Blog Post

27th August 2023 – Minister’s letter – More on God’s discipline of his children

Minister’s letter – More on God’s discipline of his children

In last week’s passage God disciplined the priests of Malachi’s time. I agree it’s not the most appealing topic, but God’s discipline is worthy of further thought. Hebrews 12 is key. Since God is our loving Father we should expect his discipline, for “what children are not disciplined by their father?” (v7). This discipline is “for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness” (V10). Hebrews admits discipline never feels pleasant, but in retrospect we can see how it shapes and trains us (v11).

How does God discipline us? One way is through our reading of the Bible, as it’s useful for “rebuking, correcting and training” (2 Tim 3:16). As God is active in our world, we can also expect him to shape us through life’s events. Interpret hardship as lessons in God’s school of Christian growth (Heb 12:7, James 1:2-3). These lessons might not be due to any sin on our part, simply occasions for building resilience. 

But God will also address our missteps. Sinners can receive consequences in this life, be they natural (Rom 1:27) or through human authorities (Rom 13:1-5). The church is called to discipline its members (1 Cor 5:1-13). There is also the possibility of God’s direct correction (Acts 5:1-11, 1 Cor 11:27-32, Rev 2:5).

Be aware of how God is wanting to shape you. What’s he saying to you in Scripture? How might you respond to your present difficulties? It’s hard work, but there is much joy in reaping the benefits of training!

Martin Kemp