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And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
(Heb. 12:5-6 KJV)

And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him; For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes into His heart and cherishes.
(Heb. 12:5-6 AMP)
Are you afraid to deal with these two verses? Would you like it if they were not in the Word of God? You probably have good reason.

For a long time religion has used these verses to blame God for the activities of Satan. As I went through a seven-year battle with cancer, it was suggested to me more than once that God was chastising or scourging me. I consider that an idea from the pits of hell!

Now, God did have to chasten me about my reaction and attitude toward the people who said such things until I matured into having some compassion for them; but He did not do it with sickness. He did it by His voice in my spirit man. Lamentations 3:33 (AMP) says, "For He (God) does not willingly and from His heart afflict or grieve the children of men."

Many things are permitted that are not His will, such as sickness and unpleasant circumstances.

Good Questions
So, let us study those scriptures from Hebrews and ask the following questions:
  1. Who is it that needs chastening, correction, or punishment?
  2. Why is chastisement necessary?
  3. When the Lord chastens a Christian, how does the Word say He does it?
To the first question let us add another. Whom do human parents correct, chastise, or punish? The answer to this question is…their children.

My earthly father was 41 years of age when I was born. He lived to be 91. The last time I remember him punishing me was when I was 17 years old. So…had he stopped caring for me during those last 33 years of his life? No. He still cared. I had grown up and no longer needed his correction or punishment.

Hebrews 12:5 clearly states that it is "…as unto children…" that the Lord directs rebuke and chastisement. If you want to forego chastisement, etc., then GROW UP and mature as a Christian.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 (AMP),
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
So, Christians who need chastisement, rebuke, or punishment fall into two categories, babes in Christ or mature Christians who slip back into immature ways.

Also, remember that Hebrews 12:5 begins by reminding us of the Lord's exhortation—His "divine word of appeal and encouragement" (AMP) before mentioning His chastisement or scourging. I believe God always sends a word of encouragement first that we could take and run with, thereby negating the need for a rebuke.

Is It Necessary?
Let us look at the second question. Why is this chastisement necessary? Can't we mature some other way?

Certainly we can, and do; but, because our immature understanding does not allow us to always see the scope of the consequences of our behavior, the nature of the crops we have immaturely planted, or just how dangerous we can be to ourselves and others, the Lord moves quickly (as any good Father would) to correct our behavior swiftly and decisively so that we will not miss the point.

Much is at stake for the Christian, the new creature in Christ. Read Hebrews 10:23-31. The writer is not talking about unbelievers but about those who "have received the knowledge of the truth" (v. 26).

The need for chastisement is clear. It is to keep us from profaning the covenant and from "…insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)" (v. 29 AMP). This alone makes me want to intensely desire and invite the word of exhortation, chastisement, rebuke, or whatever it takes that I might not grieve the Holy Spirit.

Quit A Scrubbing
Finally, let us look at the third question. How does the Lord chastise, rebuke, etc.?

Clearly the Lord can use unwanted circumstances in our life to teach us if He has to. This is part of the promise of Romans 8:28 (KJV), "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Satan can't win; even when he tries to do you evil, God makes it work for your good. And, that is not the Lord's highest and best. Hebrews 12:5-6 clearly says how He does it—He sends His word, or as the Amplified states in verse 5, "a divine Word of appeal and encouragement…."

We are washed by the Word (Eph. 5:26) and it is quite a scrubbing.

Hebrews 4:12-16 (KJV) speaks of the surgery the Word does; I encourage you to read it. Proverbs 16:6 (AMP) states, "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil."

John 17:17 (AMP) says, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Second Timothy 3:12-17 is yet another example of how God uses the Word to instruct, reproof, rebuke, convict, correct, discipline, train, give understanding, and bring forth faith to all of us.

How Does It Come?
How does this chastisement of the Word come? First, the more Word that abides in you the more the Lord can speak correction to you directly by way of your inner man. The more Word you take in to live in you, the more the "still, small voice" becomes a conversation for encouragement, correction, rebuke, and yes, even punishment.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
(2 Tim. 4:3-5 KJV)
So, another way chastisement comes is through preaching. I pray that everyone has in their life a Preacher of Righteousness—a pastor who fearlessly encourages, corrects, and addresses sin in his flock. The Lord speaks revelation knowledge through such preachers, which can keep us from dancing to Satan's tune.

Finally, Proverbs 4:21-27 reminds us that the written Word, studied and meditated on with the purpose of finding encouragement and correction, is yet another blessed way the Lord has provided. People died so we could have that written Word in our language for our time, a compass to find our direction and a light for our path. We must not neglect such a gift.

A Place Of Maturity
So, a Christian who wants to mature in holiness can invite the parenting and coaching of the Lord with no fear. A commitment to not sinning willfully will go a long way to having a heart that "condemns us not."

Doing all we can to get as much Living Word in our hearts, as much rhema in our ears, our thinking and speaking in line with the Lord's, and our behavior lined up with the law of Love—is bound to bring us to a place of maturity where God can stop treating us like children.

Lord, hasten the day!

Copyright © Church of the Fulness of God
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

David Stuckey
Web site: The Church of the Fulness of God
 
David E. Stuckey is a native Texan, born to a small town, Southern Baptist pastor's family on June 27, 1947. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Hardin-Simmons University in Secondary Education: Drama and Speech and is certified to teach the learning disabled. He taught special education for six years.
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