Two of the truths Christians must hold in tension with each other are that we are no longer under condemnation from a Holy God yet at the same time do experience discipline from a Heavenly Father. Because of the cross of Jesus Christ judgment has been removed and we have passed out of death and into eternal life. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1. Because of this we need never fear that God is waiting to get back at us. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, 1 John 2:1.
At the same time Peter tells us Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear, 1 Peter 1:17. God is our Heavenly Father as believers, but He is not a pushover who indulges His children’s misbehavior and spoils them. God’s purpose for us from the day of our salvation to the day we are like Him in glory is always the same – to share His holiness. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, 1 Peter 1:15. One of the chief means that God employs to makes us holy is His discipline. God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness, Hebrews 12:10. But we must always remember that God’s discipline is not in wrath, but in love. The Lord disciplines those He loves, Hebrews 12:6. What are the methods of discipline God uses for everyone He accepts as a son, Hebrews 12:6?
Suffering, Job 1 and 2. Clearly not all suffering is a result of sin because Job was a righteous man whom God called His servant. After all that He went through Job said Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know, Job 42:3. He also said when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold, Job 23:10. As great as Job was he still needed refining and growth in his knowledge of God. God used suffering to bring that about. In my own life and in the lives of people I have pastored, sometimes the most accelerated growth came during times of personal pain. God seems to get our attention and impress character issues on us the greatest when we suffer.
Illness, 2 Corinthians 12:7. Most Bible students conclude that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a physical malady of some sort that kept him humble and dependent upon God. Far from being God’s will to heal Paul, God’s will was to use the illness for Paul’s growth. Spiritual wholeness is often brought about through physical unwholeness. Our duty is to accept it as Paul did.
Obstacles, Jonah. Sometimes God blocks our plans allowing things to fall apart to deter us from disobedience. Being determined to go our own way, like the father of the prodigal son, God permits it until things fall apart so bad we return to Him and listen.
Consequences, 1 Samuel 12. God forgave David but permitted the consequences of his sin to remain affecting his family for years to come. Moses was forgiven but still could not enter the Promised Land. Sometimes to keep us humble and obedient God allows the consequences of sin to discipline us.
Death, 1 Corinthians 11:30-32. God disciplined some of the Corinthians with death because of their persistent ill treatment of the Lord and other believers. This is likely very rare but shows the lengths God will go to in correcting His children. Whatever our current situation, thank God that He cares enough to make something of us and let us humble ourselves under His mighty, but loving hand.
Your friend, disciplined by the Lord, Pastor Brian (:-}).