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The Glad Tidings

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    Sowing and Reaping

    “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” A simple statement of fact, that can not be made plainer by any amount of talk. The harvest, which is the end of the world, will reveal what the sowing has been, whether wheat or tares. “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.” “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12. “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool,” and equally foolish is he who trusts in other men, as is seen from the next verse: “Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies; because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of mighty men.” “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm,” whether it be his own flesh or that of some other man. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Jeremiah 17:5, 7.GTI 245.1

    Everything enduring comes from the Spirit. The flesh is corrupt, and it corrupts. He who consults only his own pleasure,—fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind,—will reap a harvest of corruption and death. But “the Spirit is life because of righteousness,” and he who consults only the mind of the Spirit, will reap everlasting glory; for “if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:11, 13. Wonderful! If we live, we die; if we die, we live! This is the testimony of Jesus: “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:25.GTI 245.2

    This does not mean the loss of all joy in this present time. It does not mean undergoing a continual deprivation and penance, going without something that we long for, for the sake of getting something else by and by. It does not mean that life in this present time shall be a living death, a long-drawn-out agony. Far from it. That is a crude and false idea of the Christian life—the life that is found in death. No; whoever comes to Christ and drinks of the Spirit, has in himself “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14. The joy of eternity is his now. His joy is full day by day. He is abundantly satisfied with the fatness of God’s house, drinking of the river of God’s own pleasure. He has all that he longs for, because his heart and his flesh cry out only for God, in whom is all fullness. Once he though he was “seeing life,” but now he knows that he was then but gazing into the grave, the pit of corruption. Now he begins really to live, and the joy of the new life is “unspeakable, and full of glory.” So he sings:—GTI 246.1

    “Now none but Christ can satisfy, None other name for me; There’s love, and life, and lasting joy, Lord Jesus, found in Thee.”GTI 246.2

    A shrewd general always seeks to seize upon the strongest positions; so wherever there is a rich promise to believers, Satan tries to distort it, so as to make it a source of discouragement. Accordingly, he has made many believe that the words, “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption,” mean that they must all their lives, even after being born of the Spirit, suffer the consequences of their former life of sin. Some have supposed that even in eternity they would have to bear the scars of their old sins, saying, “I can never hope to be what I should have been if I had never sinned.”GTI 247.1

    What a libel on God’s mercy, and the redemption that is in Christ Jesus! That is not the freedom wherewith Christ makes us free. The exhortation is, “As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness;” but if the one who thus yields himself to righteousness must always be handicapped by his former bad habits, that would prove that the power of righteousness is less than that of sin. But that is not so. Grace abounds over sin, and is as mighty as the heavens.GTI 247.2

    Here is a man who for gross crimes has been condemned to imprisonment for life. After a few years’ imprisonment he receives a free pardon, and is set at liberty. Some time afterward we meet him, and see a fifty-pound cannon-ball attached to his leg by a huge chain, so that he can move about only with the greatest difficulty. “Why, how is this?” we ask in surprise. “Were you not given your freedom?” “Oh, yes,” he replies, “I am free; but I have to wear this ball and chain as a reminder of my former crimes.” One would not think of such “freedom” as that very desirable.GTI 247.3

    Every prayer inspired by the Holy Ghost is a promise of God; and one of the most gracious of these is this: “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Thy mercy remember Thou me for Thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.” Psalm 25:7. When God forgives our sins, and forgets them, He gives us such power to escape from them that we shall be as though we had never sinned. By the “exceeding great and precious promises,” we are made “partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:4. Man fell by partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; the Gospel presents such a redemption from the fall, that all the black memories of sin are effaced, and the redeemed ones come to know only the good, like Christ, “who knew no sin.”GTI 248.1

    Yes; they that sow to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, as we have all proved in ourselves. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” The Spirit has power to free us from the sins of the flesh, and from all their consequences. Christ “loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27. “By His stripes we are healed.” The memory of sin,—not of individual sins,—will be perpetuated in eternity only by the scars in the hands and feet and side of Christ, which are the seal of our perfect redemption.GTI 248.2

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