess faith in Christ, but are living habitually sinful lives, are “deceived” in thinking that what they have is true faith. Our words may say one thing, but it’s our lives that speak the truth. Those who teach that we can be “saved” and live any way we like, are “deceived” in thinking that such a one is secure in their salvation. It’s not the truth. The way we live our lives reveals the true nature of our faith. A sincere faith in Jesus Christ is demonstrated by a life that is sincerely surrendered to His will as Lord and King. Our lifestyle reveals the true nature of our heart before God.
“the one who sows to the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
Sowing to the Spirit refers to living a life that is in harmony with the Spirit. When we “walk in the Spirit” or are “keeping in step with the Spirit,” we are sowing to the Spirit. When we rely upon and yield to the Spirit of God for power to live the Christian life, we are sowing to the Spirit. When we sow to the Spirit, we reap the fruit of the Spirit. We also reap “eternal life.” Such a one demonstrates a true, sincere faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If one does not have a genuine faith, there is no reason or motivation to live in obedience to God.
“9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Paul has been talking about the kind of lives we’re to live, and how we’re to treat each other as those who belong to Christ. So now he is instructing us not to give up, but to keep on keeping on, for one day we will reap what we have sown. Faithfulness reaps eternal rewards. Perhaps you’ve heard this phrase:
“Only one life will soon be past, and only what’s done for Christ will last.”
“10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
“Sowing to the Spirit,” means that we’re all about doing good to our fellow-man, especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ. As Christians, we’re family. Family members take care of one another. We’re to encourage each other in the faith. We’re to teach each other, and to pray for one another. We’re to help in meeting each other’s needs. The Christian life is a selfless life. It’s a life that is committed to Christ, lived out in the world and in service to God’s people.
“11 See how large my letters are in writing to you with my own hand.”
Earlier in this letter, Paul refers to a “physical ailment,” that he had, and also mentions that the Galatian Christians would have “plucked out their eyes and given them to him” (Gal 4:12-15). With that in mind, it may be that Paul had a problem with his eyesight, and because of that, he had to write this letter with “large letters.”
The following verses may provide an indication of why Paul made that statement:
“12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh, try to compel you to be circumcised in order to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.”
The Judaizers taught a faith-plus-law type of gospel, with a focus on circumcision. They did so, at least in part, in order to avoid being persecuted by the Jews, which could involve physical pain and suffering, and perhaps death. However, Paul willingly and gladly subjected himself to pain and suffering in order to present the truth of Christ, that others might be saved.
The physical abuse that Paul suffered may have done damage to his eyesight. If that is true, then his mentioning of the “large letters” that he used in writing this letter, was a testimony of his faithfulness to Christ and to the true gospel message. If he was not preaching the truth, then he would not have suffered persecution (Gal 5:11). However, he had on his body the “marks of Jesus” (Gal 6:17), the bodily harm that was inflicted upon him for preaching the message of faith….as opposed to the law.