#182 “WHAT ARE YOU SOWING AND REAPING?” (GALATIANS 6:6-8)
- 6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. In vs. 1-10, Paul ends his letter by encouraging the Galatians that as they “walk in step with the Spirit” they ought to support and care for those in the family of God. Through the illustration of sowing and reaping, Paul expresses how Christians are to support their teachers (v. 6), live moral lives (v. 8), and build community (v. 10). Taught the word—The Mishnah does support an interpreter of the Scriptures to receive payment but there is no permitting of payment to those who teach the Scriptures. Paul opposed this rabbinic mindset and encouraged Christians to take care of their ministers. Share all good things—The word share comes from the GK word koinonia (“fellowship”) and carries the meaning of “giving generously.” The context implies the giving of spiritual, moral, and monetary things. The body of believers cared for each other’s needs and provided material goods and financial support to their spiritual leaders (Lk. 10:7; Rom. 15:27; 1 Cor. 9:1-14; Phil. 4:14-19). NRSV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, “Teachers in early Christian communities, unlike many ancient moral teachers, did not normally charge fees or depend on patrons; that model was probably not economically viable for most house congregations, so teachers did not depend on their congregations for their support. Nevertheless, believers should be generous toward them. Some find here also a hint of Paul’s collection for Jerusalem (perhaps 2.10; see 1 Cor 16.1; with Gal 6.7–9, cf. 2 Cor 9.6–10), although the principle here is probably more general.” Paul writes to the Romans, “For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings” (15:27). Paul tells Timothy elders who are leading and teaching in the church ought to be compensated for their ministry work. “Let the leaders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17). Teacher—The GK word is katēcheō, “to instruct; report; to teach.” The title is derived from catechist, which we get the title “instructor.” Based on this description given by Paul, the early churches in Galatia seem to be receiving formal training in the basic tenets of the Christian faith from instructors.
- 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Paul builds off his advice on benevolence (v. 6) with an immutable principle from God (v. 7). Do not be deceived—People may fool themselves into believing God’s laws don’t apply to them. But they do. God is not mocked—Anyone who sows to the flesh will reap a harvest of devastation. It is unavoidable. The consequences of sin can never be altered. Whatever one sows—Paul presents a common proverb and agricultural principle of “sowing and reaping” to underscore the power of making right decisions (Pro. 11:18; 22:8; Hos. 8:7; 10:12).
- 8 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. He is warning the Galatians that their profession of faith must line up to their actions. Reap corruption—The description of rotting or decaying food. Eternal life—This expression has to do with the abundance of life on earth. Feeding on the flesh leads to an impoverished spiritual life. But those who live by the Spirit, will receive peace, and reap eternal rewards in heaven. In 5:19-23, Paul gave a contrast between the flesh and the spirit: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”