Take him around, try to slap him into some kind of sensibility, and then put him out on the field. Eventually, halfway through the season, he dropped out simply because of an inability to discipline his life to function in the area of football. The people who make a difference are the people who respond to the discipline that provides for success, people who are able to operate within the perimeters that are required for success.
The same thing is true spiritually. God is involved in an operation in your life and my life that has as an objective success. God wants us to be everything we can potentially be. He wants us to amount to everything we could possibly amount to. And in order to make that possible, God is busy disciplining us along the way: forcing us within those perimeters, forcing us to stretch our muscles, forcing us to increase our stamina, forcing us to be the kind of men and women He wants us to be.
If, in fact, we are not willing, then He will push the issue. That is precisely what Hebrews chapter 12 talks about.
It talks about from verses 5 to 11 the discipline of God, what God does to get His desired results in the life of a Christian. And the symbolism is little different in its outcome; a father disciplines a child in order to bring about a certain kind of result. God is busy doing certain things in our lives that stretch us, that exercise us, to make us the kind of sons He wants us to be in the same manner that a father disciplines his children.
Peter talks about this act of discipline that God brings in the 5th chapter of 1 Peter in verse 8. In other words, God allows suffering as an agency by which you are strengthened, and established, and settled, and made mature. That is the issue here. Now let me read from verse 5 through 11 as a setting for what we want to say. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection under the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous: nevertheless afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised by it. It also appears in verse 7. So this idea of chastened, chastening, and chastisement is the key. The Greek word is a word that is used of a training and education of children.
Paideia literally is a word. In fact, paidia is a word for a child. So, it is a word that is used in the training of children. It is a very broad word. And it speaks not just of spanking your child or disciplining your child in that sense, but is a very broad word that would speak of anything that an adult would do to cultivate the soul of a child toward proper maturity, toward proper godliness. It does include any kind of corrective methodology. Any kind of effort to correct a mistake or curb the normal passion of a young person would be involved in this word.
From the negative end turning to the positive, it speaks of anything that you would do to interest your young person in virtue, or to increase their life virtue. It signifies then the totality of training for a child. And you know as well as I do, as a father of four children, that you must do both. So whereas the terminology of athletics is used in the first four verses, the terminology of a father and his son comes in verse 5. Now, let me talk about how God chastens for a minute. There are three reasons why God disciplines the believer.
Three reasons why God chastens you. Three reasons why God forces you within some limitations. Number one is what I call retribution. Number two is prevention. And number three is education.
But before we do, I want to remind you of one thing. There is a very important difference that you want to make in your mind between divine punishment and divine discipline. While there is a sense in which discipline incorporates punishment, they are not the same; and particularly are they not the same in terms of a biblical view. And let me tell you why I say that. As far as we are concerned, there is no sense in which God punishes us in the strong sense of that word, in the condemnation element of it. And who was that? Jesus Christ. Christ has borne all of our sin; and not only did He bear all of our sin on His body, but He bore all of the punishment for our sin in His body.
And so neither the justice of God requires it, nor does the love of God permit it that we should have to pay again for what Jesus has already paid for. And you have to recall that. As far as position is concerned before God, your sin is totally paid for. But though God does not punish us in an ultimate sense for our sin, though there is no punishment that comes to us that in any way expiates sin, there is the fact that God is engaged in disciplining us, which sometimes brings about His loving rod of correction.
But note, it is a corrective and not a punishment in terms of definition. Let me help you to understand it. In punishment, God is judge; but in discipline, God is father. In punishment, the object is the enemy; in discipline, the object is his child. In punishment, condemnation is the goal; in discipline, righteousness is the goal. So it is not an angry God judging His enemy with condemnation, it is a loving Father disciplining His children under righteousness. And so when we suffer, and God has to rebuke us or chasten us, it is not that we are paying for our sins.
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It is that we are learning that we are not to do that again, because our sins have all been paid for. Now, let me get into those three reasons why God chastens us. Number one, retribution. Now, please keep in mind what I just said. By retribution, I mean this: God is reacting to our sin.
The Love of God's Discipline, Part 1
And when God sees that we are sinning, He will bring chastening into our lives - listen - not to make us atone for sin, but to teach us not to do it again. In 1 Corinthians chapter 11 there is an illustration of this, among many in the Scripture. But this one would be familiar to you because of our recent study, 1 Corinthians And here you have the Corinthians who had in their carnality failed to come to the Table of the Lord with any sense of holiness or awe or reverence, and so God had brought retribution.
But there you find the indication that some people are sick because of sin. That is retribution. I think about David and his sin with Bathsheba. Not only the sin of immorality and lust, but the sin of murder, as in effect he had her husband killed; and how that in response to that, God brought retributive chastening to David. The person in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 who got into that was literally turned over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh.
God told David. My mercy will I keep for him forevermore, and My covenants shall stand fast with him. If his children forsake My law and walk not in Mine ordinances, if they break My statues and keep not My commandments, then will I visit their transgression with the rod and their inequity with stripes. And usually it works. It works in the family. And so she ran as fast as her chubby little legs would take her, right down to the curb, and just took one step and looked back at me.
And I just went Now, Paul had a problem; he had a thorn in the flesh. It could have been a malarial eye disease that could have caused a very ugly kind of oozing from the eye, very possible. But whatever it was, it was just a very, very distressing thing; and apparently throughout many of the years of his ministry, he was unrelieved in terms of the pain and the anxiety and the discomfort that this terrible thing caused him. And according to what he writes in some of his epistles, it may have been a very ugly thing and rather distasteful to people who had to look at it.
But whatever it was, it was a great burden on his heart. What was it? No matter the discipline imposed, the Lord also has as His goal our maturity. He is working through every possible means to present us mature in Christ Col. If even the great King David could be assured of discipline for his sin 2 Sam. God does not delight in seeing His children suffer; rather, He imposes discipline for the greater good of our maturity in Christ.
Do you find yourself under the discipline of the Lord this day? First published in Tabletalk Magazine , an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy. The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries is to proclaim the holiness of God in all its fullness to as many people as possible.
Your gift enables our worldwide outreach. Donate Now. Fix that problem! Margaret Armanious is an administrative assistant and makes her home in Houston, TX. She seeks to encourage other Christians to draw closer to the Lord through daily prayer and in-depth Bible study. To read more of her blog entries, please visit www. God chasten us because we are not perfect. He want us move from imperfect to perfect. And this is the nature of discipline too. Bible says: chasten your child if you see there is still hope. Discipline is giving instructions. A way and a chance to do it right.
Completely enjoyed your comments and insight. I have been wrestling with this for sometime.. Thank you. Leslie Elwood. Amy D. Good on ya brother i just wanted say i have a website that i made and it for us Christians to look at it show how the world really is like today.