“3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 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.”
This next section flows from last week’s lesson. There we explored how the saints that have gone on ahead of us are watching us and seeing how we live out our salvation here as we await our flight home. We are encouraged to lay aside the weight of life and the sin that keeps us distracted and unable to be fully surrendered to the Lord. In the lesson today, we will look at how the Lord helps us to lay aside these weights. Now, as we can see from the patriarchs that have proceeded us, none of us will be perfect in this life; but God will still do all He can to imprint in us the image of Jesus. Jesus lives in us; the goal is to have us transformed and more obedient. This is a lifelong progress.
- Resisting the Devil, verses 3-4
Sadly, most of us do not resist the temptations that may come our way. There is a fatal flaw that we all have, to which the devil can appeal (James 1:14 NKJV).
But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
We have our own desires that betray us. These allow us to be susceptible to the tempting of the devil. The devil does not ever make us sin; rather, he entices us and uses our own weaknesses against us. Each man, and each woman, all have this fatal flaw that leaves us vulnerable to being tempted. These temptations attack our beloved sins and play to things we favor. Nonetheless, we have this promise from God in 1 Corinthians 10:13 ASV:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.”
Yes, the devil plays to our weaknesses, and he is very good at it. But God promises that we are always given a way out if we are looking for it. Paul calls us here in Hebrews to resist to the point of bloodshed. Paul fought with himself against sin; we are told that he ‘beat his body’ into submission daily. Do we do the same things? Do we beat our bodies into submission so as not to surrender to sin as often as we do?
- The Lord Treats us as Children, verses 5-7
God loves us. God loves His children, and as such, He must then discipline us to bring us into the image of Jesus. Like any parent, God has an array of tools He can and does use to train us up as we are to be for His glory and to be useful to Him in the Kingdom. Human parents, and fathers, train us up to become useful and productive members of society. God, as our heavenly Father, is doing the same to raise us up to be protective members of the society that is to come and the Kingdom that is being prepared here on earth.
This testing, this discipline, is a sign of God’s love to and for us. We are living in a time when children are not truly disciplined, and we can see the wave of truly uncivilized youths that have been unleashed on our society. God will never be and cannot be an absentee or disengaged parent. He is all in, all the time. He is working to shape us and form us into the image of Jesus.
- Necessary but not Fun, verses 8-11
A truly loving parent disciplines a child, even by spanking, out of love. Not hatred, but love. A good parent understands that a child must be taught, raised, and pointed in the right direction. A child needs to learn obedience, humility, submission, honor, and all other manners of manners. A child has to learn how to behave in various situations. A child has to learn how to act, how to react, how and when to speak, or if to speak. These are all disciplines. A child has to learn math, proper speech, the proper tone of speech, and on and on we can go.
God, as a parent, has to teach us the same way in the growth as Christians. We need to learn to be kind, merciful, obedient, and forgiving. We need to learn to be faithful in the toughest of situations. We need to learn how and when to speak and when to be quiet. We need to learn to trust God first, not as a last resort. Paul, in Romans 5:1-5, in talking about saved people, says this about God’s disciplining:
“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Godly discipline has a plan and a goal; one step leads to the next and builds upon the last. There is a foundation for us to grow upon and become more and more like Jesus. This is the ultimate goal. Thanks be to the Lord that He loves us and is patient with us so as to make us useful for Him and His glory; to be productive members of His family, and to be prepared to be called upon to be used to serve and help others. God’s loving and faithful discipline is needed for us to become all that we can be in Jesus. Thankfully, God loves us too much to not discipline us and leave us helpless.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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