Does anyone really try to mock, ridicule, or sneer at God? It must be a real temptation for some to mock God, for Paul warned us against it in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
Enemies of God have sometimes mocked God overtly. The psalmist asked, “How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever? . . . . Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs, and a foolish people reviles your name” (Psalms 74:10, 18). Evidently the children of Israel in ancient times thought they could freely mock God. They mocked God’s spokesmen, and therefore reflected on God: “But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16).
Some in contemporary society have acted in a similar way. Madalyn Murray O’Hair, for example, wrote:
We find the Bible to be nauseating, historically inaccurate, replete with the ravings of madmen. We find God to be sadistic, brutal, and a representation of hatred, vengeance. We find the Lord’s Prayer to be that uttered by worms groveling for meager existence in a traumatic, paranoid world.1
In writing to the Galatians, however, Paul discussed a more subtle way of mocking God, one that perhaps is more tempting to the average person in the 21st century. This method of mocking God is exhibited by a man who lives a lifestyle that does not prioritize God, and yet presumes that God will save him after he dies. “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:8-9). How many people today live as if God does not expect them to sow anything at all, and yet expect to reap eternal life? To expect such is to treat God as if he does not even understand the basic natural law of sowing and reaping. Such is the height of God-mockery.
The kind of living that results in salvation is the kind that focuses on serving the Lord and not on gratifying one’s own desires. A life that is invested in heaven will be in some respects a more difficult life—hence Paul’s urging against giving up—but it is the life that will be rewarded in the last day. May we all live in such a way that we may reap eternal life.
LIFE 54 (1963): 63. ↩