(Article for publication week of 10-26-2011 AD)
“For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6).
This is a most comforting and encouraging text for the children of God. We are assured that when God lays His chastening rod upon us, that it is a mark of His everlasting, saving, and discriminating love.
I will point out first of all to you that this text is further proof that God does not love the whole world. The unsaved world, the world of the ungodly, knows nothing of chastening. Only God’s children are chastened by the Lord. The text plainly and clearly declares that God’s chastening is limited to those He loves. So take heart dear Christian- God corrects you because he loves you!
Secondly, I want you to note well that the text proves that Christians are not yet perfected. We will not attain sinless perfection until the state of glory when we will be eternally in the presence of the Lord. Christians are presently being sanctified by the Lord, and He is in the process of forming us into the likeness of Christ. We will one day be perfected and made so that we will be unable to sin, but we are not there yet. Since we still have many imperfections, and subject to many faults, the Lord chastens us for our profit that we might be partakers of His holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
Thirdly, I want to emphasize that chastening is not the same as punishment, at least not in a penal sense. I have often heard God’s professed people express when they perceived they were being chastened that they were “paying” for their sins. One dear sister, who I believe is now with Christ, said to me in an affliction that she considered as the Lord’s chastening, “God is punishing me for my sins.” I want believers to know that Christ was punished for their sins and paid the penalty due for them. The unbeliever must be punished in hell eternally, for he has no sin bearer. But not so for the children of God. Christ underwent the punishment due unto us for every sin we would ever commit. Christ was set forth to be a propitiation for us (Romans 3:25), which means He was punished for our sins and turned away the Holy wrath of God from the believer. Our chastening is for our eternal profit as God makes us partakers of His holiness, but it is not punishment, again I say in a penal sense. Chastening is indeed painful, and it may be so painful that we perceive it is punishment. But be assured, Christian, Christ has borne all your sins, and underwent all the punishment due unto you.
Our Heavenly Father loves His children so much, that He will not let them go in sin. He corrects us with His chastening rod so that we might walk with Him and be obedient to Him. Dear child of God, when you are being chastened, rejoice that God loves you! Chastening, correction is a sure proof that you are an object of God’s love. Let us submit to chastening with humility, knowing that it is all for our eternal good.