Living by Grace

Dedicated to providing guidance in daily living through the power of God's grace as experienced in our union with Christ.

Sowing and Reaping 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.    Galatians 6:7-8


This passage of scripture is using sowing and reaping of crops as a symbol to teach a spiritual lesson. However, it has a major difficulty. What does Paul mean by sowing “to” the flesh and sowing “to” the Sprit?


A few times in the New Testament, the preposition translated “to” has the meaning of “because.” Using this translation, Galatians 6:8 would read: “he who sows because of the flesh” and “he who sows because of the Spirit.”


The idea is that of sowing “out of” the flesh and sowing “out of” the Spirit. Sowing out of the Spirit results in everlasting life—the abundant life that is promised by Jesus. Corruption is the result of sowing out of the flesh.


What does Paul mean by the word corruption? A lengthy contrast in Romans about walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit gives a partial answer to the question. It reads:


For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh,   For the mind set on the flesh is death,   because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able {to do so,} and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. … for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die.  Romans 8:5-13 (NASB)


Corruption means decay. Romans 6:19 presents a defining description of the decay of character and morality in those walking in the flesh. “… you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness …”


What believer would willfully trade a life of sowing out of the Spirit for a life of sowing out of the flesh?


Galatians 6:8 should prompt all believers to walk in the Spirit as they sow to the spirit and as they reap eternal life.