Monday, May 10, 2021

Sons and Daughters

One of the greatest misunderstandings concerning how God deals with the believer comes from the writer of Hebrews, "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons, My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:5-11)

To understand what the writer of Hebrews is conveying we must define the word chasten. Chasten is defined as: To train up a child; instruct; educate; teach; discipline. Where we tend to go wrong is when we look at the word discipline. Discipline to most means punishment. Although the word discipline has the word punishment in its definition, it also means to correct; to instruct; to chasten. As we can see the words chasten and discipline are synonymous words. Now let's look at what it means for God to chasten or discipline the believer, His child.

First and foremost, God loves us and His chastening is always immersed in His love. Next, He deals with us as with sons and I might add daughters. This is very foreign to most peoples thinking. For many parents, when it come to disciplining their children there is a tendency to punish the out of frustration, disappointment and even anger, rather than through love. This has nothing to do with the method in which parents chasten their children but the attitude of the heart when bringing discipline. Gods most potent characteristic is love and we must always keep in mind that He chasten His children through His abounding, surrounding love.

Next, we see that the chastening of the Lord is for the believers profit. Honestly, how can the believer profit from chastening? We profit because it is always for our good. It is always to promote our welfare. Look at one of the benefits that we profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. The believers becomes so holy that it may be said that we are partakers of the very holiness of God. "And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:24) Now for some this may be hard to believe, nevertheless it is fact. However, finding such a claim hard to believe actually reveals doubt in the believers heart. The evidence that the new man, New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness has nothing to do with how we feel or our performance, but faith in Jesus Christ and the integrity of God's Word.

Next, we see what else the believer profits from the chastening of the Lord, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. What is the fruit of righteousness? To determine this, we must look to Jesus. The prophet Jeremiah refers to Christ as the "Righteous Branch." (Jeremiah 23:5) At His death, a Roman centurion glorified God by saying, "Certainly this was a righteous man." (Luke 23:47) The apostle Paul states, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus tells us,  "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit..." (John 15:5) The fruit of righteousness is doing the works that Jesus did and speaking the Word of God in the same manner as He walked the earth as the Son of Man. It is carrying out the will of the Father as Jesus did. Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12)

As parents, so also the methods to which God chastens His children may vary. The misunderstanding concerning the chastening of the Lord come from such phrases as, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him, He scourges every son, If you endure chastening, Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful. Unfortunately, believers take these phrases and twist them to mean that God chastens His children with financial struggles, sickness, disease and so on. If this is true, if God truly uses financial struggles, sickness, disease and so on to chasten His children, then one of two things come into play. First, we do not truly know Him (Job 42:1-3, Hosea 4:6) or we believe that He does these things contrary to His Word which is so very far from the truth (Psalm 89:34, 107:20, 119:89, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, John 1:1)

In fact, God punished Jesus (Isaiah 53:4-10) so that those who confess and believe that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9) could enjoy all the benefits and privileges of being sons and daughters. (Romans 8:15-17, 32) He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses so that we are healed (Matthew 8:17, 1 Peter 2:24) He came to give us abundant life here on earth. (John 10:10) He died in our place to give us eternal life (1 John 2:25) He was made sin to make us righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He was condemned so that we could go free. (Matthew 27:22-23, 34-35, Galatians 5:1) We also must realize that the believer is a member of the Body of Christ. If we truly believe that God chastens His children with financial struggles, sickness, disease and so on, then we must also believe that Jesus Himself, the head of the body deals with the same. We must also believe that the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believe has no problem with sickness or disease defiling our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16) No, God child trains; instructs; educates and teaches His children through love.

Always remember that no one has a better new birth, a better righteousness, a better Savior, a better Healer, a better Provider, a better Father, a better right standing with the Father than the believer. No one can get closer to the Father's heart than we His children. So when the Lord chastens us, let us stand in the confidence that it is for our profit because God loves us and wants to reproduce Himself in us.  

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