Having a Change in Behavior

Galatians 6:7-8 ESV

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

Cautions and Warnings

Paul wrote this to the Christians in Galatia. He had just finished giving instructions on what to do if a fellow believer in Christ was caught in any transgression. And a transgression (or trespass) is a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; a sin, i.e. to fall back into sin. If a fellow Christian is caught in sin, has fallen back into sin, or is trapped once again by sin, one who is spiritual, who is walking in holiness, should attempt to restore the fallen brother or sister back to a walk of obedience and righteousness.

But there was a caution with this. If we are the one who is attempting to restore a fallen brother or sister back to a walk of faith and to righteous living (recommended male with male and female with female), we need to keep watch on ourselves, lest we too be tempted. Why? Because we live in a sinful world, and we still live in flesh bodies, and so we are still tempted to sin, and we still have the propensity to sin. And if we are not careful, we could indeed fall back into sin. So armor up before you attempt this (Ephesians 6:10-20).

Okay, then we have this warning to not be deceived, for God is not mocked, for we are all going to be judged by God one day on the basis of our deeds (our works, our actions). And we are all going to reap according to what we have sown. And this is not the only time this is taught, either. So, if you are believing that your one-time decision to believe in Jesus is going to guarantee you heaven when you die regardless of how you live, think again. The Scriptures do not support that philosophy (see below).

Breaking it Down

So, let’s break this down (looking at its parts). Jesus said if we are going to come after him we must deny self, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for Jesus’ sake we die with Christ to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, then we have eternal life with God (see Luke 9:23-26).

And the Scriptures teach that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness, and that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him who died and was raised from the dead. And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our bodies. And he gave his life up for us that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to righteousness.

[1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 6:1-23]

So the purpose of our salvation is not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. God’s purpose in sending his Son Jesus Christ to that cross to die for our sins was to transform us and to turn us from darkness (sin) to light (righteousness, Jesus) and from the power (and control) of Satan to God, to coming under the control of God and his Spirit, that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified (made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ (see Acts 26:18; cf. 1 John 1:5-9).

Therefore, if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God and against our fellow humans, and if we do not repent (turn from our sin to follow Jesus in obedience), and if we do not walk in obedience to our Lord in righteous living, and if we do not love our fellow humans and fellow Christians, we do not have eternal life with God. We don’t know him, and he is going to say to us, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

So, if we sow to please our flesh, from the flesh we are going to reap destruction (death). But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life with God. This is what these Scriptures teach, and others like them. This is the consistent teaching of the New Testament Scriptures that we must be those who are walking no longer according to the flesh but who are walking (in conduct, in practice) according to (in agreement with) and in cooperation with the Spirit of God and his work of grace in our lives.

If this is how we live, we have eternal life with God and our salvation will be complete when Jesus returns and he takes us to be with him forever. But if we live to please the flesh, instead, we will die in our sins, regardless of what we have professed with our lips or thought we believed in our hearts. It is what the New Testament Scriptures teach consistently and repeatedly, and you can read them for yourselves. And then take them seriously, please.

Happiness is the Lord

By Ira F. Stanphill

Happiness is to know the Savior
Living a life within His favor
Having a change in my behavior
Happiness is the Lord!

Happiness is a new creation
Jesus and me in close relation
Having a part in His salvation
Happiness is the Lord!

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