Bible Stuff: God Cannot Be Mocked?



Today’s Verse

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. 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 (NIV)

God Cannot Be Mocked?

The first part of Galatians 6:7  sounds so hard and mighty. I can’t read it without hearing a thundering preacher in my head. “GOD CANNOT BE MOCKED!” Then the voice trails off with threats about how God will destroy us all or something just as horrible. Out of context this seems like a lie. God can be mocked. So I had to address this issue first, for my own sake if anything.

We see that God is mocked constantly in popular media. Even in one of my favorite movies, Monty Python And The Holy Grail, you could claim that they are mocking God in certain scenes. From childhood I have marveled at the portrayal of God and his followers in movies particularly. Priests are constantly portrayed as angry or corrupt antagonists (Lawnmower Man, V for Vendetta, The DaVinci Code). Christians are the crazy killer people (Cape Fear, Red State, Se7en), or the bright-shiny, fake or stupid ones (The Butterfly Effect, Saved, Water Boy).


When I was younger I was sure it was some underground conspiracy to undermine Christianity. Now I know it’s just a series of writers, directors, producers and actors who have had a negative encounter with someone claiming to be Christian and I understand that. I’ve had negative experiences with Christians my whole life. Not all of them… just the ones who think that because they believe in Jesus and express that belief in a particular way that they’re better than the rest of us. A sort of spiritual pecking order.

Our Verse In Context

So God can be mocked in a literal sense, but this was written to men and women long ago where people were likely still being stoned for blasphemy. Paul is writing to a church group struggling between their newfound faith in Christ and the teaching by Judaizers to keep Jewish Law along with the Gospel. The entire book is a letter to these people discouraging them for listening to another gospel and encouraging them to remember their salvation comes from Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross alone, not through a set of rules and works of the flesh. The Galatians were quite likely former Pagans who worshiped and were subject to various spirits (Gal 4:8-9). He asks them why they are still tracking the dates and times and seasons for the special days they once observed. He he wonders aloud if his time with them was for nothing.

Galatians also contains a list of the 9 Fruits of serving the Spirit of God (Gal 5:22): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are presented in contrast to the “fruits” that comes from serving ourselves (Gal 5:19-21): immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, racism, strife, jealousy, hateful anger, fighting, divisions, segregations, envying, drunkenness, and sluttiness. (Paraphrase mine)

Then in Chapter 6 (where our verse is) Paul encourages the readers to be ready to restore those who have lost their way (those who have followed the Law and the Pagan ways). But that they are are not better than those who have fallen, and if they think so they are deceiving themselves. He says that if they want to boast, do it based on their own deeds, not by comparing themselves to someone who has lost their way (Gal 61-4).

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked.”

Paul is saying, don’t be deceived. Don’t get confused between the Law, your old Pagan ways, and the true Gospel. Because one thing is clear… God will not get confused. He will not be tricked or made a fool of. God knows what’s up and though others may accept a form of Christianity based on man’s rules, He will not.

I like this in concept, but hate it because I see so much of this in Christianity today. Not Pagan worship or arguments about circumcision, but rather immorality, impurity, racism, strife, division, segregation and a few more that aren’t on the list: gossipping, judgmentalism, selfishness, and self-righteousness to name a few.

Then there are the things we attach to Christianity that become a forced standard that we judge others by. Our particular denomination for instance, The way we baptise people, The kind of songs we sing, What we wear to church. Then there are the trends that come and go that are oh-so-important and generally considered mandatory until the popularity shifts: WWJD bracelets, Purpose Driven Life, The Prayer of Jabez, and more recently The Daniel Fast.


None of the things listed are inherently bad, no more than circumcision was in Paul’s day. The issue is that many Christians judge one another by all of these “attachments” to Christianity. A song by Stephen Taylor, “I Want To Be A Clone” comes to mind.

“…if you want to be one of his
you gotta act like one of us.”

So don’t be deceived people. God’s not going to accept all of the extras and addons. He accepts those who have been saved through the sacrifice of his only Son, Jesus Christ. Period. None of the “stuff” really matters.

“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.”

The rest of the passage is pretty simple to understand now that we know the context. The church was being told that putting faith in works done by flesh will destroy our soul rather than save it. Only those who serve to please God, and what he wants, will be saved.

In our day this applies to all of the “extras” we add on to the basics of Salvation. I speak of the said and unsaid rules that we impose on one another. We create additional requirements to the simple act of being saved through grace by faith. You must attend this kind of church on this particular day and dress in this particular way. You must read from this particular bible translation and read books by these authors. You must demonize the unsaved, pregnant teens, homosexuals, smokers, and the divorced. Most importantly, you must vote Republican.


The “extras” span the gamut from fundamental belief differences all the way down to that little fish on the back of your car. Jesus may saved you, but to stay saved you must do these extra things, our way. Again to quote the great Theologian, Mr. Steve Taylor.

“They told me that I’d fall away
unless I followed what they say.
Who needs the Bible anyway,
I want to be a clone.”

We have become divided, not only as a people, but in ourselves. We are like the Galatians who after hearing the Gospel and gaining the freedom that Christ gives, have believed a different gospel and placed it right alongside. Many of us, myself included, have believed them both gospels so equally and for so long that it’s very difficult to tell between the genuine, that pleases God, and the human, that only pleases man.

The critic will say, “Why worry? Don’t these things help us stay on the straight and narrow?” I would say that although that may be the intention, ultimately we are attempting improve on God’s perfect plan of Salvation. It’s not possible to do so. Anything we add to it subtracts from it. It becomes another gospel. Man’s gospel, a flesh gospel, an ultimately destructive one.


That’s why I see so many quit God… or stay far away from Christianity. They don’t dislike Jesus, most people rather like Him actually. It’s all of the crap that we’ve added on to help people “stay on the straight and narrow”. If we could cut through the crap we add to being “saved” and stick to what is real and true and what eternally matters, a properly represented God He would be.

I love Jesus with all my heart and soul (still working on the strength part), but I hate the extras. They are only use to measure our spirituality against that of another. (I don’t have a TV in my house so I’m more spiritual than you. Well I don’t have the Internet! I read the KJV only! Well I dance around during Sunday worship! etc.) Paul said judge yourself against yourself and that if you think you are something you are nothing. This flies in the face of so many Christians I have come into contact with over many years of church attendance and over 13 years of full-time service to it. I am not knocking preferences in any way. I love that there are so many different ways to celebrate our Savior. It’s when your way becomes THE way that Paul’s words of warning begin to apply.


Enjoy your denomination, truly. Enjoy your church preferences. Enjoy the trends, books, conferences, and personalities that come along. Freaking handle snakes if you want! Just understand. Your extras, your preferences are just that… preferences… they do not save you nor will they save anyone else. God will never confuse the gospel we create for the one he freely gave.

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