Friday May 3, 2019
The sons of God are disciplined by the Father.
PSA 50:16 But to the wicked God says,
"What right have you to tell of My statutes,
And to take My covenant in your mouth?
PSA 50:17 "For you hate discipline,
And you cast My words behind you.
Discipline is not just for the sake of getting the Christian to do something, to do his duty unto God for the only reason that God demands it.
Other religions have this as their highest motivation - reward and punishment, which can in fact greatly motivate a man, but this is not what God is.
In other religions, the faithful are treated as children, and behave not much differently from boys in school under a system of reward and punishment. Christians are treated like men. They are left more to their individual feeling and conscience, and are encouraged to become a law unto themselves, and they often show that they are not worthy of such treatment.
Christianity seems to have failed in parts of the world because of its nature. Its nature required it to attempt to “guide by the eye” men whose dispositions and habits could be governed only by the more palpable and unbreakable restraints of bit and bridle. Christians are not disciplined into faith in Christ. They are disciplined only after having the truth available and rejecting it to lead an undisciplined life, but God even then is patient, and whatever discipline may come is out of love. Nor does God instruct any of His children to administer the discipline or be in the instrument of it. He does it Himself, as a good Father should, by His own loving hands.
Think of the religions that have spread by force, by conquering other people through military action. Christianity would not allow it, but would offer Christ to anyone who accepted Him by faith, of their own choice.
Enforced virtue is apt to develop into some more hideous and deep-seated vice.
Why did we repeal the 18th amendment (prohibition of the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating liquors) with the 21st? The removal of liberty was a worse effect than whatever positive effect the 18th amendment had, not to mention, people found a way to get liquor anyway.
We are to be like Christ. Does God do things from the motivation of reward and punishment?
PRO 6:20 My son, observe the commandment of your father,
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
PRO 6:21 Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
PRO 6:22 When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you.
PRO 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life,
PRO 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid.
The love of discipline is the love of doing what is right. We all know that we need correction to help us see the right path, if we love the right path, then we love the correction.
Man has not attained resemblance to his ideal, to his God, if he still needs any external constraint to compel him to duty.
If a man needs external constraint to motivate him, he has not that love of what is right which alone raises God Himself above all outward law.
PRO 13:15 Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof will be honored.
PRO 15:10 Stern discipline is for him who forsakes the way;
He who hates reproof will die.
PRO 15:31 He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof
Will dwell among the wise.
PRO 15:32 He who neglects discipline despises himself,
But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.
PRO 15:33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom,
And before honor comes humility.
“There is something lacking in our resemblance to God until we not merely do what He commands, and recognize as right what He delights in, but ourselves are possessed by a spontaneous delight in all that is right, and do it because, like God, we love it.” [Marcus Dods, Mohammed - Buddha - and Christ]
That religion which makes no provision for transforming ourselves as well as our conduct, that religion which cannot make us like God by furnishing us with a genuine relish or zest for all that is holy, is not the best, the ultimate religion. But if there be a religion which offers us the very spirit of God, which recognizes that law does not bring life with it, and which, therefore, makes provision not only for our instruction but also for communicating to us an inward and spontaneous and permanent zeal for all that we ought to do, this can alone claim to be the ultimate religion.
God does not give us law in order to give us life. He gives us life in order for us to love the law as He does.
Christ offers to all who are His the very spirit which made Him what He was - the same source of inward life which was always sufficient for Himself.
HEB 12:5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
The scripture here reveals that though we are sons, we can become forgetful of that fact and consciously see ourselves as the old creature. The writer reminds them that they are sons of God and shows them that it is natural that discipline come from a father-son relationship.
The writer then quotes PRO 3:11-12 (vv. 5-6), proving two things:
1) God disciplines those whom He loves.
2) Discipline is a sign of sonship.
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
HEB 12:6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives."
We are not to forget the discipline so as to return to the errors that were corrected, or as the imagery the writer will use, we are not to reinjure the lame limb that was straightened.
We are also not to regard the discipline lightly.
“regard lightly” - Our path of error was serious enough to necessitate God’s direct intervention. If God takes our life that seriously, then so should we.
It is also important not to “faint,” meaning giving up or collapsing under the pain. Discipline, unlike punishment, is moral training to conform the son to the expectation of the Father.
HEB 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
HEB 12:8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
HEB 12:9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
“Father of spirits” - emphasizes God as the Creator of the immaterial part of man; the seat of man’s virtue.
This is one of the many a fortiori arguments in the Book of Hebrews. If our earthly fathers disciplined us and it delivered us from evil, how much more should we respect the Father of our inner selves and live.
HEB 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.
The first product of divine discipline is an abundant life (“and live”). The second is holiness.
Our earthly fathers could not perfectly discipline us. Human fathers make mistakes and can only discipline for a short time. God the Father disciplines perfectly and for as long and as painful as we need. Only God the Father can teach us how to be holy and to have the joy of holiness.
All good fathers discipline their children, and though it was hard for the child to endure, over time they learned to revere and respect their father.
Proper use of discipline, not abuse, is the greatest revealer of a father’s love. He does what he doesn’t want to in order to give his child the greatest gift - virtue.