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.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)
God’s Love In Discipline
Pain is the way the body tells a person they are alive. It serves as a mechanism to warn the mind that harm is coming to the body. When the hand comes in contact with fire, the sensation of pain signals to the brain warning that if a change is not made, the flesh will be destroyed. God created the body to withstand the elements of the world but pain is the system of protection to keep the body from suffering loss leading to death. Pain also serves as a means of correction. Parental discipline is a means to correct the behavior that will harm a child. A disobedient child becomes his own worst enemy and, without discipline, becomes an unruly and rebellious adult. Successful discipline cannot be accomplished without pain.
In the spiritual world, God uses pain to correct His children. Chastening is never a pleasant experience but it serves an essential role in developing the Christian character. The world may frown and even try to remove discipline from the social conscience but the Lord demands it and requires it in the body of Christ. The Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes those who are His children. Sin is the danger that will destroy a soul. Like training a child with punitive discipline, God demands children of God who follow a path of rebellion to be punished in the hope of saving the soul.
The Bible is filled with stories of discipline. Adam and Eve were punished for disobeying the command of God. Cain was punished, the world of Noah was destroyed, Nadab and Abihu were killed instantly, Moses denied entrance to the Promised Land, David and Bathsheba watched the baby die, and the Assyrians and Babylonians conquered Israel. In the New Testament church, Ananias and Sapphira suffered an immediate punishment for lying to God. Herod was struck dead by an angel of the Lord for not giving glory to God. Paul delivered Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan so they would learn not to blaspheme. The list continues.
In the city of Corinth, the church was thriving but it had a problem. A man had his father’s wife and the church had done nothing about it. Paul demanded action be taken against the couple to deliver them to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. The purpose was not to destroy them but to save the spirit in the day of the Lord Jesus. The saints carried out church discipline at Corinth and Paul rejoiced with them in his second letter to the Corinthian church. At the admonition of the apostle and command of the Lord, the church exercised punitive discipline against sin and glory to God came from it.
God said if discipline is not exercised, the church and individuals do not love the person. Inflicting pain on a child is never joyful but it yields a harvest of right living for those who are trained by it. Church discipline will serve the same purpose. There will be pain involved and if pain is not involved, it is not punitive discipline. Pain leads to repentance in some but not to all. The church must exercise the will of God and pray for the soul that is lost. Through God’s grace the soul can be reclaimed when the sinner repents. The Lord loves whom He chastens and punishes those whom He receives.