Galatians 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
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(7) Be not deceived; God is not mocked.—It is all very well for you to make large professions to which you do not act up. These may deceive others, but do not let them deceive yourselves. Do not think that God will allow you thus to mock Him.

It might seem, perhaps, as if the language of this warning was almost too solemn for the occasion (an exhortation to liberality towards teachers), but the Apostle has in his mind the wider scope that he is going to give to his treatment of the subject. In this—and indeed in all this—”with what measure ye meet, it shall be measured to you again.”

Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.—Compare especially 2Corinthians 9:6 : “This I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully,” where the same metaphor is used in reference to the same thing—liberality in almsgiving.

Galatians 6:7-8. Be not deceived — As if he had said, It is an easy thing for interested men to find excuses for the neglect of this and other liberalities, which are required for the support and propagation of the gospel of Christ; but do not delude yourselves in this or any other such matter, by the treachery of your own hearts, which may more fatally impose upon yourselves than upon any others. For God — Who searches all hearts, and observes all external circumstances; is not mocked — Or, to be mocked by such vain pretences, although they attempt to mock him, who think to reap otherwise than they sow. For — As in the natural, so in the moral world; whatsoever a man soweth — Whether it be good or bad, whether he be liberal or sparing in it; that shall he also reap — The return shall be answerable thereto, both with respect to the kind and degree of it. For he that soweth to his flesh — That yields to his unhallowed passions and appetites, and follows the desires of his corrupt nature; or that employs his substance, time, and thoughts, merely or chiefly in gratifying and indulging the flesh, or for the satisfaction of his own bodily necessities, conveniences, or pleasures; shall of the flesh — Out of this very seed; reap corruption — The utter destruction of his soul and body. But he that soweth to the Spirit — That follows the Spirit’s guidance in his dispositions, words, and actions, and, under the influences thereof, employs his abilities of body and mind, his time, talents, and possessions, to promote true religion in himself and in those about him; shall of the Spirit — By his continued assistance and grace, and as the fruit of what is thus sown; reap life everlasting — When he shall leave the world, his immortal spirit shall inherit eternal felicity; and whatsoever his portion may be now, he shall be fully recompensed at the resurrection of the just, (Luke 14:14,) when all the hope of the sinner is perished.

6:6-11 Many excuse themselves from the work of religion, though they may make a show, and profess it. They may impose upon others, yet they deceive themselves if they think to impose upon God, who knows their hearts as well as actions; and as he cannot be deceived, so he will not be mocked. Our present time is seed time; in the other world we shall reap as we sow now. As there are two sorts of sowing, one to the flesh, and the other to the Spirit, so will the reckoning be hereafter. Those who live a carnal, sensual life, must expect no other fruit from such a course than misery and ruin. But those who, under the guidance and influences of the Holy Spirit, live a life of faith in Christ, and abound in Christian graces, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. We are all very apt to tire in duty, particularly in doing good. This we should carefully watch and guard against. Only to perseverance in well-doing is the reward promised. Here is an exhortation to all to do good in their places. We should take care to do good in our life-time, and make this the business of our lives. Especially when fresh occasions offer, and as far as our power reaches.Be not deceived - That is, in regard to your character, and your hopes for eternity. This is a formula of introduction to some admonition that is especially weighty and important. It implies that there was danger that they would be deceived in reference to their character. The sources of the danger were the corruption of their own hearts, the difficulty of knowing their true character, the instructions of false teachers, etc.; see the note at 1 Corinthians 6:9.

God is not mocked - He cannot be imposed on, or mocked. He knows what our real character is, and he will judge us accordingly. The word rendered "mocked" (μυκτηρίζω muktērizō), means, properly, to turn up the nose in scorn; hence, to mock, or deride, or insult. The sense is, that God could not be imposed on, or could not be insulted with impunity, or successfully. To mock is, properly:

(1) To imitate, to mimic: to imitate in contempt or derision.

(2) to deride, to laugh at, to ridicule.

(3) to defeat, or to illude, or to disappoint.

(4) to fool, to tantalize - Webster.

Here it cannot mean to imitate, or to mimic, but it refers to the principles of the divine administration, and must mean that they could not be treated with contempt, or successfully evaded. They could not hope to illude or impose on God. His principles of government were settled, and they could not impose on him. To what the reference is here, is not perfectly plain. In the connection in which it stands, it seems to refer to the support of the ministers of the gospel; and Paul introduces the general principle, that as a man sows he will reap, to show them what will be the effect of a liberal and proper use of their property. If they made a proper use of it; if they employed it for benevolent purposes; if they appropriated what they should to the support of religion, they would reap accordingly. God could not be imposed on in regard to this. They could not make him think that they had true religion when they were sowing to the flesh, and when they were spending their money in purchasing pleasure, and in luxury and vanity.

No zeal, however ardent; no prayers, however fervent or long, no professions, however loud, would impose on God. And to make such prayers, and to manifest such zeal and such strong professions, while the heart was with the world, and they were spending their money for every thing else but religion, was mocking God. Alas, how much mockery of God like this still prevails! How much, when people seem disposed to make God believe that they are exceedingly zealous and devoted, while their heart is truly with the world! How many long prayers are offered; how much zeal is shown; how many warm professions are made, as if to make God and man believe that the heart was truly engaged in the cause of religion, while little or nothing is given in the cause of benevolence; while the ministers of religion are suffered to starve; and while the "loud professor" rolls in wealth, and is distinguished for luxury of living, for gaiety of apparel, for splendor of equipage, and for extravagance in parties of pleasure! Such professors attempt to mock God. They are really sowing to the flesh; and of the flesh they must reap corruption.

For whatsoever a man soweth ... - See the note at 2 Corinthians 9:6. This figure is taken from agriculture. A man who sows wheat, shall reap wheat; he who sows barley, shall reap barley; he who sows cockle, shall reap cockle. Every kind of grain will produce grain like itself. So it is in regard to our works. He who is liberal, shall be dealt with liberally; he who is righteous, shall be rewarded; he who is a sinner, shall reap according to his deeds.

7. God is not mocked—The Greek verb is, literally, to sneer with the nostrils drawn up in contempt. God does not suffer Himself to be imposed on by empty words: He will judge according to works, which are seeds sown for eternity of either joy or woe. Excuses for illiberality in God's cause (Ga 6:6) seem valid before men, but are not so before God (Ps 50:21).

soweth—especially of his resources (2Co 9:6).

that—Greek, "this"; this and nothing else.

reap—at the harvest, the end of the world (Mt 13:39).

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: this to terrify those who find out vain and false excuses to save their purses; he adviseth them not to cheat themselves, for though they might deceive men, yet they could not deceive the all-seeing and heart-searching God.

For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; further to encourage them to this communicating, he mindeth them, that what they distributed in this nature, was no more lost than the seed is which the husbandman casteth into the ground; which in its season springs up, and returneth into the husbandman’s hand with increase. This metaphor of sowing is made use of also, Proverbs 11:18 2 Corinthians 9:6, to express men’s actions; and lets us know, that our actions, when done, are not done with; but as our bodies shall rise again, so what we have done in the flesh shall be revived and judged; whatsoever, either for quantity or for quality, men sow, the same shall they reap: as to quantity, he had said in 2 Corinthians 9:6, that he who soweth sparingly should reap sparingly, and he who soweth bountifully should reap bountifully: as to quality, he here further addeth:. {see Galatians 6:8}

Be not deceived,.... By false teachers, who, in order to engross all to themselves, dissuaded the Galatians from communicating to their honourable pastors, and faithful ministers of the word; or by themselves, who being of a tenacious and covetous disposition, devised various things to excuse them from performing this their duty to the preachers of the Gospel; as that they had families of their own to maintain, that their circumstances were such that they could give little or nothing this way, and the others, who were of better abilities in life, ought to bear this charge; and with such like things endeavoured to satisfy their consciences in the neglect of their duty: but this was all self-deception, for

God is not mocked; nor will he be; men may deceive themselves, and others, with such excuses and false appearances, yet they cannot deceive God, who knows their hearts as well as their worldly substance, and that the omission of their duty arises not from want of ability, but from a covetous temper; and who looks upon withholding from his ministers that which is due unto them as mocking of him, and which he will not suffer with impunity:

for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap; as to kind, quality, and quantity, generally speaking; if he sows wheat he reaps wheat, if he sows barley he reaps barley; no man can expect to reap another sort than what he sows; and if it is good seed he may hope for a good crop; and if he sows bountifully, he shall reap bountifully; but if he sows sparingly, he shall reap sparingly; and if he sows nothing, he can never reap anything. This is a proverbial expression, and may be applied to all actions, good and bad, and the reward and punishment of them, and particularly to acts of beneficence, and the enjoying of the fruits thereof; See Gill on 2 Corinthians 9:6.

{6} Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

(6) He commends liberality towards the poor, and first of all chides those who were not ashamed to pretend this and that, and all because they would not help their neighbours, as though they could deceive God. And afterward he compares alms to a spiritual sowing which will have a most plentiful harvest, so that it will be very profitable: and compares being a covetous miser to sowing carnally, from which nothing can be gathered but such things as fade away, and eventually perish.

Galatians 6:7. A warning to the readers, in respect to this necessary moral fellowship, not to allow themselves to be led astray (by the teachers of error or otherwise), with very earnest reference to the divine retribution. This nearest and easy connection makes it unnecessary to refer back to the whole of the section from Galatians 6:1 onward (Wieseler).

μὴ πλανᾶσθε] See on 1 Corinthians 6:9.

Θεὸς οὐ μυκτηρίζεται] God is not sneered at, that is, mocked; He does not submit to it. See the sequel. This mocking of God (a more forcible expression of the idea πειράζειν Θεόν) takes place on the part of him who, by immoral conduct, practically shows that he despises God and accounts nothing of His judgment. On μυκτηρίζειν, properly, to turn up the nose (comp. Horat. i. 6. 5; Ep. i. 19. 45), and then to deride, comp. Sueton. Claud. Galatians 4 : σκώπτειν καὶ μυκτηρίζειν. Sext. Emp. adv. math. 1:217; Job 22:19; Proverbs 1:30; Proverbs 12:8; 3 Ezr. 1:51. Comp. also μυκτήρ, Diog. L. ii. 19; Lucian. Prom. 1; μυκτηρισμός, 2Ma 7:39; and μυκτηριστής, Athen. iv. p. 182 A, v. p. 187 C.

ὃ γὰρ ἐὰν σπείρῃ κ.τ.λ.] Proof for Θεὸς οὐ μυκτηρίζεται. The identity between the kind of seed sown and the kind of fruit to be reaped from it (τοῦτο, this, and nothing else; for instance, from the sowing of weeds no wheat) is a figurative expression for the equivalent relation between moral action in the temporal life and the recompense at the judgment. Comp. 2 Corinthians 9:6. The same figure is frequently used as to recompense, Hosea 8:7; Job 4:8; Proverbs 22:8; Sir 7:2; Plat. Phaedr. p. 260 D; Arist. Rhet. iii. 4; Plut. Mor. p. 394 D; Cic. de orat. ii. 65: “ut sementem feceris, ita metes.”


7. Men who, like Ananias and Sapphira, seek to obtain credit for liberality, while keeping back that which is due to the Church and cause of God, may impose on their fellow-men, and may fancy that they can impose upon God. But they are themselves the victims of self-deception. They are moreover treating God with contempt. Yet He is not deceived, nor will He relax in their favour the universal law of His moral government, that as is the sowing, so also will be the reaping.

mocked] There is a terrible rebuke implied in the choice of this word. It is far stronger than ‘deceived’. The word means ‘to sneer at’, and here denotes not merely the attempt to impose a cheat upon another, but the open gesture of contempt for one who is an easy dupe.

for whatsoever … reap] A proverb found in Classical writers, and used by St Paul with verbal variations, 2 Corinthians 9:6. See some striking observations in F. W. Robertson’s Sermon on this text.

Galatians 6:7. Θεὸς οὐ μυκτηρίζεται) The verb is in the middle voice. God does not permit empty promises to be made to Him [empty words to be imposed on Him: lit. smoke to be sold to Him, “Sibi fumos vendi”]. The expression, which is by no means common,[62] seems to allude to the LXX., and indeed to Proverbs 12:8, νωθροκάρδιος μυκτηρίζεται, so that the meaning is: God is not ΝΩΘΡΟΚΆΡΔΙΟς, slow of understanding [like the man in Proverbs], but judges truly, and does not keep silence without a purpose, or for ever; Psalm 50:21. They endeavour to mock Him, who think thus: I will sow to the flesh, and yet I will persuade God to give me the harvest of life.—ὁ ἐὰν, whatsoever) whether bad or good.—σπείρῃ, a man soweth) especially of his resources; 2 Corinthians 9:6.—ἄνθρωπος, a man) any man.—τοῦτο, that very thing).—θερίσει, he shall reap) The epistle seems to have been written in the time of harvest. Proverbs 22:8,—ὁ σπείρων φαῦλα θερίσει κακά, he that soweth worthless things shall reap evil [“iniquity—vanity,” Engl. Vers. from Hebr.]

[62] Th. μυκτήρ, the nostrils: properly, to sneer at one with the nostrils drawn up in an expression of contempt. Wahl here takes it “patior illudi mihi.”—ED.

Verse 7. - Be not deceived (μὴ πλανᾶσθε). So 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:33. Let nothing lead you astray from the conviction, that in the conformity of your real aims and actual practice with the dictates of God's Spirit, and in that alone, can you hope for eternal life. God is not mocked (Qeo\ ou) mukthri/zetai); God is not derided. The verb μυκτηρίζειν, to writhe the nostrils (μυκτῆρας) at one in scorn, to sneer at him, occurs frequently in the Septuagint, rendering different Hebrew words, which denote disdain; as naatz ("despise"), Proverbs 1:30; bazah ("despise"), Proverbs 15:20; la'ag, "laugh (in derision)," Psalm 80:6. St. Luke uses it in his Gospel twice (Luke 16:14; Luke 23:35), where it is rendered "deride," "scoff at." It is, in effect, a "derision" of God when we meet his requirements of real piety and of practical obedience by the presentation of lip-professions and outward shows of religiousness. But the derision will not last long; it cannot hold good, Whatever in our hypocrisy we may pretend, or even after a fashion believe, as to ourselves, the eternal principles of Divine government are sure to work out their accomplishment. Bishop Lightfoot, founding upon the use of the verb μυκτηρίζειν in Greek authors on rhetoric - with whom it denotes a kind of fine irony, in which a feeling of contempt is thinly veiled by a polite show of respect - proposes to apply this sense here; and it would well suit the tenor of the passage; but as employed by so Hellenistic a writer as St. Paul it appears safer to interpret the verb simply In the light thrown upon it by the usage of the Septuagint. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (ο{ γὰρ ἐὰν σπείρῃ ἄνθρωπος τοῦτο καὶ θερίσει). The word σπείρῃ may be either an aorist, as in Ephesians 6:8," whatsoever good thing each one doeth (ποιήσῃ);" or a present. The latter seems to agree better with the ὁ σπείρω of the next verse, and the more pointedly directs attention to one's present immediate behaviour. The reaping-time is either the future life or its starting-point in the" day of the Lord" which determines its future complexion, as in Romans 2:5-16; 2 Corinthians 5:10. The axiom here stated holds good, no doubt, in much that befalls us in the present life, as is forcibly evinced by the late Fred. Robertson's sermon on this text; but this application of it hardly lies in the apostle's present field of view. All human activity is here recited under this image of "sowing," with reference to the consequences which in the day of retribution will infallibly accrue from every part of it. In 2 Corinthians 9:6, however ("He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly," etc.), the idea is applied to pecuniary gifts. Such an application seems to possess a peculiar propriety, founded on the benefits that the giving of money - which, viewed as gold, silver, or copper coins is in itself a dry and useless thing - would be the means of effecting (see vers. 12-15 of the same chapter). But this does not warrant our limiting the application of the word here to the bestowment of money gifts, though this in the context furnishes the occasion for its introduction; the next verse proves the wider application which the apostle's mind is making of it, not, however, losing sight (vers. 9, 10) of this specific reference. "Whatsoever he is sowing, that shall he reap;" the quality of the harvest (its quantity does not seem from the next verse to be particularly thought of, as in 2 Corinthians 9:6) is determined by the quality of the seed sown. In the form of expression, the deed which is done is said to be itself received back - received back, that is, in its corresponding reward or punishment. In a similar manner the apostle expresses himself in Ephesians 6:8, "Whatsoever good thing each man doeth, this shall he receive again (κομιεῖται) from the Lord." So of evil doings in Colossians 3:25, "He that doeth wrong shall receive again the wrong which he did;" and of both good and bad in 2 Corinthians 5:10. These last-cited passages, together with others which will readily occur to the reader, appear to contemplate a reference to be made in the day of judgment to each several action, with an award assigned to each; which view is likewise presented by such utterances of Christ himself as we read in Matthew 10:42; Matthew 25:35, 36, 42, 43. On the other hand, in the passage now before us, the "eternal life," and probably also the "corruption" mentioned in ver. 8, seem to point to the general award, of life or of destruction, which each man shall receive, founded on the review of his whole behaviour (see Revelation 20:12, 15). This is a somewhat different view of the future retribution from the former. Considering such passages in the light of moral exhortation, we are reminded that in each several action we are taking a step towards either a happy or a disastrous end - a step which, if pursued onward in the same direction, will infallibly conduct us to either that happy or that disastrous end. In regard to the relation between the two somewhat differing views of the future retribution above stated, when considered as subjects of speculative inquiry, a few observations may not be out of place here. We need find no difficulty at all in this diversity of representation so far as relates to the good actions of those who shall then be accepted or to the evil actions of those who shall be rejected. But a difficulty does seem to present itself with respect to the evil deeds done, if not before yet after their conversion, by the ultimately accepted, and also with respect to the good deeds done by the ultimately lost. Will the righteous receive the award of their evil deeds? Will the lost receive the award of their good deeds? For there is no righteous man who hath not sinned; as also neither is there an unrighteous man whose life does not show good and laudable actions. A reference to the actual experience of souls in this life suggests, not indeed a complete solution of the difficulty which the nature of the case probably makes impossible to us at devise, but a consideration which helps to lessen our sense of it. It is this . in Christians who have a well-grounded consciousness of perfect reconciliation with God, assured to them even by the seal of the Spirit of adoption, this happy consciousness is, however, perfectly compatible with a vivid remembrance of wrong things done in the past. And this remembrance is perpetually suggestive of sentiments of self-loathing - self-loathing the more bitter in proportion as the soul, by its growing purification through the Spirit, is enabled the more truly to estimate the evil character of those evil deeds. This is exemplified by St. Paul's wailing recollection, near the very end of his course, of those heinous sins of his, committed long years before, against Christ and his Church (1 Timothy 1:15). Now, we cannot conceive of a continuous existence of the soul apart from a continued remembrance of its past experiences. The redeemed, then, in their perfected state after the resurrection, can never become oblivions of those foul blots in their spiritual history; the recollection of them can never cease at once to abase them in their own consciousness and to glorify the grace which has redeemed them. The Divine Spirit itself will still, we may believe, quicken these remembrances; and the infinite benefactions of God, in that state of felicity experienced, will be still heaping fresh coals of fire upon their heads. Their felicity will be no offspring of blindness or misconception in reference to the past; on the contrary, they will know the truth in respect to their own lives in respect to every part of them, with a clearness unattainable in the present state; but they will know the truth too in respect to the intensity of the Divine love. God's love, it is true, cannot shed the light of approval upon those dark spots of their earthly history; cannot shed upon them those felicitating beams of "Well done, good and faithful servant," which will most assuredly flow down upon the acceptable portions of their conduct; that love itself cannot deal with his servants otherwise than according to truth. But the love of God will be clearly seen, cancelling, for Christ's sake, the penal consequences which but for Christ those several wickednesses would have incurred: in those very instances of sinfulness magnifying in each saved one's consciousness the infinite benignity of his Father, which loved him even then, in those very hours of his extremest ill-deserving. If these speculations appear not unreasonable, then they will serve to explain in what way the sinful doings even of those finally accepted will, however, not fail of receiving their award; the award will be there, both in that sense of loss - loss of Divine commendation, which will necessarily accompany the recollection of them; and also in the sense of their debt of punishment, though cancelled. Be we sure our sin will find us out. Galatians 6:7Be not deceived (μὴ πλανᾶσθε)

For the phrase see 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Corinthians 15:33; James 1:16. Deceive is a secondary sense; the primary meaning being lead astray. See on Mark 12:24. The connection of the exhortation may be with the entire section from Galatians 6:1 (Eadie and Sieffert), but is more probably with Galatians 6:6. The Galatians are not to think that it is a matter of no consequence whether their fellowship be with their Christian teachers who preach the word of truth, or with the Judaising innovators who would bring them under bondage to the law.

Is not mocked (οὐ μυκτηρίζεται)

N.T.o. Quite often in lxx. See 1 Kings 18:27; 2 Kings 19:21; Job 22:19; Proverbs 1:30. Also the noun μυκτηρισμός mockery, Job 34:7; Psalm 34:16. See Ps. of Sol. 4:8. The verb, literally, to turn up the nose at. Comp. Horace, Sat. i. 6, 5, naso suspendis adunco, ii. 8, 64; Epist. i. 19, 45.

That (τοῦτο)

Most emphatic. That and nothing else. Comp. Matthew 7:16; 2 Corinthians 9:6.

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