Study 54: Gal.6:7-10
Be not deceived
In verse 3 we read
if a man thinketh himself to be something when he
is nothing he deceiveth himself. For
a second time the word deceive crops up. The idea
is simply one of delusion, thinking one thing when
the opposite is in fact true. We saw in
that we are to think soberly and not beyond our
measure. In other words we have to think correctly and
not allow ourselves to go astray in what we think.
Be not deceived [=led
astray]; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that
shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall
of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not
be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we
faint not. As we have
therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially
unto them who are of the household of faith.
In scripture the phrase 'be not deceived'
occurs five times. We will look at each one and relate
it to our theme in Galatians.
1. Other gods
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart
be not deceived, and ye turn aside,
and serve other gods, and worship them;
This command to Israel was given as they were
about to enter the promised land. In short the
instructions to the nation was that once in the land
they were to serve God alone and not get dragged into
the idolatry of the nations round about, nor even to
enquire as to how they served their gods! (Deut.
12:30) For in doing so they would be
snared into following them.
illuminating passage in the Psalms we see the following
The idols of the heathen are silver
and gold, the work of men’s hands.
have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have
they, but they see not;
They have ears,
but they hear not; neither is there any breath
in their mouths.
They that make them are
like unto them: so is every one that trusteth
The gods of the heathen round about Israel
were expressed as idols, whether they were in the
form of statues, icons or whatever, there was an
outward form of their gods. These idols were not
alive, they had no power of
thought, speech, sight or hearing. This we are all
familiar with as Isaiah makes the same point (Isa.
44:9-20) and adds that it is a
deceived heart that has turned people aside -
thinking that their gods can save them when all along it is
just a bit of wood, and has no power whatsoever!
The last part of the passage quoted above is of
particular interest. They that make them are
like unto them: so is every one that trusteth
in them. Those that make them are like
them, and those that trust them also become like them.
There seems to be spiritual principle:
namely we become like what we worship!
the context of Galatians we can see how this works.
False teachers come in with ideas that are contrary to
the gospel of Jesus Christ. They make them the be
all and end all of truth. In the case of the NT it was
the Judaisers who insisted on circumcision. This takes
our eyes off Christ and onto the external ( the
flesh) and slowly by trusting this one becomes like to
them, and end up in a false gospel, and eventually
become what they really are: having a form of godliness
but denying the power. Hence the danger of the NT
ordinances of baptism, the Lord's supper, head
covering, laying on of hands, if we make them more
than what God intended them to be.
have to be circumcision, it could be anything. Once we
make something else the 'idol' of our thought pattern
and trust it, we eventually become like it; we become
the very image of that idol. It could be an 'one issue
ministry', or one particular doctrine to
the exclusion of others, or it could be an ideal
we are pursuing at all costs. None of these things have
power in themselves, they do not speak, nor hear. Doctrines
don't, ideals don't neither do ministries. Only the
living God lives, speaks and hears
Whatever it is when it takes our eyes and trust
off the living Christ and serve other things, such as
doctrine, ideals etc. then we have fallen into
that trap, we have become deceived in our thinking- we
have gone astray.
2. False Christs
And he said, Take heed that ye
deceived: for many shall come in my name,
saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near:
go ye not therefore after them.
one is your
all ye are
call no man
one is your
which is in
for one is
One of the signs of last day things is that many shall
come saying that they are Christ, that is the anointed
one from God. We must bear in mind that the last days,
according to Peter began with the outpouring of the
Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (
In the other
passage quoted above, when talking of the Pharisees
Jesus tells us that we are not be be called Rabbi or
master and to call no man father (of course, we are
talking in the spiritual sense.) He gives us two
reasons: firstly, because we are brethren, no one is
superior to another- we are equal. In fact in another
part of scripture Jesus commands us not to have
hierarchies amongst us!(Mk.10:42-45)
Jesus makes is quite clear and unmistakeable. Secondly,
because there is only one who is master, and that is
Jesus Himself, and no one else.
From the above
considerations we can see immediately that any
organisation calling itself a 'church' is in
disobedience to Jesus if it has any form of hierarchy
amongst God's people. We are all brethren and on equal
terms. Jesus alone is our head both of the body
corporately, and individually. No man, or woman, has
any right to usurp that position in any one's
life. But despite that clear teaching of scripture
Jesus said many will still come claiming to be Christ,
and by implication, master. We are all too familiar
with the many claims some preachers make: such things
as they being the 'last prophet of the age'; they are
the ones with the latest revelation or idea from
God and so on. Jesus makes it quite clear - do not go
An example of such
an one is found in III Jn.
| I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes,
who loveth to have the preeminence [=desire
to be the first] among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I
will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating
against us with malicious words: and not
content therewith, neither doth he himself
receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that
would, and casteth them out of the church.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.[=hold
In the church of which John was writing, this man
Diotrophes was desiring to take Christ's place by
wanting to hold the first position. A careful look at
his actions and we see the following actions of this
In the first place he refused the
apostolic authority of John. Now we don't have the
original apostles with us but we do have the written
Word of God, which is our final authority. It is a sad
fact of life that many people stand up and claim to be
the final word on spiritual matters; perhaps they have
had a 'revelation' and insist that has precedence over
all else. It should go without saying that this is
dangerous and leads many into error. No one is above
correction, everything has to be checked with
Scripture. Jesus tells us not to go after such people.
Secondly he talked foolishness. His talk was
not profitable but just talking and running the apostle
down. One thing worthy of note here that seems to link
with the previous section on idols. It is an
observation that those who engage in what one could
call 'one issue ministries' can end up with just
been merely negative about everything else. They become
an expert, at least in their own eyes, and just
critical of everything else, just empty and
unedifying talk. Now this is not true of everyone, of
course, there are genuine ministries, which do not
fall in this category, and we bless God for them. But
there are some and we do have to be very careful. Let me
repeat, our final authority is the Word of God and not
any man, or woman no matter what 'revelation', position
or pet doctrine they have.
forbad others who didn't fall in line with his stance.
We had looked at this before, and so as not to repeat
ourselves we refer the reader to
is only one Lord and Master: the man Jesus Christ. And
it is only He who has Lordship over his people. We are
not to follow others as our master, despite the claims
they may or may not make we are not to go after them.
Jesus alone is the one to whom we owe our allegiance.
We are not to be deceived in these matters, but rather to
3. The Kingdom of God
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the
kingdom of God? Be not deceived
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers,
nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves
with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous,
nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of
God. And such were some of you: but ye are
washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus,
and by the Spirit of our God.
The above verses is in the middle of a
passage where Paul is talking about believers
taking each other to court. He is amazed that
they can not judge matters between themselves.
Paul's whole point is that the unbelievers have
nothing to do with matters within the assembly.
There is a clear line between the world and
God's people. He then makes this statement that
those who are fornicators, effeminate etc. will
not inherit the kingdom of God.
is amazing that despite scripture's clear
teaching, and emphatic statements many accept
such people as being part of God's church!
Whilst they are loved and they are people for
whom Christ died, until and unless they repent
and are born anew they are NOT
part of God's kingdom. Indeed Paul makes
this point clear by saying that the some of the
like this but
now they are cleansed and sanctified.
By ignoring such clear distinctions we allow an
uncertain message to be proclaimed, and
confusion in thought and practice amongst God's
people. No wonder the world doesn't know the
gospel message of repent! We are not to
be deceived, that is not to think otherwise
that what is plainly taught in scripture. There
are two bodies of people in the world: God's
people, who have been washed with the blood of
Jesus and renewed by the Holy Spirit; the other
group is the rest of mankind. People are either
in one group or the other, there is no
mixture.. Despite the political correctness of
the day we are to stand firm on what scripture
teaches, for it, and
not man made ideas or philosophies, is the final authority.
We can link this Corinthian passage up with
But if ye
bite and devour one another take heed that ye be
not consumed one of another
. By taking
each other to a worldly court the Corinthians were
in danger of devouring each other. They were
behaving just like the world, hence the accusation
Paul made that they were carnal.
I Cor. 3:1-4
Now why would Paul add in this list of immorality?
Some of them were like that before they were born
anew. Would it not be a valid conclusion to say
that, because of their carnality, their walking in
the flesh, on this and other issues
some of them might had gone back to it? Certainly
we are told that these
things are part of the horrible works of the flesh.
And we do know that, as recorded in
Peter went back to his old ways when he was to
blame by walking in the flesh. So it is possible.
Whatever the case it is clear that such
internal divisions amongst God's people lead to
some dire consequences.
We are not to
be deceived, divisions amongst God's people leads
to noting but trouble.
4. Evil communication
deceived: evil communications [=companionship] corrupt good
I Cor. 15:33
Moving onto our next reference we find ourselves
in I Cor. 15,
where Paul is stating with complete clarity the
absolute truth of the resurrection demonstrating
its foundational part in the Christian faith. In
the middle of his argument Paul comes up with this
statement that evil communications corrupt good
manners. It is not a saying that is just thrown in
for good measure it is part and parcel of the
apostle's argument in this chapter.
It would seem apparent that there were some, if
not many, in the Corinthian assembly who had
started to question and indeed doubt the
resurrection. It can not be stressed enough that
the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is central
to the whole gospel. One only needs to consider
such passages as:
Acts 2:29-36; 17:16-34; Rom.1:3-4; 4:24
to name just four to see its truth and centrality.
So one can understand Paul's treatise of the
resurrection when some of the Corinthians were
saying that there is no resurrection. The question
is: how did these people get into such a way of
The quote from verse 33
above gives us the clue.( Paul is actually quoting
the Greek dramatist Meander) It would appear
therefore that some of the assembly at Corinth had
somehow got involved with some false teachers to
such an extent that they ended up been so
influenced that they were doubting, if not denying
One may asked how is it
that being born anew one can deny such basic
truths? We must remember that Paul's accusation to
the Corinthian church was not they were not saved,
but rather they were carnal, and Paul defined this
as walking as men.
words by being carnal, walking in the flesh the
Corinthians, some of them at least had fallen to
false teaching. All this because they had
companionship with false teachers. They had walked
in the flesh and had works of the flesh manifested.
A lesson to us all. None of us are immune to
error and falling away from the truth. We are to
see to it that we walk in the Spirit and not the
flesh. Least of all to have companionship with
false teachers. After all if we live with a lie
long enough we'll believe it. Or to put it in terms
of a previous verse:
They that make them are
like unto them: so is every one that trusteth
5. Sowing and reaping
|Be not deceived; God is not
mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap. For he that
soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh
reap corruption; but he that soweth to
the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap
So we finally come to the phrase in Galatians,
which sums up the other four passages quite well.
Not only that it also sums up the whole of the
message of the Galatian letter. Just as
is the key verse, unlocking the epistle's message,
so Gal. 6:7-8
sums it up at the end.
If we look at all
the four scriptures above we see the result of
walking in the flesh, that is the harvest of what
is sown. By making and trusting idols,
one becomes like them; by going after others who
claim to be Christ and Master we reject scripture
as our final authority; by confusing the
distinction of the world and God's kingdom false
practice and division arise;
and finally by having companionship with with
false teachers there will be denial of the
very foundations of the Gospel.
show a basic spiritual principal: we reap what we sow. This is common sense really. If in our
gardens we sow, say tomato seeds we will get
tomatoes and not lettuces! If we wanted lettuces
then we need to sow lettuce seeds. Likewise if we
want the fruit of the Spirit in our lives we need
to sow to the Spirit, or to put it in terms of the
previous chapter: to walk in the Spirit.
Let us not be deceived. Thinking that an
action is okay will not change the consequences of
that action, whatever they are. To think otherwise
is deception. We need to think soberly and
correctly, for what we sow that we shall reap.