A four‑year‑old friend of mine found some seeds in the basement of his home. Since the ground was still frozen outside, he decided to plant them inside. A few weeks later, much to mother’s surprise, there along with her umbrella plant, was a six‑inch tall crop of oats!
Those oats remind me of a simple fact learned as a child on the farm: whatever you plant, that is what will grow. He planted oats; oats grew. I he planted tulips; tulips would grow, or if turnips, turnips.
I bought some garden seeds last week. Even if the package was somehow mislabeled, the seeds that germinate will be faithful to produce the same plant from which they were harvested. Can you imagine the chaos if this was not true! We might hope for carrots and get pansies, or find onions in the rock garden where the daffodils were supposed to be. Thank God that according to the Genesis account of creation, He made the plants so they would “yield fruit after their kind.” It is by His decree ‑ oats produce oats.
The principle carries beyond the garden patch. We see it in our families. Children pester one another... eventually a fight results. Parents warn them... “you will suffer for this...” hoping to prevent their minor wars; even thwart more serious consequences. But even adults find it difficult to learn that it is almost impossible to avoid consequences.
The New Testament puts it like this: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that she he also reap” (Galatians 6).
God created everything to work according to this cause/effect or reap‑what‑you‑sow principle. He says it is deception and even mockery to think that we can somehow get around it.
But we do try to get around what God says. He says we are like that because of the sin‑marred condition of our hearts. We are creatures bent on our own way, therefore we do not do the things God intended us to do.
In other words, since the seed is sinful, the fruit is also sinful. We cannot do perfect or holy deeds because WE are not perfect or holy. No matter how good our deeds may appear to us, God says they fall short of His standard ‑ they grow out of hearts that “have gone astray, each turned to his own way.” Sinful seed produces a crop of sin ‑ and we reap what we sow
God tells the sinner that it is possible to be changed, to be turned around, to go His way. He said, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out... I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes...” (Ezekiel 36).
Jesus called it being “born from above.” Paul used the terms “a new creation” or “regeneration.” This new life comes through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We need His heart, His nature, before we can produce God‑pleasing righteousness.
Galatians 6 goes on to say, “...for he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Faith may make a person new, but there are still choices to be made so the crop will be the right kind. We can either sow (do) things according to the flesh, which is the sinful human nature; or sow according to the Spirit of God. When He is in our hearts, we can choose to obey Him and to do things that please Him, things that culminate in everlasting life. Again, the crop will depend on the source of the seed.
The little boy’s mother pulled the oats out of her umbrella plant. Like sin, they were producing unwanted growth. Because she took drastic action, those oats will never produce a crop of oats.
But for those who believe in Christ and live by the Spirit, God is able to produce in them a harvest of spiritual fruit. This is a crop that cannot be pulled out, uprooted, or taken away.