Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.…
Liability to imposture is perhaps inseparable from human frailty; the best of men have been numbered with its victims. Upon no subject is deception more common — upon none more fatal than that of our accountableness to God.
I. LIFE IS A SOWING TIME. This view of life exhibits it as —
1. A season of mercy. Seed-time is the gracious, the covenant boon of Heaven: forfeited by man's original transgression, it was restored in virtue of that dispensation of mercy disclosed in the first promise to the fallen; again held in abeyance, whilst the waters of the deluge covered a polluted world, the sacrifice of faith availed to the renewal of the benefaction in terms more distinct, and ratified by a sign, visible to all the nations and coeval with all the successive generations of man.
2. A season of anxious toil. It imposes upon the husbandman the necessity of diligent and laborious exertion; nothing must discourage him from his occupation. Such a season is human life. Idleness, either in respect to temporal or spiritual things, is utterly incompatible with the circumstances or the destiny of our race.
3. A season of limited duration. The seed-time occupies but a comparatively small portion of the year; it is soon over and gone. "And what is your life?" (James 4:14.) The comparison reminds us that life is —
4. A season of immense importance. The sowing season neglected would entail upon the husbandman, and all dependent upon his exertions, certain ruin. Life is the only time wherein the seeds of immortal bliss can be deposited, and the soul prepared for heaven.
II. ALL MEN ARE SOWERS. Men are active and voluntary agents. Their minds are active. Their passions are active. Their bodies are active. Their influence is active. Men are accountable creatures — necessarily so. Universally so. Consciously so.
III. THE SEED IS OF DIFFERENT KINDS. NOW all those actions must be denominated fleshly seed, which are the natural produce or fruit of the flesh (Romans 7:5). "The old man," our carnal nature, "is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts," and "that which is born of the flesh is flesh." The seed may be attractive in its colour; it may appear clean and free from admixture; but whilst it can boast no higher origin than the natural stock, it is to all intents and purposes fleshly seed. "Marvel not that I said unto you, Ye must be born again." Again; all those actions demand this appellation, which are intended to realize carnal satisfaction. Hence it will appear, that those actions only deserve to be classed as spiritual seed, that proceed from the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, and that are performed with a sincere desire to please and to glorify God. Some of these exercises of mind are delineated in Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12.
IV. EVERY MAN MUST REAP. He cannot employ a substitute, or devolve the consequencies of his actions upon others. He cannot evade or refuse the task. Self-annihilation is impossible, and the field will present itself in every part of the man. Self-oblivion will be impossible, and memory will yield a prolific harvest.
V. THE CROP WILL BEAR A CLOSE RELATION TO THE SEED SOWN. As to its nature or quality. "He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption," disappointment, shame, misery, eternal death (Job 4:8; Hosea 8:7; Matthew 7:18, 19; Revelation 21:8); "He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting," a life of perfect purity, celestial peace, exalted intelligence, immortal joy (Psalm 17:15; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 7:14, etc.). As to its extent. The subject impresses the necessity of regeneration. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Parallel VersesKJV: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.