The Bible HOPE:
The Bible HOPE is different from the world’s hope. The world’s meaning of hope is merely a probable expectation. It may or may not happen. While the Bible HOPE is a Certain Definite Confidence expectation that it will surely happen. Thus, the Bible wants us to put on the Helmet of Hope as in :
1Thess 5:8-9 But let us who are of the day be SOBER, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a HELMET THE HOPE OF SALVATION. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
The Lord wants us to be assured in our Salvation (1 John 5:13) it is written so that we may know and be assured that we have ETERNAL LIFE. Eternal life is not Eternal life, if you think you may lose it tomorrow. Eternal means once saved forever saved. And, God the Father wants you to have that peace of mind, because you are saved not by the Blood of bulls and goats, but by the Blood of His only begotten Son, and because of the Quality of that precious blood of God, we should not have any doubts about our salvation in Christ. Thus, the bible HOPE means a CERTAIN POSITIVE CONFIDENT EXPECTATION of good that accompanies salvation in your future. It will SURELY happen, no doubts about your salvation anymore!
The true meaning of Salvation in Greek refers not only to being saved into Heaven when you die, but we should also enjoy a blessed life on planet earth, having peace, joy, and wholeness in body, soul and spirit.
In this world you will constantly be bombarded with negative fearful expectation. When you hear the TV news is bleak / no good, like five out of ten Singaporeans will experience this illness by certain age, you have to know that your future is bright! You do not belong to the world. Even when things are not looking good, because (Psalm 23:4) though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. We will not STAY in the valley but going through the valley and coming out alive on the other side, for the Lord is with us.
Put on the Helmet of Hope daily, even when you are sleeping, and if, in the middle of night you wake up the devils can put thoughts in you. But you need to know that bad things will not happen to you, only good things will happen to you in the future, because you are the righteousness of God in Christ. Trials of life come to everybody. It does not mean Christians will not go through trials, but trials we go through are to make us stronger and better person. Especially, those who serve full time like the ministers of the Gospel, worship leaders, those who are serving the Lord; there are some things that they went through, they do not need to go through, but they went through because of the ministry. This experience of trials ENRICHES them in certain areas, and they can now share their riches to others too, they can give more after they’ve gone through “the valley of the shadow of death”.
Like Paul said in (Php 1:12) “everything that has happened to me, is for the furtherance of the Gospel”. For example, he was captured / after he was bound in chain, then a Roman soldier got saved. When they replaced the soldier with another new one, that one also got saved. That was the testimony that Paul getting the Roman soldiers saved. He was in chains because of Christ.
Problem in having Bible HOPE:
However, one of the biggest problem that we have in having this bible hope that knocks us off our Helmet of Salvation, is because we heard so much teaching and preaching on “Sowing and reaping”. You were concerned and sometimes so haunted that whether the ‘bad seeds’ you sowed last time, is coming to fruition / harvest of evil waiting for you. ?
How can you have positive expectation of good, when you believe in “what you sow – you will reap”? You may ask: “but that is in the bible!”, yes it is in the bible! , and I have seen instances not just in the bible, where this principle did happen in the world.
For example: on the last day of Hitler, he went into hiding, trapped just like what he did to the Jews. His ending is even worst than the Jews. Also, AD70, Roman Emperor ordered his son, General Titus, to lead the army in the assault on Jerusalem. He led the force to exterminate the Jews, and burnt down the temple, and just a few years after that we know the tragedy of Pompeii happened. Volcano erupted, burnt down the entire city. The Reaping is always worst than the Sowing!
Also, Example in the bible: Hamman (in the story of Esther) the evil conspirator, who hated the Jews, who planned for the extermination of the Jews people, he was the ancient Hitler, and how he hated Mordecai (Esther’s uncle), so he erected about 75 feet tall gallows to hang Mordecai, but at the end of the story, he himself was hung on that same gallows he built. Yes, that is Reaping what he Sowed.
What you sow is what you reap – Hosea: (Hosea 8:7 NKJV) “They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. …”
David sowed adultery with Bathsheba Uriah’s wife (in secret), then his sons committed adultery with one David’s wife (openly in public). David had Uriah killed in a battle, and David’s favorite son was also killed, in a battle. “What you sow is what you reap.”
But you may argue, David was a man of God not like Hamman an evil man. But your see, all the above illustrations are from the Old Testament. And, all the illustrations are still happening in the world till now. Because the Principle of “What you sow is what you reap” is for the People without Christ who will get “what they sowed is what they will be reaping, and it comes in greater volume.”
This saying that “The rooster will come home to roost”; it is true for the world!. But, for us in Christ, the Rooster was fried at the cross. Because, Jesus Christ on the cross had fried that chicken. We are not going to reap the bad things. Because Jesus took all the bad things we deserved on the cross, and in exchange He gave us all the good things we do not deserve. So now, we are going to reap only the good things that Jesus sowed at the cross.
If you agree Jesus took all your sins & shame on the cross, this is only half finished! ; You must also agree that you now carry His Glory & Blessings too, so that it’s now complete and finished.
The difference of Reaping and Consequence:
But, that does not mean, there is no consequence. Consequence and reaping is two different things.
Eg: if you are smoking all the time, and you have lung disease, that is not the reaping but is the consequence. If you are inconsiderate of people, if you treat them with disdain, people will shun you and you will not have good friends, this is the consequence. If you go to visit prostitution, you will get syphilis. You need not ask, “why God did not protect me?”. Because it is the consequence.
Reaping is this idea: “you do not know when the harvest will come”. What you sow is you will not reap immediately. While consequence is almost immediate or certain, you can be sure it will come, sometime in just a few days you will already know. Example: If you visit a prostitute, it is almost immediate and certain you would feel in a few days’ time something was wrong with your body, or at least you will get worried sick in your mind and heart, you will lose the peace of mind. This is consequence!
Consequence is almost immediate but you don’t know WHEN your reaping comes from what you sowed. There is this fearful of the harvest of evil in the future. Some Christians are worried too, of what they did evil in the past that “the rooster may come home to roost”. There is this fearful expectation of evil in the future”. If this is what you believe, then how can you have the bible Hope (wear the helmet of salvation)?
Sowing and Reaping in the new testament:
You may argue that this principle is mentioned a few times in the New Testament? Yes: But read the context, they specifically referring to 3 main areas only:
A) Sowing and Reaping on money / on finances – How rich you want, you decide.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2Cor 9:6-8 NKJV)
The whole context is on FINANCES. The verses before this was: “Jesus was made poor, so that you through His poverty, will be made rich”. The whole context is about MONEY. And God actually said: “How rich you want?, you decide!. If you sow sparingly, you will reap sparingly too. If you sow bountifully, you will also reap bountifully”. Stingy Christians do not prosper. And, there are people in the world, who are sinners, but they are generous, and they prosper! Why? Because this is the principle applicable for the whole world, the principle of Finances: “what you sow is what you reap.”
B) Sowing the word of God
And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. (Mark 4:13-14 NKJV)
The verse is self-explaining, it is about sowing THE WORD. Just like right now, I am sowing the word into your life, and I am believing God for a bountiful harvest in your life, for great good in your future. Because, I am sowing the word of God in you.
C) Sowing on body – (Rapture).
When Christ comes again, we will have a new body. But notice the body in harvest is different from the body sown?
So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (I Cor 15:42-44 NKJV)
Consequences to certain sins:
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” (John 5:14 NKJV)
This verse is talking about Consequence of certain sin/s on the body causing certain illness: There is a person who was unable to walk for 38 years, and Jesus healed him.
The word Sin no more: Sin here in Greek is ‘Hamartano’ (= a verb, not the noun of ‘Hamartia’) which means there is a certain act of sin that Jesus is telling him not to do it again. We do not know why this person could not walk, the bible did not specify clearly. But, we know that certain illness can cause inability to move the limbs. for eg: Syphilis / STD can cause a man to lose mobility in limb. There are consequences to sins, and here Jesus was trying to warn this man the same.
Likewise: Somebody smokes and had lung cancer. You prayed for him and he was healed. So now you are telling him: “since now you have been made well, don’t smoke again.” Is smoking a sin? You don’t need to argue with me, because I think Smoking is ugly not cool, and is a form of sin. God created us to walk on grass and not to have “grass” walk all over us. And, if you ask me: “Will a believer get to heaven if he keeps on smoking?” The answer is: Yes, he will get to heaven faster!
There are also consequences to the earth. The whole creation is groaning in travail as the result of Adam’s fall. We are living in the fallen world. You will see the increase in earth quakes. This is not God’s doing. There is a certain vibration that earth is responding to man’s wickedness. Look at South Korea and North Korea. The same continent of Korean atmosphere and weather, yet the North is struggling to feed the people, while the South is prosperous. Also, Russia, there was once a wheat basket, but now is importing wheat. A lot of blood has been shed in these nations. And the blood of the innocents is crying from the ground and anyway the ground is cursed after Adam’s original sin. Yes, Jesus’ perfect work on the Cross has taken up the curse, but the curse is not lifted from the world, it is lifted only from the children of God. Earthquakes and tsunami, are the sign of earth rebelling. Animals used to talk in the beginning. Now they just groan. The whole earth has fallen. Because the King of Creation (Adam) that God had created to rule over everything, had fallen. When Adam fell, they all fell. This is the consequence!
God is not mocked (frequent misquote / misinterpreted Gal 6):
The context is actually about Money / Finances, but this verse has been misinterpreted as sowing sins.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Gal 6:7 NKJV)
If you do not see the context, this verse on the surface sounds like referring to moral sins for the Christians. But you must read the verses before and after.
The book of Galatia, in context, is about the people who are living in mixing Grace and Law. Note, Apostle Paul never called any Galatians as holy, not even once; while he did call the carnal people of Corinth as holy / sanctified, calling them as Saints. Why? Because Paul was radically teaching the Galatians GRACE, and yet they tried to introduce the LAW again, they were trying to be perfected by the law instead of walking radically in the Grace of God. In fact, Paul in Gal chp.1 was pronouncing double curses to anyone who preached any other than Grace. Paul said: “They had been deceived.” Paul used the word “bewitched” like casting evil spell on you, and you were deceived.
See the context of Gal 6:
Gal 6:6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
(NLT) Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.
Teaches here is referring to teaching Grace, by the teachers of Grace in Galatia. There were other false teachers teaching Judaism (the Law) to the people. And people are giving them money. They are teaching motivated by money. Paul is saying “guys you must share money only with those who teach Grace, don’t give to the teachers of Law.”
Then comes the verse :
Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
Gal 6:8 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.
Gal 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Gal 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
If you just take one verse Gal 6:7 , it will sound like applying generally to everything. But the context is specifically referring to: They were sowing to their fleshly effort. And they were trying their best by their effort to produce sudo-holiness (holiness by outside appearance only). And Paul said if you do that, you will reap corruption.
He who sow to the flesh = someone stingy. Sowing in the spirit = someone generous / graceful.
We know that: Everlasting life is a gift and cannot be bought by money, so what is this verse Gal 6:8 talking?
(…but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.)
Let’s go to 1Tim 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (NKJV)
Indeed, God is so good, when you enjoy, God is glorified.
1Ti 6:18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,
1Ti 6:19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
The key word is… that they may lay hold on eternal life (Greek: ‘Ionos Zoe’). (I Tim 6:19 NKJV)
Eternal life is what Christ has done freely for us at the cross. Eternal life is already in you and you reap the joy from blessing people. That is laying hold on eternal life.
Eg: someone in need and you bless him, the person did not even know you bless him. You see him from a distance, he is smiling happy, sharing testimony; while all the while you are the secret giver. Are you robed from the joy? No but instead, there is a feeling of life (‘Zoe’) = you are reaping in your emotion; you are laying hold of eternal life.
So going back: Gal 6:8 …, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” So reap from where here? From within you! You are experiencing life in your emotion. Even in your body. Jesus once said: “if you are generous – your eye is single.” Hebraism: Single eye is found in proverb “he who has …eye is generous” if you are single eyes = you are generous, your whole body is so much full of life. Generous people are healthy.
One sows and another reaps:
There is no evil harvest in your future! Jesus reaped what we sowed. Did you see the 3 hour darkness and whirlwind at the cross? He was wounded for your evil sowing. So that we can reap what Jesus has sowed. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ (John 4:37 NKJV)
This verse many Christians missed it. Jesus is the one who said this.
I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.” (John 4:36-38 NKJV)
Jesus is the light of the world. Don’t care what you have done in the past, today is a brand new day for you. Believe in Jesus and you will have a crop that is incorruptible. Jesus became a captive to set us free.
Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy. (Psalms 126:5 NKJV)
Psalms 126:3 The LORD has done great things for us, And we are glad. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” (Psalms 126:1-2 NKJV)
(Taken from the sermon of Ps. Joseph Prince on Sunday, 12 July 2015.)