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Loving Discipline

Why does God discipline?

Read Hebrews 12:1-13

Let’s begin with the hard truth. In the text we learn that God does not treat everyone the same. He ONLY disciplines those who belong to him. The text states the reason for his discipline is his love. Which also infers he does not love everyone the same. Discipline is different than judgment. The purpose of God’s loving discipline is to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness in his children. It is to cause those who belong to him to “share in his holiness,” as the text states.

God does not approve of his children living according to fleshly desires. Those who have been born of God have absolutely no obligation to the flesh according to Romans 8. In the beginning of Hebrews 12 the people of God are commanded to, “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” If indeed a person has a relationship with God, initiated by God, and made possible only through the power of regeneration, it is impossible to live in sin without God’s loving discipline.

The text goes on to state that God, as our Father, does it for our benefit. He is healing us of the corruption that is hindering us. Pay attention to verses 12-13, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (my emphasis)”

There are only two kinds of people living in sin.

  1. Those who are not children of God and are condemned already according to Jesus in John 3:18.
  2. Those who belong to God and are deceived.

There is no third option. Christians can be deceived for a season. Therefore, if you are deceived you must face and deal with the lies you have believed. You must repent, and daily begin to mortify the deeds of the body. No child of God can comfortably say, “I am deceived, I love sin, I know it, and I am OK with that.”

In addition, no child of God can live in sin without the pain and suffering that comes from God’s loving discipline. Especially in the context of God’s discipline, pain is a good thing. Pain tells us that something is wrong. For example, concerning the nervous system of the body, if we did not have pain sensors, we would break off limbs and fingers. Pain can be a very good thing. In the case of God teaching his children to live in holiness, pain is ALWAYS a good thing. When pain comes, our first priority should be to ask questions. What is God healing me from? What sin has ensnared me? What fleshly desire is controlling my life? What habit of sin is God teaching me to get victory over? The aim is not to destroy us in punishment, but to grow us into holiness. There are obviously exceptions to this rule about the why of pain, but the text absolutely speaks of pain and suffering as a result of God’s working in our lives to heal us from sin.

Think about what it means to be healed. Is it good or bad? I think about the examples we have in the New Testament of Jesus healing the deaf, blind, and lame. Not one time does Jesus heal someone and receive the response of, “WHY DID YOU DO THAT? PUT ME BACK LIKE I WAS!” No, they responded with great joy and thanksgiving. In the same way, we should respond with gratitude and thankfulness for a loving Father who refuses to leave us in our sins. Desire healing. For those who are healed by his strips live forever with him!

According to the Bible, by “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” we will run the race with endurance. The term keeping is continual action. Not one time, or some times, but all the time keeping our eyes on Jesus. Run the race to win!

Published by commonsensetheologian

I am an imperfect husband to a beautiful, smart, sweet imperfect wife, father of 7 imperfect children, a pastor, and an outdoorsman. I love adventure!

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