Friday, 12 April 2019
Here we have the continuation of the thought which started in the preceding verse. In verse 12:6, the author cited Proverbs 3:11. Now, he cites Proverbs 3:12 –
The verse doesn’t give any qualifiers, but rather simply says, “For whom the Lord loves He chastens.” Therefore, it can be taken as a given that this is a truth which is applied to all true believers. This doesn’t mean an arbitrary punishment or one that was not deserved. Rather, it is a fatherly correction of wrongdoing in order to lead those He loves – meaning those who are in Christ and beloved of the Father – to a right walk before Him.
What is implied is that every person who is in Christ is still not perfected, but is prone to error. No believer can say they have attained a state of sinless perfection in this life. As we are not sinless, when we err, the Lord will chasten us because He loves us. The stress is on the fact that the Lord truly loves us, and so He chastens. Further, the author says, “And scourges every son whom He receives.”
The Greek word for “scourge” speaks of flogging a person who is strapped to a pole. It is a punishment that literally draws blood. This choice of wording is surely given as a connection to verse 4, which said, “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed.” Though this may be the case, the Lord will figuratively draw blood in His correction of His children. This is because such severe pain will be in the best interests of His children. That which is eternal is seen by God, and it is that which He is concerned about. As it says, this scourging is intended for those “whom He receives.”
The word used here indicates to receive with personal interest. God is looking for the best result in those whom He brings this type of discipline to. He has a personal interest in receiving us in the most readied and developed state possible. Every one of us will receive our chastening differently, based on the desired outcome, but each person can expect such a chastening.
Life application: If you are under the hand of the Lord’s discipline, it may seem counterintuitive, but you should actually rejoice. There is an immense difference between the Lord’s discipline and the Lord’s wrath. As saved believers, we will never face the Lord’s wrath. However, as we turn from Him we can surely expect His discipline. And the reason is because He loves us. In fact, He disciplines us not as a wayward student, or a straying employee, but as one of His own children.
The theme of being God’s child through adoption permeates the New Testament and confirms that we once were just the opposite. As Paul says in Ephesians 2:3 we “were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” As hard as it may be for people to accept, man without Jesus is at enmity with God. There are only two possible relationships with Him – either you are a child of wrath, or you are a child of God’s love and affection. Take this to heart and be thankful when you face the Lord’s discipline. John jubilantly exclaims –
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1
To be chastised by God is to be His legitimate child and accepted as a son. Truly, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us! Hallelujah and Amen!
Thank You, Lord, for the times of discipline! Even though they may seem painful at the moment, surely they demonstrate Your great love for us because You are correcting us as children, not punishing us as enemies. Thank You for the bonds of family which can never separate us from Your love and grace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.