InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Read | Hebrews 12:5-7
Jesus, the Example
1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
A Father’s Discipline
4You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
5and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
6FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
7It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Furthermore, 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? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 14Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
Contrast of Sinai and Zion
18For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.” 21And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
The Unshaken Kingdom
25See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” 27This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29for our God is a consuming fire.
Sin always leads us away from God and hinders His work in our lives. The Lord will not allow sinful patterns of behavior to continue without divine correction. The purpose of His discipline is to train us in personal holiness (Heb. 12:10).
Some Christians equate the word discipline with punishment. But Scripture tells us that Jesus took our punishment upon Himself at the cross. He paid the required price for all sin and experienced God’s wrath on our behalf so that we might (could) be forgiven. Once we receive Christ as Savior, we are a new creation and no longer under condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
Discipline by our heavenly Father is corrective, not punitive. He uses trials and circumstances to turn us away from unholy practices and teach us the way of godliness (1 Tim. 4:8). So when experiencing His discipline, we should understand that we have sinned, examine our wrongdoing with the Holy Spirit’s help, and take His correction seriously. Instead of losing heart, recognize that the Lord is treating us as a loving Father would—looking out for our best interests and disciplining us for our own good. Instead of fighting the process, we are wise to cooperate with God and keep our eyes fixed on the promised harvest of righteousness and peace.
Not all hardships are a result of sin; they can also derive from natural disasters, mental or physical illnesses, or someone else’s actions. But if your troubles are a result of your own ungodly actions, then confess them and accept the discipline of a loving Father to His precious child (Isa. 43:4).