Questions From Readers
According to Galatians 6:8, “he who is sowing with a view to his flesh will reap corruption from his flesh, but he who is sowing with a view to the spirit will reap everlasting life from the spirit.” What “spirit” is meant, and how can we thus reap life?
The Hebrew and Greek terms that are rendered “spirit” have a variety of meanings, such as: (1) God’s active force, (2) the life force in humans or animals, (3) a person’s impelling mental force, and (4) a spirit person, or angel. The first of these—God’s active force—is the meaning we find at Galatians 6:8.
As background, note Galatians 3:2, where we find the first use of “spirit” in the book of Galatians. Paul asked Christians: “Did you receive the spirit due to works of law or due to a hearing by faith?” Then, at Galatians 3:5, he linked that “spirit” with the performing of powerful works. So the “spirit” he referred to was holy spirit, God’s invisible active force.
Later, at Galatians 5:16, Paul contrasted spirit and flesh. We read: “I say, Keep walking by spirit and you will carry out no fleshly desire at all.” By “fleshly desire” he meant sinful human flesh. Thus, at Galatians 5:19-23, he listed “the works of the flesh” in contrast with “the fruitage of the spirit.”
Hence, at Galatians 6:8, the person “sowing with a view to his flesh” must be one who lets himself be led by sinful human desires, indulging in “the works of the flesh.” He may experience the corrupting effects of such conduct, and if he does not change, he will certainly not gain life in or under God’s Kingdom.—1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.
As devoted Christians we should desire to ‘sow with a view to God’s spirit.’ That involves living in a way that allows holy spirit to operate freely in our lives, helping us to manifest its fruitage. We should bear that in mind when we are deciding what to read or what television programs to watch. We sow with a view to the spirit as we pay attention at congregation meetings and try to apply counsel of spirit-appointed elders.—Acts 20:28.
Interestingly, Galatians 6:8 ends with the assurance that as we sow in harmony with holy spirit, we will be in line to “reap everlasting life from the spirit.” Yes, based on Christ’s ransom, God will extend endless life through the operation of holy spirit.—Matthew 19:29; 25:46; John 3:14-16; Romans 2:6, 7; Ephesians 1:7.