The Riches OF GRACE
“hath appeared to all men.” Titus 2:11
Robert W. Reed
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”
+ The Chastening Rod of God +
This article will set forth some Biblical truths about the chastening or discipline of the Lord. Chastening is God’s way of dealing with those who sin after they are saved. That is, to chasten them in this life so they will not be condemned with the world (1 Corinthians 11:32). Chastening is a sign of sonship and proof of God’s love. It is a family mark revealing the fatherhood of God. A good parent will not allow a child to go undisciplined. God’s disciplinary methods with His children occupy much space in the Word of God. There is a difference between divine chastening and divine punishment. In chastisement God acts as a loving father; in punishment as an angry judge. In loving kindness God provides and permits chastisement.
“I bear my willing witness that I owe more to the fire,
and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in
my Lord’s worship.”
Our text on the subject of “chastening” will be taken from Hebrews 12:5-11, “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. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” These Hebrew Christians, to whom the book is written, were experiencing persecution and affliction. Some were having a hard time dealing with it and were drifting back into Judaism. They were hated by the Gentiles and were ostracized by their own nation. Many were in despair and had forgotten what the Scriptures said. In verse 5, the apostle reminded them of Proverbs 3:11-12, which speaks of chastening and the relationship between a father and son. We must not view our situation apart from God, for He is our Father and we are His children. All that comes into our life, God either brings or permits, whether it be good or bad. Let us not faint nor despair when the chastening of the Lord comes our way.
What is Chastening?
Chastening means more than just a whipping. It denotes child training and includes such terms as: to train, teach, instruct, correct, discipline, educate and learn. In the context of Hebrews chapter twelve the word “child” or “son” is mentioned six times. As there is a close connection between the word “disciple” and discipline in the Greek, there is equally a connection between children and chastening. The Greek word “Paideia” translated chasten is associated with the Greek word “paidion” that is translated children in certain verses. The Greek word for chasten (paidea) is translated teach (Titus 2:12), nurture (Ephesians 6:4), learned (Acts 7:12), taught (Acts 22:3) and instruct (2 Timothy 2:25). The Hebrew word translated chasten in Proverbs 22:15 is translated instruction (Proverbs 8:33), discipline (Job 36:10), doctrine (Jeremiah 10:8), and rebuke (Hosiah 5:2).
Other Scriptures that mention the chastening of the Lord are Leviticus 26:28, Deuteronomy 8:5, 11:2, 2 Samuel 7:14, Job 5:7, 34:31-32, and Psalm 73:12. In Daniel 10:2, 3, 12 we see that Daniel chastened himself before the Lord and verses 2 and 3 explains how this was done.
As parents are to use the rod on their disobedient children, God uses the chastening rod on His children (Psalm 23:4, Proverbs 13:24, 29:15, and Amos 4:6-9). This rod may come in a number of forms, for example, sickness, finances, loss of property, loved ones, etc.
Who is Chastened?
According to Hebrews 12:6-8, the child of God is chastened, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Once we have been born into God’s family we are no longer dealt with as a lost sinner under condemnation and judgment. But, we are dealt with as sons from the moment of salvation. There are only two groups of children in the world, the Devil’s children and God’s children (John 8:44). We are not to think of chastening as punishment or wrath but as tender correction from the Lord because many of the greatest Christians are sufferers.
Not one of us is too mature or spiritual to escape chastening. According to verse eight, all are partakers of God’s chastening. In the same verse, those who are not chastened are called bastards, which means that they are illegitimate and are not a part of God’s family. According to Revelation 3:19, whom the Lord loves He chastens.
In Hebrews 12:9-11, we see the purpose for God’s chastening, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Chastening is for our benefit in that it is to produce holiness in our lives. It sanctifies the believer, builds character, brings joy, and spiritual growth. It empties us of self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. It strengthens our faith and reveals our hidden sins. It also keeps us from pride when we are humbled of the Lord by His chastening rod. When a child is left to himself, he brings his parents to shame. The same would be true of God’s children if He did not chasten us. Please consider these Scriptures also: Psalm 119:67,71,75, 94:12, 61:1, 38:1, Psalm 73:1-14, Psalm 118:18-21. Do not forget that God purges us that we may produce much fruit (John 15:2).
There are at least two types of chastening: corrective and preventative. The corrective chastening is clearly seen in I Corinthians 11:29-32, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” God dealt with many in the church at Corinth because they had tolerated sin in their lives. They had willfully and habitually sinned before God. Because of this, many of them were sick or dead. We also see God’s chastening in the life of David when he sinned (Psalm 32, 38, 51). The second type of chastening is preventative. We see this in the life of the Apostle Paul according to 2 Corinthians 12. According to verse seven, God gave him a thorn in the flesh (lest) he be exalted above measure. God had chastened Paul, not because of sin, but to keep him from pride because God wanted to use him in a mighty way. May we never judge another when under the chastening rod of God, for we know not the reason.
In closing, an old Proverb says, “A gem is not polished without rubbing - nor a man perfected without trials.” How true this is, for we all need God’s chastening. I will leave with you this last statement I once read, “The Heavenly Father has no spoiled children. He loves them too much to allow that.” Amen
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Acts 16:31
Victory Baptist Church
Pastor Robert W. Reed
14473 Bellingrath Road
P.O. Box 257
Coden, Alabama 36523