Hebrews 12:5 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:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
After challenging true saints to keep in mind the cost of our salvation and the willingness of Jesus Christ to make that sacrifice with joy, Paul was directed to point out the reality of chastisement for true saints.
Proverbs 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
The sad reality is that we (those who are saved), do not take truth nearly as seriously as we should. We need to be chastened to get us to act in obedience to what God tells true saints they need to do. God is not talking of chastening lost people to get them to do good works. God does work in lost people’s lives to get them to take another look at Him, but the context here is to saved people.
God tells us here that He is speaking to us as unto children. Children need training, they need correction, and they need rebuking. It is quite natural for children to despise chastening. No child enjoys the different forms of discipline that are needed to help them to be responsible people. A child left to himself will be a wild person. They will not know how to behave properly because they were not loved enough to help them to behave in a responsible way.
The Lord chastens all His children. Every born again Christian needs to be chastened to motivate them to grow according to God’s will. The true child of God should not become discouraged because God is chastening them. They should not draw back and try to get out of serving God. True Christians have been given a new nature and that new nature has a desire to serve God. The “old man”, who is still trying to interfere with the “new man”, needs to be put to death. As the child of God draws nigh to God, he or she pushes the old man out more and more. We never come to the place where the old man is no longer there. That will happen after death for the true child of God.
In verse 6 we see that one of the ways that love shows itself is through chastening. A person who loves someone does not want that person to run out in front of cars. He does not want a person to jump in front of the train or touch a hot stove or be influenced by ungodly music, etc.. A Godly parent wants to help their child to avoid unnecessary pain and grief. The parent cannot always be there to protect the child. However, it is important to lay down Godly principles that can help the child to learn to make wise choices as he or she grows.
In the spiritual realm, we never grow beyond the point of being children. The apostle John addressed the believers as “my little children” (I John 3:18). Paul wrote of the need for us to grow to be able to digest meat and not just milk (Hebrews 5:12-14). Christians do need to grow, but we never graduate to the place where we do not need further instruction, as long as we live on this earth.
God tells us in our text that because He loves us, He will chasten us. In verse 6 God chose the word “chasten” and “scourge” to talk about how He works with us.
“Chastening” involves “education, training and discipline”. “Scourging” involves “flogging”. God does not literally spank His child. However, He does allow events to take place that do bring pain to His child to get their attention and get them to listen to Him.
In verse 7 we are told that we should endure chastening. We need to accept the chastening and learn from it. God’s people need to understand that God is acting like a loving father in chastening His child. God asks the question: “what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” Modern society tells us that chastening our children is cruel. Society tells us that we need to use positive methods to affirm the child. That might work sometimes, but God shows us that will not get the job done as it needs to be. Society can argue and reject that, and we can see where that is getting us as a country. We can also see how many religions are deceiving their followers by telling them that disobeying God’s word is not a problem. They have re-defined sin. However, the Spirit of God is still at work in the deceived to show them they are being lied to. Some will listen to that and be saved. Many will ignore or reject the Holy Spirit’s work and remain lost.
I John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
God’s Word is very clear. Any time a true Christian goes against God’s Word, he or she is sinning. It is not a matter of law keeping. It is a matter of having the righteousness of Christ in our hearts and that righteousness motivates us to live within the bounds that God has set for His children. Jesus Christ never sinned. He is the Living Word and He always pleased His Father. True Christians will sin, however they cannot remain in sin because they have been made children of God at salvation and sin is contrary to the new nature. It must be forsaken and the true child of God will understand that and the chastening will help him or her to forsake sin.
In verse 8 we see that if a professing Christian is living in sin and not being chastened, they are not a true child of God. The word “bastard” has been corrupted by society and is used in a derogatory way. The Greek word translated as “bastard” means an “illegitimate son”. There are many sons today that are born outside of wedlock. Some people are waking up and recognizing this is a big problem in the development of those children.
God does not have any illegitimate children. There are many false Christians. God teaches us very clearly that His children cannot live in sin. He does not allow His children to live in sin. He chastens and scourges His children to get them to behave as His children must behave. He demonstrates His love for us in doing this.
Those who are truly saved will be thankful for the chastening of the Lord. The apostle Paul talked of how he prayed three times that God would remove a thorn from his flesh. God told him he would not remove it but that he needed that thorn to keep him from becoming puffed up with pride. The apostle Paul did not grumble and complain. He did not stop serving God. He was thankful for God’s love for him and he understood that God’s grace was sufficient for him. That is the attitude that the true child of God needs to have toward God’s chastening. We need to pay attention to what God is saying to us and we need to make the necessary changes that God requires of His child. We will be blessed in doing so and we will be a greater blessing to others as we draw closer to God as His child.