Disciplined For Life

January 24th, 2022 – Written Monday Afternoon

“But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 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?” ~Hebrews 12:8-9

At least two things are apparent in this passage: 1. Only true sons (representing daughters too) are disciplined by God; those who are not in Christ do not experience the chastisement of the Lord. 2. If you love darkness and death, you will not submit to the Father; if you love life and desire to experience it to the full, you will find it in responding in obedience to the discipline of the Lord.

We have already discussed the Father’s love for those of us who are His children through the death and resurrection of Christ. His Spirit bears witness with our Spirit that we are His children (Romans 8:16); since we are His children, He cares for us just as a wise earthly father cares for his offspring. Part of that care entails discipline (since an undisciplined child will only end up in ruin and destruction); discipline, as reaffirmed in the beginning of our passage today, denotes the love and concern that a father has for his children. You wouldn’t expect a father to discipline someone else’s children, right? In the same way, our Heavenly Father only disciplines those who are His own. [This is not to say that He can’t use circumstances and sufferings to help awaken unbelievers; rather, loving discipline is reserved for children.]

In the same vein, sons who are disciplined by earthly fathers learn to reverence and respect those same fathers. If that is true in the earthly sense – with imperfect fathers who exercise imperfect judgment leading to imperfect discipline – shouldn’t sons of the perfect Father react to His discipline with even more reverence and submission? Remember, we are not only talking about the One who has absolute perfection in every way, but also about the Father of spirits – the One who has brought into existence every spirit – man and angel! Certainly HE deserves our immediate and complete obedience! Yet, it is not a sterile environment of discipline and submission with Him; no, those sons who are subject to the Father find life – abundant, deep, true, real, and blessed forever – in responding with humility and respect to His discipline.

What is your perspective of a believer’s relationship with the Father? Does it align itself with His Word? The Father loves His children. He loves us enough to discipline us – not just so we adhere to and conform to His ways, but also so that we will experience the real life that Christ died to give us. That, my friends, is wonderful news; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ – the Creator, Upholder, and Ruler of all – is our Father in Christ and He lovingly disciplines us so that we might have His life! May we bow in submission to Him and willingly subject ourselves to His loving care with joy and thanksgiving.