Hebrews 12:11

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

The author just spoke of the chastening of our human fathers, and then contrasted that with chastening which comes from the Lord. Now he begins with, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present.” The Greek more correctly reads, “All chastening…does not seem.” The negative should be tied to “seem,” not “chastening.” In this, it is speaking of both human and divine chastening. Whatever kind of chastening (all types) are looked at as a downer when received.

In fact, the point of it is for correction of something that is amiss, and it is a type of discipline which is not expected to be enjoyed. It is in the reception of that which is negative that we are to learn to not repeat the things which were wrong in the first place. That is the entire point of chastening instead of positive encouragement. It is not to be joyful, “but painful.” By its very nature, we are to learn from the negative which is brought upon us. With this understood, the author then says, “nevertheless.”

The word is given to set the coming words in a contrast to what has just been stated. The Greek word is a weak adversative particle which simply means “but,” “on the other hand,” etc. The author has presented the truth concerning the negative immediate effects of chastening, but now he shows the positive long-term effects that are intended to come about because of it by saying, “afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”

Fruit is something that takes a given amount out time to come about. A tree may not be doing so well, and it isn’t bearing a good harvest. In order to bring about a more productive plant, fertilizer may be added, the tree may be pruned, and so on. The pruning itself may seem to hurt the tree (something which appears negative on the surface to one who doesn’t understand the purpose of pruning), but in time, the tree starts producing more flowers, those turn into buds, then into fruit, and a hugely more productive tree – with a much larger harvest – is finally realized. This is what the author is saying concerning chastening.

There is a seemingly unhappy beginning to the process which may deny the one being chastened peace, but from it, there comes “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” which comes “to those who have been trained by it.” Those who take the chastening to heart, and apply its negative effects to their life in a positive way, will be the better off for it in the end. This is what Solomon was referring to in Proverbs –

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of correction will drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15

Life application: In reading this verse, we might say, “What an understatement!” No one in their right mind likes a good spanking or having their privileges revoked for being disobedient. Even a spanking that doesn’t hurt the body still hurts the feelings. But when we get disciplined, we learn to not do whatever wrong thing we did. It sets a guide for future actions.

If the guide is based on proper chastening, then our actions will be morally aligned in a proper way. If the guide is based on unreasonable anger or simply because the parent is taking his or her frustrations out on the child, the effects can lead to emotional or moral problems.

When the discipline that is meted out is in love and for the child’s betterment, it will produce “the peaceable fruit of righteousness.” When tough moral issues come along later in life, there will be no question about the proper course to take. Likewise, when God disciplines us for our waywardness, He expects a positive result based on His loving hand of correction upon us.

Whatever trials or hardships you are facing, as long as you keep them in the proper perspective, you will see that God is correcting you for a specific reason. It may not be readily apparent, but a day will come when you will understand all that occurred and the great wisdom of the trial. You will be better set for handling future trials in both your life and in helping others through their difficulties. And, above all, you will be molded more and more into the image of Christ. When He comes, there will be far less loss and far more gain in your eternal rewards. Think on this and know that every trial is there for a good end – from an infinitely wise and loving Father.

Lord, help us to understand why we face life’s trials, hardships, and corrections, and give us the ability to rejoice in them – knowing that they are indeed producing a harvest of righteousness and peace in our lives. This is what Your word tells us, and so help us to remember it when the times of trouble come. Amen.

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