That is the question that kept coming to my mind, after Dan Patrick’s tweet was being volleyed about in the news. I will probably get into a bit of trouble with this blog, but I have to write it. I decided to spend a good amount of time studying the passage, thinking about the news, and trying to find an answer to the question. When does a person “mock God?”
I have often said that I think Galatians 6:1–10 is one of the most provable, practical passages in the Bible. We think of Scripture in terms of chapter and verse, but that was not how it was written. Paul’s letters need to be read as letters, from start to finish. The epistles are popular because every word came from Paul’s Spirit-led heart, and he wrote to churches he loved.
Paul wrote to the church in Galatia because they were struggling to maintain the Christian doctrine they had been taught. Teachers had come to the city, insisting that Gentile Christians needed to enter into Jewish practices, like circumcision, if they were to truly be accepted by God. At the same time, Gentile believers were teaching that no matter what a person did, they could be forgiven. Many Gentiles wanted to maintain some of their sinful practices and used the message of forgiveness to distort spiritual truth.
The book of Galatians is among the most relevant books for the American culture. Galatians 5 ends with one of my favorite passages in Scripture. The gist: Christians are to live by the power, purpose, and priority of God’s Holy Spirit. That is what it means to be “Spirit-led.” God’s people have often wanted “five easy steps” to forgiveness or “ten ways to know God’s will.” The truth: God gave us his Holy Spirit so that we could “keep in step” with him (Galatians 5:25).
Paul, in chapter 6, calls the mature, Spirit-led Christians to restore the brothers and sisters who have fallen away from the standards of the Christian faith. Paul tells the mature Christians to be careful, because it will be tempting to trip over our own set of sins while trying to help others with theirs.
It is then Paul writes verse 7, the now famous tweet, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” What does it mean to “mock God?” I’ll let God’s word provide the answer.
- “As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:8).
- “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).
Basically, a person mocks God when they think they can live apart from his laws. We can’t plant carrot seeds and think we will grow squash. We mock God if we think we can jump out of a tree and defy the law of gravity. We mock God if we think we can fool God because we can fool others. We mock God if we think we are more intelligent, more forward thinking, or more advanced than his Word. We mock God’s word if we try to change it.
Jesus was teaching that truth to his disciples in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1–23). Every farmer understands the laws of nature and works accordingly. God can forgive a sin, and remove our punishment, but the consequences of our choices remain.
We can choose not to love a person and God can forgive our sin, but there is still a broken heart and a damaged witness. God can forgive us our reckless driving, but there is still a ticket to be paid and a car that is damaged. God can forgive sexual sin, but there are still people who have been hurt, disease that has spread, and even children born, or aborted.
When that man entered the bar with the intention to kill, God’s laws were broken, and the consequences will endure. God grieves every child lost and he grieves every sin that separated those people from his love and direction. God grieves the rallies, the politics, and the obscuring of his truth, whether that takes place in the media or in the church.
God’s word has always been the same, and he cannot be mocked. When people break his laws, there are always consequences. That is true for the shooter, the people in the bar, and the people in the church. God loves all of us and wants us to spend our days on earth Spirit-led. He gave us Scripture so we could understand how to live our earthly lives and how to live one day in heaven. God’s word, like God, cannot be mocked. Truth cannot be a lie.
There are so many people who want to be loved in this world. They are lonely, broken, and looking for something or someone to meet their needs. There, but for the grace of God, go we. I know this is a controversial statement, but I have lived with this thought since I heard the news of Dan Patrick’s tweet. It has been proven that the tweet was randomly scheduled, before the events that occurred in Orlando. The tweet has been labeled “unfortunate,” “random,” “racist,” “homophobic,” “insensitive,” “slanderous” and many other things.
I couldn’t escape this thought: what if that very public, scheduled tweet was not random at all? What if God was saying to the world, and especially to Christians, my word cannot be mocked? What if God was reminding believers of the great solution found in the book of Galatians? God is calling his Church, the body of Christ, to be Spirit-led. Galatians was written to believers. What if Dan Patrick’s tweet was as well?
This article was originally published on June 21, 2016 and makes reference to the Orlando nightclub shooting that occurred on June 12, 2016, where 49 people were killed and 53 injured.