The Discipline of Grace (3)
According to the Book of Hebrew chapter 12,there are two types of children when it comes to issues of discipline: Legitimate and illegitimate children.What are the differences between them? Why does God leave illegitimate children unpunished? Why does God discipline His children and what are the means He employs to correct them? These questions are answered in this post.
First,the table belows compares legitimate and illegitimate children:
Illegitimate children are either not disciplined at all by the father or they are not willing to accept corrections or rebuke from the father.
On the other hand,legitimate children are under the authority of the father.The father nutures them and also lays out the structures to be followed by them.
“And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you.The Lord disciplines everyone he loves. He severely disciplines everyone he accepts as his child.”-Heb 12:5-6
Now I understand why I was punished specially by my Dad when I erred.He disciplined me because I am his legitimate child.
“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?”-Heb 12:7
But why didn’t the headmaster give the same punishment to my friends that were also disobedient that day? (Read the details of the story in Part 1 of this series).
Teachers are not the real parents of pupils/students.My Dad could discipline me the way he wanted without any apology to anyone but He couldn’t do same to others.I do not mean he couldn’t spank the rest,but there was a limit he could go.If you go to contemporary private schools,you will understand my point.Rarely do you see teachers brandishing canes like before.Teachers can only act in loco parentis.
What does in loco parentis mean? It means the legal responsibility of a person or organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent.In other words,while the child’s parents are absent,the teachers take up some of the parents’ responsibilities.There is a limit teachers can go in terms of disciplining a student despite being under them or else the teachers become in loco draconia!
Spiritually,there are two major fathers: God and the Devil.Both have children.The former’s children are called sons of God/children of God,the latter’s: Sons of Devil/Sons of Belial/Children of Satan.
“For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.“-John 8:44
“By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”-1 John 3:10
While the legitimate children are constantly being disciplined when they go wrong or even being taught on right living,the illegitimate children are left alone without being disciplined by God.In fact,in the first place,one of the reasons they are illegitimate is because they are disobedient to God,so they are not even willing to go through God’s discipline.But does it mean they are free from afflictions? No,they are not.They are now under the fatherhood of Satan and he does not have anything good to offer them in the long run.It may seem they have freedom to do whatever they like for now but it is at the detriment of their souls later.
“If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.”-Heb 12:8
This last scripture is powerful! It means all God’s children go through some disciplinary actions or else they are illegitimate children! All? Yes!!!All.It also means the closer you are to God,the more you should be careful how you live your lives or else ‘you chop blala’ stat (receive spankings immediately).
How does God discipline His children? Does He use cane? How does he correct us when we err?
1)Quick exposure of the sin and the sinner : Have you ever wondered the speed at which scandals that men/women of God are involved in quickly make news headline?As common as sexual immorality is in the present generation,if a true child of God is involved,he/she will be exposed very fast.For example,a born again lady who had kept herself for years committed sexual immorality and became pregnant.She tried to no avail to abort the pregnancy! She was ashamed of her actions and people made jest of her but do you know many other ladies do the same thing everyday without any drama? God sometimes let the sins of His children to be exposed though this may be painful at the moment,He allows it … so that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”-1Cor 5:5
King David’s sin was revealed to a prophet while David thought he had covered all the loopholes(Read the series on David’s scandal here).If you have any sin you are committing in the secret,go ahead and repent of it now or else you may be exposed as a means of correcting you.
“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.”-Luke 8:17
2)Through the authority of those He places over us: God can discipline us through our parents,leaders in the church/secular world etc.Many suspensions are engineered by God through human instrumentality.I used to question the rationale behind the suspensions of some workers in the church before,but I understand better now.Many workers would not have become better in their conducts without those disciplinary actions.Apostle Paul told Titus :
“Encourage and rebuke with all authority.”-Titus 2:15.
So,don’t run away from a church because you are chastised,or run to a church where you won’t receive any corrections if you misbehave.Church setting provides structure to teach,guide and discipline.However,any suspension in the church that does not make the suspended a better person but bitter/hardened sinner is an exercise in futility.
3)Through His words:This is the most common means of God’s chastisement.It doesn’t matter whoever you are,God uses His words to discipline His children whenever they read the Bible. God’s words do not just correct us when we go wrong, they teach us on right living.
“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”-Titus 2:11-12.
No matter how many years you have been reading the Bible,everytime you read it,there are fresh instructions//adjustments/rebukes/chastisments from it.God uses His words not just to nurture us but to let us know the structure we must fit in.If we are too thin,He nurtures us till we can fit in.In contrast, if we are too fat to enter,His words cut us to size or cut our overgrown wings to size! Those words are double-edged swords:
The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart. Heb 4:12
To be continued…