Galatians 6:7-8 – Sowing and reaping

The text:

A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.   (Galatians 6:7-8)


Whoever sows into their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows into the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.


Sowing is a form of entrusting.
The farmer who puts seeds into his land entrusts his seeds to the ground, expecting to reap many times more than he sows.

If the seeds are of good quality, the yield of the harvest will be determined by the quality of the ground to which the seeds are entrusted.

Whoever sows into their flesh will reap destruction.

In the Bible, ‘flesh’ represents the soul that is oriented towards the visible world and its own desires.
‘Sowing into their flesh’ means roughly: wanting to realise the desires of the heart, the soul, according to one’s own insight, according to the norms of the world.

The desires of the heart may be qualitatively high-grade seeds, possibly inspired by the Holy Spirit.
However, a disciple who ‘sows into his flesh’ with these desires will reap what he himself and the world produce.
This produce cannot endure the norm of God’s Kingdom and is worthless in the light of eternity.

Whoever sows into their flesh will reap destruction (liquidation, devastation according to the translation of the OLB).
Think in this respect of the third servant in the parable of the bags of gold.

From the parable of the bags of gold – Matthew 25:14-30.

The third servant who settles his bill with his master in this parable had difficulty with the fact that he had to hand over the produce of his work to his master.
He did nothing with the bag of gold he had received. He hid it in the ground and went on his own way in life.

The fact that this servant hid his ‘bag of gold’ in the ground, can also be seen as sowing.

In the study about the parable of the bags of gold it is explained that the ‘bag’ in this parable is an image of the Holy Spirit, who pours out the divine love into a disciple’s heart.

It seems strange that a disciple is able to ‘sow’ this love from God ‘into his flesh’, in order to reap the yield for himself.
It nevertheless appears to be possible to exercise a spiritual ministry and to receive the working of the Holy Spirit in one’s own honour.

Jesus said:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’   (Matthew 7:21-23)

The disciples in the above-mentioned parable have prophesied in the Name of Jesus, driven out evil spirits and performed many miracles.
They had a great spiritual ministry and were even a blessing to many.
Nevertheless, Jesus said to them: I never knew you and He called them evildoers.
It says literally: I never made your acquaintance, working without law.

In the work that the Holy Spirit did through them these people were living for themselves.
They were doing what they did in order to ‘reap’ the fruits of their ministry for themselves and they were not living on the basis of the law of love.
As a result they had no relationship with Jesus and they were unknown to Him.

The ‘wage’ that they received, was honour from people, but they had no wage from God.

Whoever sows into the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.

‘Sowing into the Spirit’ applies to a disciple who trusts in the Holy Spirit, who has come to dwell in the heart with the divine love.
This is a disciple who is living in a relationship with, and in obedience to Jesus, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit.
His life will be a testimony to the Name of Jesus.
As a result, through his ministry, love is raised up in the heart of the people he meets.
Whoever ‘sows’ the divine life ‘into’ in this manner, through the Holy Spirit, will experience the fruit of the Spirit in his life and reap eternal life from the Spirit.


Let us not become weary (literally: lose courage) in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (literally: despair). Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (literally: those who belong to the house of faith, the family of God).   (Galatians 6:9-10)

Translated freely:

Let us not lose the courage to do good,
for, at the proper time, we shall reap, if we do not despair.
Let us therefore, as we have opportunity, do what is good to everyone, but especially to those who belong to the family of God.   (Galatians 6:9-10)

See also the study: Proverbs 16:3 – Commit to the Lord whatever you do.


Print this study as a PDF document:
Galatians:7-8 – Sowing and reaping.