The Lord’s discipline is an often-ignored fact of life for believers. We often complain about our circumstances without realizing that they are the consequences of our own sin and are a part of the Lord’s loving and gracious discipline for that sin. This self-centered ignorance can contribute to the formation of habitual sin in a believer’s life, incurring even greater discipline.
Discipline is not to be confused with cold-hearted punishment. The Lord’s discipline is a response of His love for us and His desire for each of us to be holy. “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in” (Proverbs 3:11-12; see also Hebrews 12:5-11). God will use testing, trials, and various predicaments to bring us back to Himself in repentance. The result of His discipline is a stronger faith and a renewed relationship with God (James 1:2-4), not to mention destroying the hold that particular sin had over us.
The Lord’s discipline works for our own good, that He might be glorified with our lives. He wants us to exhibit lives of holiness, lives that reflect the new nature that God has given us: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16).
The Scriptures state, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Christ paid the penalty for our sin. We all deserve death, which is the ultimate penalty for sin. Everyone will pay for his sin unless he comes to Christ, who has paid the price for our sin with His blood. Adam and Eve suffered consequences for their sin by being expelled from the Garden. Instead of using the word “consequences,” we should think of the word “discipline.” The writer of Hebrews says about discipline and its purpose, “And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you, his children? He said, ‘My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children.’
“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way” (Hebrews 12:5-11).
God shows His love by correcting us and/or using discipline to bring us to where He wants us to be. What does a good father do when he sees his child straying away from the right path to go his own way? He brings him back by means of discipline. Now discipline can come in many forms, depending on the seriousness of the offense. If a child is never disciplined or never suffers the consequences for his wrong action, he will never learn what is right.
Therefore, out of love God disciplines those who are His. If you never suffered the consequence of your sin, how would you know when you are doing right or wrong? The psalmist says, “Will those who do evil never learn? They eat up my people like bread; they wouldn’t think of praying to God” (Psalm 53:4). See also Psalm 10:11, “The wicked say to themselves, ‘God isn’t watching! He will never notice!’” If God did not bring about consequences, we would not learn from our mistakes and change our ways. God only disciplines those who are His, and He does this out of love for us, not to harm us or tear us down. It is God’s way of saying, “My child, you are going the wrong way, and it is time to turn around and do what is right.” If we are not corrected when we do wrong, then we will keep doing wrong.
God has paid the penalty for our sins so we will not have to suffer the second death, which is hell (Revelation 20:14). Because of His love for us, He disciplines us and brings us into the relationship with Him that He desires. So the next time you feel you are suffering consequences for your sin, remember it is God disciplining out of love.
Finally, acts of disobedience to God’s laws will very often result in temporal consequences that have nothing to do with God’s discipline. For example, a murderer who comes to Christ and repents of all his sin will receive God’s forgiveness in the eternal sense, and he will enjoy full fellowship with God for eternity in heaven. However, the society in which he lives will still demand that he pay the price for his crime in a temporal sense. He may have to spend his entire life in prison or even be executed for his crime. But even in these situations, he can be greatly used of God while he waits for his ultimate redemption and eternal joy. God bless you!!! :):)
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