Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Discipline of the Lord (Hebrews 12:6-11)

The word "discipline" comes from the Greek word "Paideuo", which consists of two Greek words "Pai" and "Deuo" "Pai" is the word where we get the English word "Pediatrician" and "Deuo" is where we get the word "Training". Therefore, the Greek word "Paideuo" means "Child-training" Discipline is training a child. When God disciplines, He is training us like children being trained by a loving Father and He uses His Word to train us (2 Tim 3:16).

I. God's Discipline Is Not Passionless
Hebrews 12:6 says, "Because the Lord disciplines the one He loves and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son."

There is a distinct difference between receiving discipline out of wrath and anger, and receiving it out of love. All disciplines that the believer receives from the Lord is out of God's heart of love and compassion, not a result of God's anger. God is wounded for our sins, and also "the chastisement of our peace was upon HIm" (Isaiah 53:5). This means that Jesus was disciplined so that we could have peace. God can't discipline us for same reason and still remain righteous in His dealings with His son, therefore, all discipline on us are to profit us and make us partakers of His holiness (Hebrews 12:10).

The word "Paideuo" used for ''Discipline' is also used for 'nurture'  and 'instruction'. It appears as nurture in Ephesians 6:4 when Paul tells parents to raise their children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord". It is used as instruction in 2 Timothy 3:16, when Paul tells Timothy that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". Placing 'nurture' next to admonition (which means 'exhortation'), we see that Paul wants parents to show their children a loving God in his use of 'instruction' to Timothy, he can't be showing that the Bible beats people, for a book has no power to do so, but it can certainly can 'instruct'.

Remember, it was the translation from Greek to English that brought us these two different words. The translators could have used the word 'nurture' throughout Hebrews 12, and we would have less confusion regarding the use of discipline power of the Lord. The author used the same Greek word in each passage. But our rendering of it into one word or the other has a profound effect on our interpretation of these passages.

II. God's Discipline Is Not Punitive
Hebrews 12:7-9 says, "It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides, this we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall they not much more be subject to the Father of the spirits and live?"

Why must we always view 'discipline' as God beating us senseless and without any concrete lessons and reasons? Or why do we assume that it means that God sometimes takes our job away or breaks our car or gives us a disease so that we will be less prideful or more giving? Would you do this to your child? If you wish to teach your little girl not to play in the street, do you shove her in front of a truck and then say, "That's what happens when you play in the street. Maybe now you will listen to daddy"? That kind of parenting would get you locked up! Would you put your child's finger on a stove until it burns with fire and tell your child the consequences of playing with the fire. Matthew 7:9-11 says, "Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" God loves us so much to punish us, yes, He disciplines us but will never punish us...

III. God's Discipline Is Not Pointless
Hebrews 10:12 says, "For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it".

The fact that we are sons of God means that we are going to receive true discipline from our Heavenly Father. This discipline will instruct us in the ways of righteousness and show us a little more of Jesus every day. As our Father, He deals with us in much the same way
that we would deal with our own children. The word ‘chastise’ is ‘paideuo’ in Greek and it means “child-training”. God is training us up as children and the quicker that we think of Him as a Father to little children, the quicker that we will see Him as good. 

I think that in our present culture and generation, we have several of distant fathers, and this causes us to view our Heavenly Father in the same light. Dads were seen but not heard from for quite some time, and they were only brought into situations when there was discipline needed. That discipline usually came of the physical variety, and thus our perception of God became that He only steps in when we have done something wrong and then His wrath will be felt. You are His special child, and He is NOT a distant Father. He is right next to you at all times, training up the child in the way that he or she should go. Walk tall believer, Daddy has got your back!


  1. I have a problem believing that God can be some how hurt by our so-called sin, on the contrary "sin" is a breaking of the law of moses( the 10 commandments) which is by the way OLD TESTAMENT and based upon jewish keeping of the law and was imposable to keep so God kept having to to make a new covenant so God mad a covenant with the world which isnt based on our works but on the finished work of Jesus, therefore conquering Sin and therefore hence my problem believing that sin hurts God,

  2. Great blog! You said and included all the right things.Helen Keller said "Discipline is the gateway through which knowledge enters the mind of a child." It has always been one of my favorite quotes. It wasn't until certain life events that God used to "discipline me" that brought me into a greater understanding and new knowledge. He had to get me into a place of total surrender and submission, but He was in control the whole time and holding onto the leash. Even though it was painful I understand now and I am so thankful and so at AWE!