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The Bradley Church of Christ
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God is Not Mocked
By Jon W. Quinn


      What a strange thing for a title to say. “God is not mocked”? Have you watched TV recently? Truly awful things are displayed there mocking God and His will. Have you ever sat in a lecture given by atheist Madeline Murray O'Hara? Or don't you know what is often taught in psychology, sociology and philosophy classes at most universities in our nation? How can it be said that “God is not mocked”?

      And didn't Pharaoh mock God when he said, “And who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” (Exodus 5:2). And what of  the mockers that surrounded the cross of Jesus? (Matthew 27:41-43) and the soldiers who had earlier tormented Him (Matthew 27:27-31)? And are we not correctly told that “in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts.” (2 Peter 3:3).


The Text

      “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in good time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:7-9).


“Mocked”; The Definition

      “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked...” (Galatians 6:7a). 

      The Greek word translated “mocked”  is used only in this passage in the New Testament, though a closely related word is used of the soldiers who mocked Jesus. The word is “mukterizo” (mukthrzw), a verb in the present tense and middle voice. What this means is that literally Paul is saying that “God is not being mocked” by those who hold Him and His will in disdain.  Literally, it means to “sneer at”, “turn up the nose at”, “treat with contempt”.

      It would describe the attitude of the criminal who thinks he has gotten away with something. He is in his fast sports car and being pursued by the police. As he crosses the border out of their jurisdiction, he stops his car, gets out and taunts them. He's not afraid of them; he's gotten away with it and they are powerless to do anything about it. He has escaped judgment and punishment.

      Many people evidently think they have escaped judgment for sins. They think that they are presently succeeding in mocking God with no consequence. What they fail to realize is that God allows such not because He is powerless to stop it, but because He has appointed a time to rectify things, and that time has not yet arrived. It will, but in the meantime even the most foolish outrages are permitted to continue with hopes that another heart can be reached by the gospel and a soul saved before the Day arrives (2 Peter 3:8-10). Those who think otherwise are being deceived.


Sowing and Reaping

      “...for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7b,8).

      God has ordained that we reap what we sow. That seems fair, but often it does not appear to work out that way. Even Solomon had observed that many times people do not get what they deserve. He said, “I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.” (Ecclesiastes 7:15). He finally admitted his inability to figure it out, but also reaffirmed that there would come a time when God would right the wrongs and bring all things back into harmony with truth and righteousness; the righteous will receive according to their righteousness and the wicked according to their evil; “Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly. But it will not be well for the evil man...” and “The conclusion, when all has been  heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it be good or evil.” (Ecclesiates 8:12,13a; 12:13,14).

      This principle of reaping what one has sown is a spiritual principle which will not be thwarted, though sometimes it appears otherwise during our lifetimes here. And yet, we have a saying, “What goes around comes around.” which essentially says the same thing. Sinners reap much hardship today as a result of their sins, but the final reckoning is yet in the future. A person, though his own selfishness and greed may never know the warmth of a truly loving relationship with another human being. He may become wealthy and be surrounded by “friends” but he has lost much more than he has gained. How many have never known the love of God; His peace, mercy, joy and confidence. Has he really come out ahead?

      “The one who sows to the flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption.”  Sowing to the flesh means to carry out the deeds of the flesh. Pail lists them as “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorceries, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these... those who practice such things shall not enter the kingdom of God.”  Galatians 5:19-21).  The word “corruption”  is from the Greek word “phthoran” (yqoran).  It means “destruction, ruin, deterioration, loss”.  It would be used to speak of someone whose health and been ruined by a disease. The idea of a continuous process of deterioration is connected with this word, such as the ongoing decay of the physical world (Romans 8:21). The sinner destroys himself spiritually by corrupting his soul, and eternally by consigning himself to the eternal, ultimate ruin and depravity prepared for the devil and his angels.  (Matthew 25:41).

      “But the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.”  Sowing to the Spirit means to live by the Spirit and thus produce “the fruit of the Spirit.” This includes “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”  (Galatians 5:22,23).  For those who “walk by the Spirit” their destiny is “eternal life.”  This refers not only to the everlasting nature of our heavenly home, but also of the blessedness of the quality of life there.  Paul tells of the incorruptible nature of our new, spiritual bodies with which we will inhabit our new home (1 Corinthians 15:42-54).  Our present bodies of flesh and blood cannot inherit such a wonderful place. We must be changed. All will be made right (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:1).


Let Us Not Lose Heart

      “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9).

      It would be easy to lose heart without the faith and hope in our hearts that we will indeed receive of the promises of God. If it seemed as if there were no final reckoning and all our sacrificing was more or less in vain. It is when we lose sight of our goal that we are in the most danger (cf. Hebrews 12:1,2; John 14:1-3).

      The consequences of such lack of or loss of faith is plainly implied here. We reap only “if we do not grow weary.”  Some suggest by their doctrine that there is no “if” to it; that once one is saved he will reap whether he grows weary or not. But the Holy Spirit says “if” and so must we if we are to faithfully proclaim His word.

      But we do not intend on growing weary. Our hope is fixed on Jesus. We know the consequences of “sowing to the flesh” and desire to avoid them. To those that insist on mocking God; yes, sometimes they make us angry at the heartless, foolish words and actions they use in opposition to the Redeemer. But more than anger, there is a profound sorrow that they judge themselves unworthy of eternal life. We will reap what we sow.


Reprinted From the Bradley Banner    

Bradley Church of Christ

Bradley, Illinois

March 24, 1996


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