Hebrews 12:7-10 Commentary

Hebrews 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: is paideian hupomenete; (2PPAI) os huiois humin prospheretai (3SPPI) o theos; tis gar huios on ou paideuei (3SPAI) pater?
Amplified: You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline? (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
NLT: As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Whoever heard of a child who was never disciplined? (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Bear what you have to bear as "chastening" - as God's dealing with you as sons. No true son ever grows up uncorrected by his father. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: It is for the purpose of discipline, correction, and guidance that you are enduring. As those who by nature are sons is God dealing with you. For what son is there whom the Father does not discipline, correct, and guide? (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: if chastening ye endure, as to sons God beareth Himself to you, for who is a son whom a father doth not chasten?

IT IS FOR DISCIPLINE THAT YOU ENDURE: eis paideian hupomenete (2PPAI): (Job 34:31,32; Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13,14; 29:15,17; Acts 14:22)

Related Resources: Suffering Saints

Notes and quotes on suffering and trials - 1Peter 1:6-note; 1Peter 1:7- note

Discussion of suffering as a Divine Gift!

Exposition related to suffering - Romans 8:18

Exposition related to tribulations - Romans 5:3

Exposition on how the Savior Succors Suffering Saints - Hebrews 2:18

Discussion of what the God of All Grace Promises when we suffer- 1Peter 5:10

Exposition on how God uses suffering in the life of a saint - 2Cor 12:9-note; 2Co 12:10-note

Exposition on Trials - James 1:2

Exposition on present pain versus future joy - Matthew 5:10, 11, 12- notes

Don't forget to do a Site Search - Enter the word SUFFERING in Preceptaustin Search

The KJV (Greek Textus Receptus) reads "If ye endure chastening" is not accurate when compared to the more modern translations which do not have the Greek conjunction for "if" (ei) but instead have the Greek preposition differing by only one letter (eis).

The recipients of this letter are exhorted to remain under (endure = bear under) the chastening hand & training rod of God, for the grand purpose of the conflicts & afflictions is worth it. Don't grow faint, don't lose heart, don't take your eyes off Jesus, don't forget that you have endured a great conflict of sufferings, don't stop pursuing holiness because you're accused of being too radical, don't forget to strengthen your arms that are feeble & legs that are weak… you're marching on to Zion, you're looking of a city which has foundations & cannot be shaken, you're goal is almost here because He Who is coming is coming soon and He will not delay. So hold fast your confession & assurance firm until the end. Your endurance of this momentary, light child rearing by the Father will yield not only temporal but eternal benefits. Glory to God.

It is for (eis) is the preposition meaning into or unto.

Discipline (3809) (paideia from país = child) (Click study of related verb paideuo) means to provide instruction, with the intent of forming proper habits of behavior, of providing guidance for responsible living, of rearing and guiding a child toward maturity. Paideia is a broad term, signifying whatever parents and teachers do to train, correct, cultivate, and educate children in order to help them develop and mature as they ought.

Although paideia refers primarily to the training or discipline of children (whether in the schools of men - Acts 7:22, Acts 22:3 or in the school of God, see Titus 2:12-note, et al), at one end of the spectrum it describes the training that occurs by teaching, instructing, educating or nurturing and at the other end of the spectrum the training that occurs by utilizing correction and punishment if necessary (which it usually is for children) as a part of the training or child rearing process bringing them to maturity (this end of the spectrum conveyed by English words like chastise or chasten, as morally disciplining an adult, correcting them and giving them guidance). From these definitions one can see that the meaning of paideia is dependent on the context.

Detzler writes that paideia (and paideuo) "moves from education to correction and finally embraces the concept of punishment. This idea is quite unpopular, because many Christians confuse salvation with sentimentality. God does not tolerate sin among Christians, but rather disciplines them as a good father would (Heb 12:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-note). In fact, if a Christian is comfortable and undisciplined, there is cause to doubt that he truly is a believer. (Detzler, Wayne E: New Testament Words in Today's Language. Victor. 1986)

Webster says that the English word discipline describes training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character

Thayer says paideia describes "the whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment). In Greek writings from Aeschylus on, it includes also the care and training of the body. Whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing the passions hence, a. instruction which aims at the increase of virtue: b. according to Biblical usage chastisement, chastening (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)

TDNT writes that "Paideia from pais a child. In classical usage, that which is applied to train and educate a child. So Plato: “Education (Paideia) is the constraining and directing of youth toward that right reason which the law affirms, and which the experience of the best of our elders has agreed to be truly right” (“Laws,” 659).(Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

Vincent - In scriptural usage another meaning has come into it and its kindred verb paideuein, which recognizes the necessity of correction or chastisement to thorough discipline. So Lv 26:18; Ps 6:1; Isa 53:5; Heb. 12:5, 6, 7, 8. In Acts 7:22 paideuo occurs in the original classical sense: “Moses was instructed (epaideuthe) in all the wisdom,” etc. The term here covers all the agencies which contribute to moral and spiritual training. (Vincent, M. R. Word Studies in the New Testament 3:404).

John MacArthur has a helpful note on paideia writing that it refers to…

the systematic training of children. It includes the idea of correction for wrongdoing, as seen in the well–known proverb,

“He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Pr. 13:24).

In the several uses of the term in Hebrews 12:5-11, the translators of the Authorized Version rendered it “chastening,” which is clearly the emphasis of that context. Paul’s meaning here is expressed even more fully, however, in the proverb

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Pr 22:6).

Discipline has to do with the overall training of children, including punishment.

Susannah Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, raised seventeen children and had these words to say about raising children:

“The parent who studies to subdue [self–will] in his child works together with God in the renewing and saving a soul. The parent who indulges it does the devil’s work, makes religion impracticable, salvation unattainable, and does all that in him lies to damn his child, soul and body forever” (cited in The Journal of John Wesley. Chicago: Moody, p. 106).

Paideia is used 50 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Deut. 11:2; Ezra 7:26; Job 20:3; 37:13; Ps. 2:12; 18:35; 50:17; 119:66; Pr. 1:2, 7, 8; 3:11; 4:1, 13; 5:12; 6:23; 8:10; 10:17; 12:1; 13:18; 15:5, 10, 32, 33; 16:17, 22; 17:8; 19:20, 27; 22:15; 23:12; 24:32; 25:1; Isa. 26:16; 50:4, 5; 53:5; Jer. 2:30; 5:3; 7:27; 17:23; 30:14; 32:33; 35:13; Ezek. 13:9; Dan. 1:20; Amos 3:7; Hab. 1:12; Zeph. 3:2, 7). Here are a few representative uses…

Psalm 50:17 "For you hate discipline (Lxx = paideia), and you cast My words behind you.

Proverbs 1:8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction, And do not forsake your mother's teaching;

Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD, Or loathe His reproof,

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life,

Proverbs 10:17 He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who forsakes reproof goes astray.

Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.

Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof will be honored.

Proverbs 15:5 A fool rejects his father's discipline, But he who regards reproof is prudent.

Proverbs 15:10 Stern discipline is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die.

Proverbs 15:32 He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.

Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.

Proverbs 16:22 Understanding is a fountain of life to him who has it, But the discipline of fools is folly.

Proverbs 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days.

Proverbs 19:27 Cease listening, my son, to discipline, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

Proverbs 23:12 Apply your heart to discipline, And your ears to words of knowledge.

Jeremiah 2:30 "In vain I have struck your sons; They accepted no chastening. Your sword has devoured your prophets Like a destroying lion.

Jeremiah 17:23 "Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction.

Habakkuk 1:12 Art Thou not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One? We will not die. Thou, O LORD, hast appointed them to judge; And Thou, O Rock, hast established them to correct.

Zephaniah 3:2 She heeded no voice; She accepted no instruction. She did not trust in the LORD; She did not draw near to her God.

Paideia is used 6 times in the NT…

Ephesians 6:4 (note) And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

2 Timothy 3:16 (note) All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

Hebrews 12:5 (note) and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;

Hebrews 12:7 (note) It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

Hebrews 12:8 (note) But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Hebrews 12:11 (note) All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Wuest on why we endure - The recipients of this letter are exhorted to remain under the chastening hand of God, for the purpose of this chastening is disciplinary.

Endure (5278) (hupomeno [word study] from hupo = under + meno = abide) means to persevere, endure. To remain under not simply with resignation, but with vibrant hope. It means to continue in activity despite resistance and opposition and so to hold one's ground, not be moved (as in Jas 1:12-note). Hupomeno was a military term used of an army’s holding a vital position at all costs. Every hardship and every suffering is to be endured in order to hold fast. It speaks of enduring patiently and triumphantly.

The writer uses the present tense which calls for us to continuously endure.

Hupomeno - 17x in 16v - Mt 10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13; Luke 2:43; Acts 17:14; Rom 12:12; 1 Cor 13:7; 2 Tim 2:10, 12; Heb 10:32; 12:2f, 7; Jas 1:12; 5:11; 1 Pet 2:20. NAS = endure(3), endure… with patience(1), endured(5), endures(3), patiently endure(1), perseveres(1), persevering(1), remained(1), stayed behind(1).

To endure or to exhibit patience is a critical Christian virtue. Unless we have patience, we can never learn many of the truths that God wants us to learn, truths that will lead us into a deeper life and a more fruitful ministry. Children are usually impatient; they cannot sit still long enough to get the things done that need to be done. “How long do we have to wait?” is the stock question of the child. Impatience is a mark of immaturity. Impatience is also a mark of unbelief. Isa 28:16 “He who believes will not be in a hurry”. When you find yourself restless and nervous, anxious to “do something,” you can be sure you are not trusting God to work.

By enduring or remaining under the disciplining hand of God, we permit Him to mold us into His image. If we try to short-circuit His dealings with us, He may have to teach us over a longer period of time, using more instructive, and consequently, more difficult methods. There are grades in the school of God, and promotion comes only when we have learned our lessons.

So when testings come to us, we should realize that God is treating us not as enemies but as sons. In any normal father-son relationship, the father trains his son because he loves him and wants the best for him. God loves us too much to let us develop naturally instead desiring for us to grow "supernaturally".

GOD DEALS WITH YOU AS WITH SONS: os huiois humin prospheretai (3SPPI) o theos: (1Samuel 2:29,34; 3:13; 1Kings 1:6; 2:24,25; Proverbs 13:24; 29:15)

Spurgeon - What a bright light this sheds upon all affliction: that it is for our profit, that it is thereby we are made partakers of the holiness of God. While you feel the weight of God’s hand upon you, never forget that it is your Father’s hand. Whatever form your trial may take—whether it is the loss of a child or of a parent, or the withdrawal of temporal prosperity, or the smiting of the body with aches and pains—the rod is never in any hand but the paternal one, and even while the Father smites He loves. Let this be your comfort, that it is not the hand of an enemy that is upon you. You are not suffering from a crushing blow from the foe’s mailed hand, but the stroke, whether it is heavy or light, is wholly caused by your loving Father’s hand.

Deals (4374) (prosphero from prós = to, toward + phéro = bring) refers primarily to an an offering, whether of gifts, prayers, or sacrifices. It conveys the idea of carrying or bringing something into the presence of someone usually implying a transfer of something to that person.

In this verse in Hebrews prosphero is in the passive voice and conveys the meaning of “to behave toward, to deal with.” Wuest explains "That is, the afflictive dealing of God with the recipients is an evidence that they are sons of God. We must keep in mind that this letter is written to the professing Christian Church made up of saved and unsaved. Both classes were the recipients of the persecution, because both classes had left the temple sacrifices and had identified themselves with the visible church. But only those who would remain under the chastening hand of God would prove themselves to be true sons of God. Those who would renounce their profession of Messiah as High Priest and return to the sacrifices in order to escape the persecution, would show by that, that they had never been saved."

An incident from the Old Testament illustrates this. David was rebuked by the Lord for numbering Israel and was given the choice of three punishments. He wisely let the Lord decide, and undoubtedly experienced the least hurtful of the three, but in the plague God sent, 70,000 Israelites died! (2Samuel 24).

FOR WHAT SON IS THERE WHOM [HIS] FATHER DOES NOT DISCIPLINE?: tis gar huios on ou paideuei (3SPAI) pater:

This is a rhetorical question of course -- the answer (at least the ideal one, realizing that many sons in America have no father or only an "absentee" father) is "None".

Discipline (3811) (paideuo [word study] from país = child) refers primarily to the training or discipline of children (whether in the schools of men - Acts 7:22, Acts 22:3 or in the school of God, Titus 2:12-note, et al), at one end of the spectrum training by teaching, instructing, educating or nurturing and at the other end of the spectrum utilizing correction and punishment if necessary (which it usually is for children) as a part of the training or child rearing process bringing them to maturity (this end of the spectrum conveyed by English words like chastise or chasten - see below - as morally disciplining an adult, correcting them and giving them guidance). In that regard we will briefly look at some of the most common English words used to translate paideuo and will attempt to draw out the sometimes subtle differences in meaning. From this introduction, you can see that the meaning of paideuo is dependent on the context.

It should be emphasized that the verb discipline is not synonymous with to punish, but is more accurately thought of as meaning to chastise or chasten. In popular speech chastise and punish are often confounded. Chasten is from the Latin , “pure,” “chaste ;” and to chasten is, properly, to purify! This meaning underlies even the use of the word by Pilate, who was not likely to be nice in his choice of words. Instead of punishing the Messiah with death, he sought to chastise Jesus, in order to teach Him! (Lk 23:16). As emphasized in this section of Hebrews dealing with discipline, the verb paideuo includes the ideas of instruction, correction, and warning and all God's chastenings are designed to cultivate Christ-likeness and purify us from the evil tendencies that emanate from our intractably evil flesh nature. In the context of the book of Hebrews, the discipline referred to in this section is not punishment for wrongdoing, but training through persecution.

Coach Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys is reputed to have said,

The job of a coach is to make men do what they don’t want to do, in order to be what they’ve always wanted to be!

Our author would have welcomed that as an accurate statement of what God does with those he calls to be his children. They (and we) should “hang tough” because their trials are proof that they (and we) "are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ." (Jude 1:1)

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Good Dads - Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. grew up with a father he describes as physically present but emotionally absent. In his first book on parenting, Pitts openly chronicles his struggle to come to terms with his alcoholic father and the climate of fear he had created in their home. Pitts challenges all men to resolve the resentment toward their absent or abusive fathers instead of passing it on to the next generation.

There's a passage in Hebrews 12 that applies to all Christians, but it has special relevance to dads. It reads: "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" (He 12:14,15).

Think of what could happen in our families if we emptied our hearts of bitterness and made peaceful relationships our goal! If we have been blessed with a wise and loving father, we should be grateful and follow his example. But if our father has failed us, we must rely on God's grace, resolve our anger toward him, and strive to be the kind of dad we never had. It won't be easy, but with our heavenly Father as a perfect example, we can learn to be good dads. —David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A faithful father leads by love
With tender firmness from above,
For he himself has learned from God
The lessons of His chastening rod. --DJD

A good father reflects the love of the heavenly Father.

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Andrew Murray in The Holiest of All...

CHASTENING AND HOLINESS.
Hebrews 12:7, 8, 9, 10.

WE live in a world full of suffering. A great part of the daily life of many is made up of little trials and vexations. A sharp word; an unkind judgment; neglect or ingratitude from some one from whom we did not expect it; the carelessness of a servant; the temper of a husband or wife; the loss accruing through the neglect or unfaithfulness of others; the disappointment of our wishes; the accidents that vex us-all these things in daily life often come to us with far greater temptation and danger than times of persecution for the faith brought to the martyrs. By their littleness and their frequency and their suddenness, they surprise and conquer us ere we know. If Christianity is to be a success, if Christ is to save completely, there must be a provision, sufficient and efficacious, to prevent suffering from causing discouragement or defeat, to transform it into blessing and help.

If it can enable us to rejoice in tribulation (cp Ro 5:3-note), to glory in infirmities, and to pass unharmed through trial (Ed: Or certainly more like Christ), it will indeed be the religion man needs in a world of suffering. He that has this secret (cp Php 4:11, 12-note), whereby what have been hindrances become helps (cp 2Co 12:10-note), and his very enemies are made to serve him, is on the way to be the Christian God would have him be.

God has made such a provision. First of all, He gives His own Son, as the chief of sufferers, to show us how close the relation is between suffering and His love, suffering and the victory over sin, suffering and perfection of character, suffering and glory. Yea more, to provide us with One, who can sympathise, who can teach us how to suffer, and who, as the Conqueror of sin through suffering, can breathe His own life and strength into us. And thus He comes as our Father, to shed His heavenly light on our afflictions, and to teach us the lessons our portion contains. They are these. Chastening is a part of a father's training, and one of the marks of sonship Submission to chastening forms and proves the truly childlike character. God's chastening makes us partakers of God's holiness. See how these three thoughts are brought out here.

Chastening is a needful part of a father's training. It is for chastening that ye endure; all suffering is a divine chastening. God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father chasteneth not? Our own childhood and fatherhood teach it us; discipline, chastening, and reproof, in whatever form, is an indispensable part of education; where a child needs it a father may not withhold it. In the will of God, and in the very nature of things, sin and suffering go together, and even love can cause suffering for the greater good of casting out the sin. Let the child of God learn the lesson, suffering is chastening, the chastening of love. We ought to spare no pains to learn this lesson well; we ought to repeat and repeat it, until we can say, Now, I know it perfectly: every trial, small or great, I will look upon at once as a messenger of God's love. If you thus meet it, whether it comes through men or yourself or more directly from above, as God's appointment, you are in the right attitude for bearing and being blessed by it.

Submission to chastening forms and proves the truly childlike spirit. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? When the Lamb of God came to this earth to suffer God's will, it was that He might teach us what the place is that becomes the creature, and the child--absolute subjection to the perfect will of love. He came to show that the thing that makes life worth having is to have it to give up to God, and to prove that humility and resignation are the sacrifices God delights in, and the sure, the only path to God. No religion or worship of God can be acceptable to Him but as Me sees in it con-fortuity to the life and spirit of His Son. We can only please Him as we are like-minded to Christ. Learn, O child of God! the unspeakable privilege in suffering, of giving up thy will to God, even as Jesus did, of adoring His wisdom and goodness, and entering deeper into the child's spirit and the child's place --to reverence and submit. Chastening is one of the marks of sonship. If ye are without chastening, then are ye bastards and not sons. Suffering is not in itself a sign of sonship. An enemy or a criminal may be scourged; even a slave chastened as well as a son. But to him who is a son, chastening reminds him of his place, and calls him to meet this part of a son's heritage in the spirit and with the hope of a son--with the assurance that it will draw him nearer and lock him closet to the Father.

Chastening makes us partakers of God's holiness. He chasteneth us for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. What a new light on suffering and chastening! He that maketh holy and they that are made holy, are all of one. We have entrance into the Holiest of All. In the which will we have been made holy. He hath made the people holy by His blood. And now comes suffering--shall we not welcome it when He sends it with such a message--to break open our inner being, and waken up our desire, and make us partakers in our inmost life of that holiness Jesus gives, of that holiness into which we enter in God's presence. Yes, welcome suffering, if it leads us, through subjection to God's will and love, into His holiness as our portion.

1. What can teach us to welcome suffering? A heart set upon holiness, Suffering is meant by God to make us holy. No one can welcome suffering except as he welcomes the holiness it brings.

2. "That state is best, which exercises the highest faith in and fullest resignation to God."

3. "Receive every inward and outward trouble with both thy hands, as a true opportunity of dying to self and entering into fellowship with thy self-denying Saviour." (Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All)

Hebrews 12:7-11 — Responding to God's Discipline

By Pastor Steven Cole - this sermon is an excellent exposition of Hebrews 12:7-11

As an old man looking back on his life, the late Malcolm Muggeridge observed, Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, everything I have learned, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness. If it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence, the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be en-durable (A Twentieth Century Testimony [Thomas Nelson], in Reader's Digest [1/91], p. 158)

By way of contrast, many have allowed difficult trials to turn them away from God. For example, I have read that media mogul, Ted Turner, grew up in a church-going home. But when his sister died, Turner’s father grew bitter and turned away from God. Ted Turner followed his father’s example.

Trials are a fact of life, but how we respond to them is our choice. I do not know if Muggeridge was truly converted (Ed: As I have read some of his statements one wonders - aren't we glad Jesus is the final Judge!), but he seems to have grown better through his trials. Turner, however, grew bitter. I grant that it is difficult to understand how God can be both good and omnipotent, and yet allow the horrible suffering that we see in the world. But to cease to believe in God on account of suffering does not make God cease to exist, and it does not resolve the problem. To “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb 12:1), we need to know how God wants us to respond to His loving discipline.

To respond properly to the Father’s discipline, submit to it and grow in holiness through it.

That word, submit, grates on many souls. I have read Christian psychologists who say that those who grew up in “dysfunctional” homes have a problem with authority figures. They urge such persons to “find an authority figure and disagree with him” in order to assert their own authority! I would not recommend that approach! A “Frank & Ernest” cartoon expressed it well. The two bunglers are standing at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter has a scowl on his face. Frank whispers to Ernie, “If I were you, I’d change my shirt, Ernie.” Ernie’s shirt reads, “Question Authority.”

God is the Ultimate Authority! Whether you like His program for your life or not, it is not wise to rebel against it. As Heb 12:9 tells us, if we submit to the Father of our spirits, we will live. Bishop Westcott (The Epistle to the Hebrews [Eerdmans], p. 402) puts it,

“True life comes from complete self-surrender.”

The author of Hebrews gives us three reasons why we should submit to God’s loving discipline:

1. We should submit to the Father’s discipline because it is an essential aspect of the father-son relationship (Hebrews 12:7, 8).

The opening phrase of Heb 12:7 may be translated as either an indicative (NASB, “It is for discipline that you endure”) or an imperative (NIV, “Endure hardship as discipline”). Either way, the point of these verses is that discipline is a mark of genuine sonship. As I said last week, I never disciplined other people’s disobedient children. But I did discipline my children, because I love them and I wanted them to grow up to respect proper authority.

The author states that if you lack discipline, you are not a true child of God, but rather illegitimate. In that day, illegitimate children had no inheritance. To be an heir of the promise of eternal life, make sure that you are a genuine child of God through faith in Christ (Gal. 3:26). If you are His child, then trials are an evidence of His love, not of His neglect or opposition (Heb 12:6).

But, since both believers and unbelievers alike go through trials, what does the author mean when he says that some are “with-out discipline”? How can we know if the trials that we go through are an evidence of our being God’s true children?

The primary answer, as I just said, is, “Have I truly repented of my sins and trusted in Christ alone to save me?” If so, the further answer lies in how we respond to the trials that come our way. A true child of God submits to Him in the trial and seeks to grow in holiness. An illegitimate child shrugs it off as bad luck or, worse, turns against God and grows bitter. Also, if a true child of God sins, he will be troubled about it. David was miserable after he sinned (see Psalms 38 & Ps 51). An illegitimate child will gloat that he got away with it or shrug off his sin as no big deal. But a true child of God submits to the Father’s discipline, because such discipline is an essential part of the father-son relationship.

2. We should submit to the Father’s discipline because He perfectly administers it for our eternal good, that we may share His holiness (Hebrews 12:9, 10).

The author makes two points in these verses:

A. If the imperfect discipline of our earthly fathers was beneficial, how much more beneficial is our heavenly Father’s perfect discipline.

Hebrews 12:9 contrasts “the fathers of our flesh” (earthly fathers) with “the Father of [our] spirits” (our heavenly Father). The expression, fathers of our flesh, focuses on their imperfection. Every earthly father falls short in his knowledge of his children and in wisdom as to how to train and discipline them. But our heavenly Father knows each of us thoroughly and perfectly, including all of our thoughts and motives. He deals with us in perfect wisdom.

While good fathers always try to act in love, they often fail. But God always acts in love, seeking our highest good. Earthly fathers can be mean or angry, but God is never temperamental. Earthly fathers have jurisdiction over us during childhood. But God’s authority and discipline extends over our lifetimes. Good earthly fathers seek to prepare us for life on earth. But God is pre-paring us for eternity.

The author’s point is that the discipline of our earthly fathers was beneficial, even though it was flawed by human shortcomings. We respected them for it because we can see how we benefited from it. But God’s discipline is absolutely perfect.

B. Therefore, we should subject ourselves to the heavenly Father’s discipline and live.

The important thing with regard to God’s discipline is the spirit in which we respond. If we resist and harden our hearts, we will miss the purpose of the discipline. If we are truly God’s children, this will result in more discipline. God’s intention is that we respectfully submit to it (Hebrews 12:9). It’s possible to submit like the defiant little boy whose mother told him to sit in a chair until he calmed down. He clenched his teeth and said, “I’m sitting on the outside, but I’m standing on the inside!” That’s not true submission! The psalmist reflected true submission when he proclaimed, “I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me” (Ps. 119:75).

We should submit to God because He has the sovereign right to do with us as He pleases. That is the point of the Book of Job. Even though Job was the most godly man on earth, God had a perfect right to take away everything Job treasured. No man has a claim against Almighty God. One of the most stunning instances of this was when God told the prophet Ezekiel that He was about to take the desire of his eyes (his wife) with a blow. But, God told the prophet not to mourn or weep, as a spiritual object lesson to Israel. So, the next day Ezekiel’s wife died and he did as God had commanded (Ezek. 24:15-24). Wow!

The prophet had learned a basic lesson that we all need to learn: God is God and I am not God. If the Sovereign of the universe wants to take my wife, my children, my possessions, my health, or my life, that is His prerogative. Faith eventually arrives at saying, as A. W. Pink put it (An Exposition of Hebrews [Ephesians 4 Group software], p. 977), “The trial was not as severe as it could have been. It was not as severe as I deserve. And, my Savior suffered far worse for me.” And so faith submits to the Father’s discipline, trusting that He administers it perfectly for His eternal purpose and for my eternal good.

3. We should submit to the Father’s discipline because al-though it is difficult for the present, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to all that are trained by it (12:11).

The author makes three points in Heb 12:11:

A. All discipline seems difficult for the present.

Discipline seems-to our limited, time-bound perspective-not to be joyful, but sorrowful. I am glad that the Bible acknowledges that fact! God’s discipline is not easy or pleasant. It is not wrong to cry out loudly to God or to weep when you’re going through a difficult trial, because Jesus did that very thing (Heb. 5:7-note). The psalms show us that it is okay to bare our sorrows and grief to the Lord, as long as we do it with a submissive spirit. God gave us tear ducts for a reason!

I’ve shared with you before that on my 36th birthday, I had to conduct a funeral for a 39-year-old man who died of cancer, leaving a widow and two children. Two years later, I conducted the funeral for his wife, who also died of cancer. But after his funeral, as I was consoling his wife, her former bounded up with a silly grin on his face and said, “Praise the Lord, Scott’s in glory now!” I felt like punching him! I thought, “Let her weep!”

But, how does weeping fit with the Bible’s command, “Rejoice always” (1Th 5:16-note)? That command does not mean that we always go around with a smile on our face, saying, “Praise the Lord,” even when we’re hurting. It does not mean saying that you feel great when you don’t, which is hypocrisy. Even Jesus admitted, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death” (Mark 14:34). It’s not a contradiction that the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament is, “Rejoice always,” whereas the shortest verse in the English New Testament is, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35)!!

The key is, in the midst of the trials and the tears, to focus on the goal: the peaceful fruit of righteousness. If we keep in mind what God is doing in light of eternity, then we can endure with inner joy and peace, while at the same time admitting the pain and sorrow. As Paul wrote (2Cor 6:10), though we are sorrowful, we are yet always rejoicing, knowing that God is for us and that He is working all our trials together for our good (Ro 8:28-note, Ro 8:29, 30-note, Ro 8:31, 32, 33-note, Ro 8:34, 35, 36-note).

B. All discipline is designed to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

The phrase means, “the peaceful fruit that consists in righteousness.” “Righteousness” (Heb 12:11) is synonymous with “holiness” (Heb 12:10). Both terms mean godliness or conformity to Jesus Christ, who is the embodiment of godliness (Ro 8:29). He shows us what it means to be a righteous person in thought, word, and deed. True holiness or righteousness is not just external, but begins at the heart or thought level. A truly righteous person has godly motives. He seeks to glorify God in everything.

Righteousness and peace always go together. You cannot have true righteousness without peace, or true peace without righteousness. I emphasize true because sometimes people mistake relief from trials as God’s peace, even though they disobeyed God to gain that relief. A Christian brother once told me, with a peaceful smile on his face, that God had told him to divorce his wife, and that he felt such a peace in his heart since he made that decision! It took me several hours to convince him that he was not feeling God’s peace, because his decision was not righteous. He was only feeling relief at the thought of getting away from a woman who, I admit, was not pleasant to live with!

God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness in many ways. Here are seven:

(1) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness by teaching us the terrible devastation caused by sin.

When David sinned with Bathsheba and murdered her husband, the Lord forgave his sin, but He also took the life of the son that they conceived. Also, the Lord raised up evil against David from within his own household (2Sa 12:11). His son Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar. Tamar’s brother, Absalom, murdered Amnon and later led a rebellion against David. By letting us suffer such painful consequences for our sin, God teaches us that sin causes devastation and death, so that we will flee from it when we are tempted.

(2) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness by stripping us of self-righteousness, self-sufficiency, and pride.

By nature, we all have the tendency to think, “Others may commit terrible sins, but I could never do such a thing!” Peter thought that the other apostles might deny Jesus, but not trust-worthy old Peter (Mark 14:29, 30)! The Lord had to show Peter that his heart was just as prone to sin as everyone else’s heart

The Lord burdened Paul excessively, beyond his strength, so that he despaired even of life. The reason, Paul said, was “so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2Co 1:8, 9).

We’re all prone to trust in ourselves, rather than in the Lord. It is wise to have a prudent savings plan, but if we trust in our savings, God has ways of wiping out our accounts. It is wise to eat well and to exercise regularly, but if we’re trusting in those things to preserve our lives, God has ways of bringing sickness or injury to teach us that we depend on Him for our next breath and for every day’s supply of food and water.

(3) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness by helping us shift our focus from this life to eternity.

By nature, we’re all too focused on this life, in spite of the fact that life is a vapor (Jas 4:14). Paul says that the obvious fact (which we all try to ignore!) that our bodies are wearing out should make us shift our focus to eternity. He wrote, “though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” He goes on to say that we look at the unseen, eternal things, not at the things we see on this earth (2Cor. 4:16, 17, 18).

(4) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness by uncovering hidden sins and blind spots.

Sometimes we are unaware of our sins or shortcomings until God brings some trial that exposes them. The psalmist testified, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word” (Ps 119:67). There is no indication that he was openly rebellious before he was afflicted. Rather, the affliction made him aware of hidden sins that he had not seen before.

Paul had an amazing vision of heaven. Although he was a humble man, the danger was that this vision would puff him up with pride. So the Lord sent a messenger of Satan, a thorn in the flesh, to keep Paul from exalting himself (2Cor 12:7). Whatever that thorn was (some think a physical ailment; others think that it was the Judaizers, who plagued his ministry), it kept Paul from falling into the sin of pride over his heavenly vision.

(5) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness by strengthening our faith and driving us closer to Christ.

Through his thorn in the flesh, Paul learned to trust Christ in ways that he had not done before. He learned the sufficiency of God’s grace and strength in the face of his painful weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:9-10). Adversity has a way of causing us to lean on the Lord in ways that we don’t need to when times are trouble-free.

(6) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness by developing compassion and humility.

Sometimes we look down on others who are suffering. We arrogantly think, “If they would just get it together [like me!], they would avoid all these problems!” Then God sends affliction to us. Suddenly, we have more compassion for those who suffer. We lose our proud judgmental spirit and grow in sympathy.

(7) God’s discipline produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness by developing the fruit of the Spirit in us and thus making us more usable in His service.

Fruit grows best on vines that are pruned (Jn 15:2). The fruit of the Spirit grows in hearts that have submitted to the pruning of God’s discipline. The fact that righteousness is a fruit shows that it takes time to grow. We have instant coffee and instant photocopies and instant just about anything. But so far, no one has come up with instant fruit! It grows slowly but surely in our lives as we submit to God’s discipline.

Thus, all discipline seems difficult for the moment, but it is designed to produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Finally,

C. For discipline to be effective, we must submit to the training process.

To benefit by God’s discipline, we must be “trained” by it. The Greek word (gymnazo; we get gymnasium from it) indicates physical training or exercise. It meant, literally, to strip naked. There were two images behind the word. First, as we have seen (Heb 12:1), an athlete has to strip himself of all needless weights or en-cumbrances that would hinder him from running well.

Also, the ancient Greeks, like modern Americans, were enamored by the perfect body. An athlete would strip before his trainer, who would determine which muscles the athlete needed to develop. The trainer would develop a regimen for the athlete to build up the muscles that were lacking, to perfect his physique. But, of course, the athlete then had to submit to the training regimen to benefit from it.

God is the perfect spiritual trainer. He knows where each of us is lacking and what we need to develop the spiritual muscle to run well. But we have to submit to the program that He prescribes for us. If we dodge the training, we will pay later by being defeated by temptation and sin.

Conclusion

Maybe you’re wondering, “If all trials are God’s discipline, de-signed to make us holy, is it wrong to seek to get out from under them? Is it wrong to go to the doctor when we’re ill? Is it wrong to try to get a better job? Is it wrong to try to resolve problems that irritate us? Why not just submit to them, if they are designed for our good?”

The answer is, it depends on our attitude toward the Lord in the trial. Is my heart in submission to the heavenly Father? Am I relating each trial to His providential love for me, trying to learn the lessons that He intends? Am I willing to accept His will if it does not coincide with my will?

As you know, Jesus in the Garden, prayed, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Three times Paul asked God to remove his thorn in the flesh, but when God told Paul that His grace was sufficient, Paul was content to live with the distress (2Co 12:8, 9-note; , 2Co 12:10-note).

David was wrong to go into battle against Israel with the Philistine king. God allowed the Amalekites to raid the city where the families of David and his men lived, to burn it to the ground, and to take all of their wives and children captive. Even David’s men threatened to stone him. “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” We see his submission to God’s discipline in that he did not assume that he should go after the enemy and re-cover his family and possessions. Rather, he asked God whether he should pursue them. Only after the Lord granted permission did David go after them and recover everything (see 1Sa 30:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

So in every trial, whether major or minor, stop and examine your heart. Are you truly in submission to God? Are you seeking to learn and grow in holiness through the trial? If so, it is not wrong to ask the Father to remove it, if it’s His will, and to take steps to resolve the problem. Often, In His grace and love, He will remove it. But, sometimes, He says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” When He does, we have to trust that He is our loving Father who has our good in view. If we submit to Him, He will produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness in us.

Discussion Questions

How can we know whether it is God’s will for us to endure a trial or if it is okay to seek to get out from under the trial?

Clearly, it is wrong to grumble (Phil. 2:14), but is there a proper way to express our complaints to the Lord? How?

How can a person who had an abusive father learn to respect God’s fatherly discipline, especially when it is severe?

How can a believer who struggles with a bad attitude develop a heart of cheerful submission to God?

(Hebrews 12:7-11 Responding to God's Discipline) (Steven Cole's sermon manuscripts are highly recommended - Click for Pastor Cole's Sermons by Book)

Hebrews 12:8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: ei de choris este (2PPAI) paideias es metochoi gegonasin (3PRAI) pantes, ara nothoi kai ouch uioi este. (2PPAI)

Amplified: Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

NLT: 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 after all (NLT - Tyndale House)

never disciplined? (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: For if you had no experience of the correction which all sons have to bear you might well doubt the legitimacy of your sonship. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: But if you are without discipline, correction, and guidance, of which all [sons] have been made partakers, it follows therefore that you are bastards and not sons. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: and if ye are apart from chastening, of which all have become partakers, then bastards are ye, and not sons.

BUT IF YOU ARE WITHOUT DISCIPLINE: ei de choris este (2PPAI) paideias: (He 12:6; Ps 73:1,14,15; 1Pe 5:9,10)

But (de) introduces a dramatic, strong contrast.

If = first class conditional statement which is regarded as a fulfilled condition. In short, God does not own those whom He does not chasten and they not His children. It is not true as so many falsely assert that God is the Father of all mankind. There are only 2 spiritual families on earth since sin entered the garden of Eden, one family being God's family (Jn 1:12, 13, Ro 8:14, 15, 16-note) and the other being Satan's family (cp Jn 8:44, 1Jn 3:7, 8, 9 and especially 1Jn 3:10)

Without (5565) (choris from chora = land in turn from choros = field) is used here as a preposition which marks dissociation and indicates a distinct separation from discipline. In other words - no ("separate from") discipline = not a believer.

In the OT God's discipline of Israel often came in the form of drought, famine or enemy attack, and was regarded in a negative light and thus as a sign of His displeasure with His people because of sin. It follows that these first-century Jewish believers could easily view persecution in the same light. The writer assures his Hebrew readers that God's chastenings are proof of their genuine sonship, for all sons are partakers of chastening. Those among them who were not chastened were as it were "born out of wedlock" and therefore not believers.

Discipline (3809) (paideia [word study] from país = child) means to provide instruction, with the intent of forming proper habits of behavior, of providing guidance for responsible living, of rearing and guiding a child toward maturity. Paideia is a broad term, signifying whatever parents and teachers do to train, correct, cultivate, and educate children in order to help them develop and mature as they ought. (See notes on Hebrews 12:7 for additional discussion related to paideia).

OF WHICH ALL HAVE BECOME PARTAKERS: es metochoi gegonasin (3PRAI) pantes:

Have become (1096) (ginomai) means to come into existence. In other words, all who have come into existence (by grace through faith, Eph 2:8, 9-note) into the family of God (believers) have also become partakers or sharers in the Father's discipline. Given this clear Scriptural teaching, it is sad and surprising that so many believers resist and even sometimes resent clear teaching on the necessity for and significance of divine discipline in the life of every true child of God!

Partakers (3353) (metochos [word study] from metecho = have with, describing participation with another in common blessings) describes one who shares with someone else as an associate in an enterprise or undertaking. It speaks of those who are participators in something. Business partner, companion. Participating in. Accomplice in. Comrade.

To be participants in chastisement is a clear sign that one is a true child of God, for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves. God is like a gardener, for the gardener does not prune thistles, but does prune grapevines to make them more productive. Similarly God's discipline is not intended to destroy us but to develop us. In other words, our Father takes us into His darkroom to develop our character not demolish it.

THEN YOU ARE ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN AND NOT SONS: ara nothoi kai ouch huioi este (2PPAI):

Illegitimate children (3541) (nothos) is one who is unable to register a valid claim to ancestry and thus is a spurious or illegitimate son. In the present context nothos then describes one who is unable to make an accredited claim to sonship (referring to a legitimate son or daughter) of God.

In ancient times when one described someone as an illegitimate child it was a grievous insult. In fact, if one was illegitimate, it had a significant negative impact on social status as well as one’s right of inheritance. And thus under Roman law, the illegitimate child had no inheritance rights. In addition, in that culture, the fathers obviously were more invested with their legitimate heirs and usually invested little time in illegitimate sons.

Spurgeon - None of us would wish to have that terrible name truthfully applied to us. I should greatly prefer to come into the condition of the apostle when he said, “Therefore rather I will boast in my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may reside in me” (2Cor 12:9-note).

Not sons - The Greek for "not" is ou which conveys the sense of absolute negation. You are in no way sons of God!

This principle begs the question - Have you experienced the good hand of the Lord in discipline at some time (or times) in your life? If you have, then you are a legitimate child of God (Jn 1:11-13, 1Jn 3:1-note).

Spurgeon adds that even though this is true "no one should pray for troubles, or be anxious because he is without them: they will come fast enough and thickly enough before long, and when they do, a blessing will be in them.

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Our Daily Bread - Half-Baked Christians - The prophet Hosea used the tribe of Ephraim as a poetic representation of the northern kingdom of Israel. In a colorful admonition, he wrote that Ephraim had become "a cake unturned" (Hosea 7:8).

In today's terminology, the prophet might have said that Ephraim was "half-baked." The people were like a pancake burned on one side but raw on the other. Although they took advantage of the Lord's goodness, they did not seek Him with their heart. When they needed help, they turned to other sources (Hos 7:10, 11,14, 15, 16). They had become tasteless and useless to God, so He was forced to judge them.

Jesus echoed the words of the prophet. Although He had gentle words for penitent sinners, He gave a scathing rebuke to the haughty and self-righteous who wanted to live as they pleased. He was furious at two-faced religious leaders who talked a good talk but turned around and exploited their followers (Matthew 23:13-30).

God is never soft on sin. He sent His only Son to redeem us from sin's penalty (John 3:16). Let's not be half-baked Christians, claiming God's forgiveness but still living as we please. The only fitting response to God's mercy and grace is to serve Him in humility and love.—Haddon W. Robinson (Ibid)

Thinking It Through
What is the basis of our salvation? (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
How are we to respond to God's grace? (Eph 2:10).
How does God correct His children? (Hebrews 12:5-11).

God's grace is not license to live as we please—it's liberty to please God.

Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: eita tous men tes sarkos emon pateras eichomen (1PIPI) paideutas kai enetrepometha; (1PIPI) ou polu [de] mallon upotagesometha (1PFPI) to patri ton pneumaton kai zesomen? (1PFAI)

Amplified: Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live? (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

NLT: Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father and live forever? (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: After all, when we were children we had fathers who corrected us, and we respected them for it. Can we not much more readily submit to a heavenly Father's discipline, and learn how to live? (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: Furthermore, we have been having indeed fathers of our flesh as those who disciplined, corrected, and guided us, and we have been in the habit of giving them reverence. Shall we not much rather put ourselves in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: Then, indeed, fathers of our flesh we have had, chastising us, and we were reverencing them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of the spirits, and live?

FURTHERMORE WE HAD EARTHLY FATHERS TO DISCIPLINE US AND WE RESPECTED THEM: eita tous men tes sarkos hemon pateras eichomen (1P IAI) paideutas kai enetrepometha (1PIPI): (John 3:6; Acts 2:30; Ro 1:3; 9:3,5) (Respected - Ex 20:12; Lev 19:3; Dt 21:18, 19, 20, 21; 27:16; Pr 30:17; Ezek 22:7; Eph 6:1, 2, 3, 4 )

Furthermore (eita) is an adverb the writer uses to introduce a new phase of the topic of discipline. Up to this point the sufferings of Christians have been explained by God’s family or fatherly relation to them. Now the point is that their fathers, with whom God is compared, were only earthly parents or as we might put it "were only human"!

Earthly fathers - (tes sarkos hemon pateras) is literally the fathers of our flesh. We see similar expressions in Ro 4:1, 9:3; Gal 4:29; Heb 2:14.

Discipline (3810) (paideutes [word study] from paideuo = instruct, correct, chastise from país = child) refers to one who disciplines and corrects by punishment or provides instruction for the purpose of proper behavior. The idea is that of an instructor, trainer, corrector, discipliner, preceptor. This word group related to paideuo (word study) denotes the upbringing and handling of the child which is growing up to maturity and which thus needs direction, teaching, instruction and a certain measure of compulsion in the form of discipline or even chastisement. Paideutes is found only here and Ro 2:20 (and in the Septuagint in Hosea 5:2)

Wuest adds that paideutes is "The word was used by the Greeks of a slave who had charge of a young child, taking him to school and bringing him home again. He had the moral and ethical supervision of the child also. Our word, “pedagogue” comes from this word. The word is used here of a corrector or chastizer as in Hebrews 12:9.

We respected (1788) (entrepo from en = in, upon + trepo = turn) is literally to turn back or about. In an active sense it means to put to shame or make one ashamed (1Co 4:14, 2Th 3:14, Titus 2:8). In the passive/middle sense, entrepo pictures one who turns himself toward someone which gives us the concept of showing respect, reverence or regard for that person (Mt 21:37, Mk 12:6, Lk 20:13 and here in He 12:9).

There are 9 uses of entrepo in the NT - Matt. 21:37; Mk. 12:6; Lk. 18:2, 4; 20:13; 1 Co. 4:14; 2Th 3:14; Titus 2:8; Heb. 12:9 and 30 uses in the Septuagint (LXX) - Ex 10:3; Lv 26:41; Nu 12:14; Jdg. 3:30; 2Ki 22:19; 2Chr. 7:14; 12:7, 12; 30:11, 15; 34:27; 36:12; Ezra 9:6; Job 32:21; Ps 35:4, 26; 40:14; 69:6; 70:2; 71:24; 83:17; Isa 16:7, 12; 41:11; 44:11; 45:16, 17; 50:7; 54:4; Ezek. 36:32

SHALL WE NOT MUCH RATHER BE SUBJECT TO THE FATHER OF SPIRITS AND LIVE: ou polu de mallon hupotagesometha (1PFPI) to patri ton pneumaton kai zesomen (1PFAI): (Malachi 1:6; James 4:7,10; 1Peter 5:6)

Shall we not much rather - The writer's argument is a Hebraic “how much more” type argument. In other words, if we respected earthly fathers (which we do), how much more should we respect our Father in heaven, specifically when He disciplines us?

Subject (5293) (hupotasso [word study] from hupó = under + tasso = arrange in orderly manner) means literally to place under in an orderly fashion. In the active voice hupotasso means to subject, bring under firm control, subordinate as used in (Ro 8:20-note)

Hupotásso means to submit (to yield to governance or authority), to place in subjection. It is important to note that many of the NT uses are in the passive voice with a middle sense which signifies the voluntary subjection of oneself to the will of another. Husbands and wives both need to understand the voluntary nature of the submission called for in the marital relationship lest it be misapplied (discussed in more detail below). Likewise children of God need to willingly yield themselves to the governance and authority of their perfect Father!

Hupotásso was a military term meaning to draw up in order of battle, to form, array, marshal, both troops or ships. Hupotásso meant that troop divisions were to be arranged in a military fashion under the command of the leader. In this state of subordination they were now subject to the orders of their commander. Thus, it speaks of the subjection of one individual under or to another. Hupotasso was also used to describe the arrangement of military implements on a battlefield in order that one might carry out effective warfare!

In non-military use, hupotasso described a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, or carrying a burden.

Submission focuses not on personality but position. We need to see authority over us not acting on their own, but as instruments in the hand of God. If we look at people as acting on their own we will eventually become bitter, but if we can see them as acting as God allows, we will become holy. A beautiful example of this is found in the life of Joseph. His brothers consistently mistreated him and it would have been very easy for him to become bitter at them. Yet he had a divine perspective on the whole situation and it helped him become a holy man of God.

And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. (Ge 50:20).

Hebrews 12:9 poses several concluding application questions --

Will we "be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?"

Or thinking lightly of His discipline, will be rebel against the father of spirits, and die?

Will we trust Him, taking Him at His Word?

If we submit to this sovereign, loving, fatherly care, we will not "grow weary and lose heart," but we will keep the faith, fight the good fight, and finish our course, and die well, and glorify our Father in heaven.

Spurgeon on our subjection to the Father of spirits - Should we not give Him reverence when we are chastened, instead of murmuring and complaining against Him, thus calling Him to account at our judgment seat (2Cor 5:10-note)? Let us be in willing subjection to Him; and the more willingly subject we are, the less painful will the chastisement be. Our bitterest sorrow will be found at the root of our self-will; and when our self-will is gone, the bitterness of our sorrow will be past. There is a kind of fear toward God from which we must not wish to be free. There is that lawful, necessary, admirable, excellent fear, which is always due from the creature to the Creator, from the subject to the king, and from the child toward the parent. That holy, filial fear of God, which makes us dread sin and constrains us to be obedient to His command, is to be cultivated. This is the fear of the Lord which is “the start of wisdom” (Pr 9:10). To have a holy awe of our most holy, just, righteous, and tender Parent is a privilege, not a bondage.

Live (2198)(zao from zoe [word study]) means to live and can refer to natural physical life (1Co 15:45, Acts 22:22, Ro 7:1, 2, 3, 1Co 7:39) as opposed to death. In the present context however it seems the writer is emphasizing living life to the full as God intended it to be lived.

As Wuest says "The words “and live,” are not limited in their application to the future life, but refer to this present existence. The idea is, “have true life.” (cp Jn 10:10)

BDAG writes that the verb zao means "to live in a transcendent sense (Gal 2:20, Titus 2:12, 2Ti 3:12, Ro 6:2, etc)… of the sanctified life of a child of God (zao in the sense of a higher type of life than the animal… Cass. Dio 69, 19: after years of public service, Similis retires and prepares this epitaph = Here lies Similis, existing for so many years, but alive for only seven.

Wuest (in comments on 2Pe 1:3-note) writes that zoe… speaks of life in the sense of one who is possessed of vitality and animation. It is used of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God. It is used to designate the life which God gives to the believing sinner, a vital, animating, spiritual, ethical dynamic which transforms his inner being and as a result, his behavior. (In comments on 1Jn 1:2 Wuest adds) here used as Thayer indicates, as “the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God.” Thus, this life that God is, is not to be defined as merely animation, but as definitely ethical in its content. God is not the mere reason for the universe, as the Greeks thought, but a Person with the characteristics and qualities of a divine Person. The ethical and spiritual qualities of this life which God is, are communicated to the sinner when the latter places his faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour, and this becomes the new, animating, energizing, motivating principle which transforms the experience of that individual, and the saint thus lives a Christian life. The message of John is that since the believer is a partaker of this life, it is an absolute necessity that he show the ethical and spiritual qualities that are part of the essential nature of God, in his own life. If these are entirely absent, John says, that person is devoid of the life of God, and is unsaved. The ethical and spiritual qualities of this life were exhibited to the human race in the earthly life of the Lord Jesus. His life thus becomes the pattern of what our lives should be in holiness, self-sacrifice, humility, and love. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans )

In Proverbs Solomon emphasizes the vital relation between discipline and life in its ethical/moral sense writing…

For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life (Lxx = zoe) (Pr 6:23-note)

The psalmist writes…

Blessed is the man whom Thou dost chasten, O LORD, and dost teach out of Thy law; (Ps 94:12)

Spurgeon comments: Blessed is the man whom thou chastens, O LORD. The psalmist's mind is growing quiet. He no longer complains to God or argues with men, but tunes his harp to softer melodies, for his faith perceives that with the most afflicted believer all is well. Though he may not feel blessed while smarting under the rod of chastisement, yet blessed he is; he is precious in God's sight, or the Lord would not take the trouble to correct him, and right happy will the results of his correction be. The psalmist calls the chastened one a "man" in the best sense, using the Hebrew word which implies strength. He is a man, indeed, who is under the teaching and training of the Lord

Outline of a Sermon by John Farmer, 1744. Blessed is the man, etc.

I shall show the various benefits of affliction, when it is sanctified by the Spirit of God to those persons who are exercised by it.

The Great God has made affliction the occasion of converting sinners, and bringing them into a spiritual acquaintance with Christ his Son. See Isaiah 48:10.

God not only makes affliction the occasion of converting sinners at first, but after conversion he sanctifies an afflicted state to the saints, to weaken the remains of indwelling sin in them, and make them afraid of sinning against him in future time.

God, in afflicting the saints, increases that good work of grace, which his Spirit has implanted in them. God causes his saints to grow in grace, when he corrects them with the rod of sorrow; God assimilates and makes the saints like unto himself, in a greater degree, by temporal troubles and distresses. Hebrews 12:10, 11.

God afflicts the saints for the improvement of their knowledge in divine things. The Psalmist says, in the words of the text, Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law. See also Ps 119:71.

The great God, by afflicting the saints, brings them unto him with greater nearness and frequency, by prayer and supplication.

God afflicts the saints, to make them better acquainted with the perfections of his nature.

To make them more conformed to Christ his Son.

To subdue the pride of their hearts, and make them more humble.

God oftentimes discovers to the saints, in the season of their affliction, in a clearer manner, that grace which he has implanted in them, and refreshes their souls with the consolations of his Spirit.

God afflicts the saints, to divide their hearts more from the love of the world, and to make them more meet for heaven. Outline of a Sermon by John Farmer, 1744.

Daniel Dyke, in "The Schoole of Affliction," 1633. Here observe generally, what it is which afflictions, or God by afflictions, teacheth his children; even the self same thing which he teacheth in his word; as the schoolmaster teacheth his scholars the same thing by the rod, which he teacheth by words. The word, then, is the storehouse of all instruction. Look not for any new diverse doctrine to be taught thee by affliction, which is not in the word. For, in truth, herein stands our teaching by affliction, that it fits and prepares us for the word, by breaking and subdividing the stubbornness of our hearts, and making them pliable, and capable of the impression of the word. Wherefore, as the Apostle saith, that the law is our schoolmaster to Christ, Ga 3:24. Because the law, by showing unto us our disease, forces us to the physician. So likewise it may be said that afflictions are schoolmasters to the law. For whilst we are at ease and in prosperity, though the sons of thunder terrify never so much with the fearful cracks of legal menaces, yet are we as deaf men, nothing moved therewith. But when we are humbled and meekened by affliction, then is there way made for the terrors of the law; then do we begin with some reverence of attention to listen and give ear unto them. When therefore God sends us any affliction, we must know that then he sends us to the law and to the testimony. For he teaches us indeed in our affliction, but it is in his law. And therefore if in our affliction we will learn anything, we must take God's book into our hands, and carefully and seriously peruse it. And hereby shall it appear that our afflictions have been our teachers, if by them we have felt ourselves stirred up to greater diligence, zeal, and reverence in reading and hearing the word… After that the prophet had preferred his complaint to the Lord against the adversaries of the church, from the first verse to the eighth, he leaveth God, and in a sudden conversion of speech, turns himself from the party complained unto, to the parties complained of, the cruel oppressors of the church, terrifying them by those just judgments of God, which in fine must overtake them, and so consequently cheering and comforting the distressed church. But because the distress of the church's enemies of itself could be no sufficient matter of comfort unto her, therefore a second argument of further and that far more effectual consolation is added in this twelfth verse, drawn from the happy condition of the church, even while she is thus overborne with those tigerly and tyrannical persecutors. And the argument is propounded by the prophet, not directing his speech to the church, but rather in his own person, bringing in the church suddenly turning her speech from her enemies, with whom she was expostulating, to God himself, and breaking forth into this pathetic expostulation, Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law. From the coherence of which words with the former, we may observe, that the outward miseries of our enemies is but cold comfort, unless withal we have a persuasion of our own inward happiness… It would do the child little good to see the rod cast into the fire, if he himself should be cast in after it. Therefore the church having in this place meditated of the just judgments of God, which should in due time befall her adversaries, and not finding sufficiency of comfort therein, here in this verse proceedeth to a further meditation of her own case and condition. Wherein she seemeth thus to reason to herself. What though these mine enemies be brought to their deserved ends? what though I know they be reserved for shame and confusion? What ease can this bring to my mind now dejected, and happy thinking itself as miserable as these my foes? Now these doubtful thoughts something disquieting her, further comfort is ministered unto her by the Spirit of God in this verse, whereby she is enabled to answer that objection she made against herself, namely, that she is assured, that as her adversaries' case is wretched, so is her own most happy and blessed. Daniel Dyke, in "The Schoole of Affliction," 1633.

Thomas Brooks. Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, etc. If by outward afflictions thy soul be brought more under the inward teachings of God, doubtless thy afflictions are in love. All the chastening in the world, without divine teaching, will never make a man blessed; that man that finds correction attended with instruction, and lashing with learning, is a happy man. If God, by the affliction that is upon thee, shall teach thee how to loathe sin more, how to trample upon the world more, and how to walk with God more, thy afflictions are in love. If God shall teach thee by afflictions how to die to sin more, and how to die to thy relations more, and how to die to thy self interest more, thy afflictions are in love. If God shall teach thee by afflictions how to live to Christ more, how to lift up Christ more, and how to long for Christ more, thy afflictions are in love. If God shall teach thee by afflictions to get assurance of a better life, and to be still in a gracious readiness and preparedness for the day of thy death, thy afflictions are in love. If God shall teach thee by afflictions how to mind heaven more, and how to fit for heaven more, thy afflictions are in love. If God by afflictions shall teach thy proud heart how to lie more low, and thy hard heart how to grow more humble, and thy censorious heart how to grow more charitable, and thy carnal heart how to grow more spiritual, and thy froward heart how to grow more quiet, &c., thy afflictions are in love. Pambo, an illiterate dunce, as the historian terms him, was learning that one lesson, "I said I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue," nineteen years, and yet had not learned it. Ah! it is to be feared that there are many who have been in this school of affliction above this nineteen years and yet have not learned any saving lesson all this while. Surely their afflictions are not in love, but in wrath. Where God loves, he afflicts in love, and wherever God afflicts in love, there he will first and last teach such souls such lessons as shall do them good to all eternity.

If you enjoy the special presence of God with your spirits in your affliction, then your affliction is in love. Hast thou a special presence of God with thy spirit, strengthening of that, stilling of that, satisfying of that, cheering and comforting of that? "In the multitude of my thoughts," -- that is, of my troubled, intricate, ensnared, intertwined, and perplexed thoughts, as the branches of a tree by some strong wind are twisted one within another, as the Hebrew word properly signifies, -- "Thy comforts delight my soul." Here is a presence of God with the soul, here are comforts and delights that reach the soul, here is a cordial to strengthen the spirit. Thomas Brooks.

Joseph Caryl. If we have nothing but the rod, we profit not by the rod; yea, if we have nothing but the word, we shall never profit by the word. It is the Spirit given with the word, and the Spirit given with the rod, by which we profit under both, or either. Chastening and divine teaching must go together, else there will be no profit by chastening. Joseph Caryl.

H. G. Salter. God sees that the sorrows of life are very good for us; for, as seeds that are deepest covered with snow in winter flourish most in spring; or as the wind by beating down the flame raiseth it higher and hotter; and as when we would have fires flame the more, we sprinkle water upon them; even so, when the Lord would increase our joy and thankfulness, he allays it with the tears of affliction. H. G. Salter.

David Dyke comments: And teachest. Teaching implies both a schoolmaster, a teacher, instructing and lessons taught. In this teaching both these points are here noted out. And for the first, namely, the schoolmaster, it is twofold: The outward affliction and chastisement, "Whom you chastise, teach," that is, whom by chastising you teach. God himself, who is the chief and principal head schoolmaster, the other being but an inferior and subordinate one: "Whom thou teachest." And for the second point, the lessons taught, they are included generally in those words, "in thy law." To begin then with the schoolmasters, and first with the first. The first schoolmaster is affliction. A sharp and severe and swingeing schoolmaster indeed, and so much the fitter for such stout and stubborn scholars as we are; who because we will not be overcome by fair means, must needs therefore be dealt withal by foul. For God doth not willingly afflict us, but being necessarily thereunto enforced, by that strength of corruption in us, which otherwise will not be subdued. So physicians and surgeons are constrained to come to cutting, lancing, and burning, when milder remedies will not prevail. Let us therefore hereby take notice of the hardness of our hearts, the fallow ground whereof cannot be broken up but by this sharp plough of affliction. See what dullards and blockheads we are, how slow to understand spiritual things, not able to conceive of them by the instruction of words, unless they be even beaten and driven into our brains by blows. So thick and brawny is that foreskin which is drawn over our uncircumcised ears and hearts, that no doctrine can enter, unless it be pegged, and hammered, and knocked into us by the fists of this sour and crabbed schoolmaster.

The second schoolmaster is God himself. Afflictions of themselves, though severe schoolmasters, yet can do us no good, unless God come by his Spirit, and teach our hearts inwardly. Let us therefore pray that as in the ministry of God's word, so also of his works and judgments, we may be all taught of God. For it is his Spirit that quickens and animates the outward means, which otherwise are a dead letter. And this is the reason that many men have rather grown worse by their afflictions, than anything better; because God's Spirit hath not gone with the affliction, to put life and spirit into it, as Moses observed in the Israelites, Deuteronomy 29:24. David Dyke.

A child who does not learn subjection to authority will never become a useful, mature adult. Any of God’s children who are unwilling to submit their will to His perfect will but instead rebel against His authority are in danger of death! “Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb 12:9) The suggestion is that, if we do not submit, we might not live. “There is a sin unto death” (1Jn 5:16). But even if he does not allude to physical death, all life apart from fellowship with God is in essence "death" and is like filled with vanity, vanity, like chasing after the wind.

Those who live life to the fullest are those who do not refuse/resist God’s discipline but instead gratefully receive it. If your spiritual life is static and unfulfilling, it may be because you are consciously or unconsciously resisting God’s discipline. If so, God’s Word to you is, submit to Him and begin to truly live (Jn 10:10b)! There is also "life" because where there is obedience there is peace, and where there is peace there is life.

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Lawrence Richards - Two things reassure us when God disciplines. We remember that Jesus suffered first. And we remember that God has graciously explained His motive for discipline. One thing that bothers us is not knowing “why.” We lose our job, and in our fears about the future cry out, “Why?” We lose a loved one, and agonize, “Why him, and why not me?” We suffer from a lingering illness and, try as we may, we can find nothing “good” in it. We begin to doubt Ro 8:28, and again we ask, “Why?” God doesn’t give us reasons for specific hardships. But He does explain, carefully, what He is doing. God is treating us as any good parent treats his own children. God is disciplining us “for our good, that we may share in His holiness.” Don’t expect an economic benefit from the loss of a job, an emotional benefit from the loss of a loved one, or a health benefit from a serious illness. But do expect a spiritual benefit from any hardship. If you and I submit to God (v9), He will work in our lives, and through suffering we will grow in holiness. Even more, we will reap a rich “harvest of righteousness and peace” from the training hardship is intended to provide." (Richards, L: 365 DAY DEVOTIONAL: DEC 4)

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Ripples On The Pond - A young boy made a toy boat and then went to sail it on a pond. While he was playing with it along the water's edge, the boat floated out beyond his reach. In his distress he asked an older boy to help him. Without saying a word, the older child picked up some stones and started to throw them toward the boat.

The little boy became upset, for he thought that the one he had turned to for help was being mean. Soon, though, he noticed that instead of hitting the boat, each stone was directed beyond it, making a small ripple that moved the vessel a little nearer to the shore. Every throw of the stone was planned, and at last the treasured toy was brought back to his waiting hands.

Sometimes it seems as if God allows circumstances into our lives that are harming us and are without sense or plan. We may be sure, though, that these waves of trial are intended to bring us nearer to Himself, to encourage us to set our minds "on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2). Because we are prone to drift away from Him, the Lord must discipline us to get us back on the right course (Hebrews 12:9, 10, 11).

How are you responding to life's difficulties? They are God's loving way of drawing you closer to Him. —Henry G. Bosch (Ibid)

Lightly hold earth's joys so transient,
Lightly hold to things of clay,
Grasp perfections everlasting,
Where Christ dwells in heaven's day! —Bosch

God uses the waves of trial to draw us closer to Himself.

Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: oi men gar pros oligas emeras kata to dokoun (PAPNSA) autois epaideuon, (2PIAI) o de epi to sumpheron (PAPNSA) eis to metalabein (AAN) tes agiotetos autou

Amplified: For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

KJV: For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

NLT: For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: For our fathers used to correct us according to their own ideas during the brief days of childhood. But God corrects us all our days for our own benefit, to teach us his holiness (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: For on the one hand, they disciplined, corrected, and guided us for a few days upon the basis of that which seemed good to them, but He disciplines, corrects, and guides us for our profit, to the end that we might partake of His holiness. (Eerdmans)

FOR THEY DISCIPLINED US FOR A SHORT TIME AS SEEMED BEST TO THEM: oi men gar pros oligas hemeras kata to dokoun (PAPNSA) autois epaideuon (2PIAI): (Lv 11:44,45; 19:2; Ps 17:15; Ezek 36:25, 26, 27; Ep 4:24; 5:26,27; Col 1:22; Titus 2:14; 1Pe 1:15,16; 2:5,9; 2Pe 1:4)

For (gar) is a strategic term of explanation which should always prompt a pause to prayerfully ponder what the author is saying in a given section. This pause that refreshes will give your Teacher, the Spirit, an opportunity to speak to your heart (so that what you read is more than just head knowledge), not only illuminating the text (see The Bible and Illumination) but applying the text practically to your personal life (Application). Therefore, energized by the Spirit, let us discipline ourselves for godliness and frequently "P & P" (pause and ponder) the Word -- we are sure to be richly rewarded by our Father in Heaven, for "godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come!" (1Ti 4:7-8-note, 1Ti 4:9-10-note)

Wuest explains that "A comparison is now drawn between the character and end of the earthly father’s discipline and that of the heavenly Father. There are two things that indicate the imperfection of the discipline of the former, namely, it is during the brief period of youth, and it must cease when manhood is reached, whether or not it has accomplished its end; and then again, the human parents are short-sighted, fallible. They are sometimes moved by passion rather than by sound judgment, with the result that they are often mistaken in their disciplinary methods. The thing that seemed good to them was not always best for us."

Disciplined (3811) (paideuo [word study] from país = child) refers primarily to the training or discipline of children (whether in the schools of men - Acts 7:22, Acts 22:3 or in the school of God, Titus 2:12, et al), at one end of the spectrum training by teaching, instructing, educating or nurturing and at the other end of the spectrum utilizing correction and punishment if necessary (which it usually is for children) as a part of the training or child rearing process bringing them to maturity (this end of the spectrum conveyed by English words like chastise or chasten - see below - as morally disciplining an adult, correcting them and giving them guidance). In that regard we will briefly look at some of the most common English words used to translate paideuo and will attempt to draw out the sometimes subtle differences in meaning. From this introduction, you can see that the meaning of paideuo is dependent on the context.

Disciplines is not synonymous with punish, since paideuo always implies an infliction which contemplates the subject’s amendment; and hence answers to chastise or chasten. In popular speech chastise and punish are often confounded. Chasten is from the Latin , “pure,” “chaste ;” and to chasten is, properly, to purify! This meaning underlies even the use of the word by Pilate, who was not likely to be nice in his choice of words. Instead of punishing the Messiah with death, he sought to chastise him, in order to teach him better! (see Lk 23:16)

Paideuo includes instruction, discipline, correction, and warning. All are designed to cultivate Christian virtues and drive out evil. In this passage, the chastening was not punishment for wrongdoing, but training through persecution.

Our Teacher is personified as the grace of God in Titus 2 "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing (Greek verb paideuo) us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age… (Titus 2:11, 12-See notes Titus 2:11; 12 )

Human parents are shortsighted, fallible, sometimes moved by passion rather than by sound judgment, and, therefore, often mistaken in their disciplinary methods. What seemed good to them was not always best for us. No such possibility of error attaches to the Father of spirits. Earthly fathers discipline (NOT mothers primarily) according to what they think is right. Sometimes it may not be right.

Spurgeon - Sometimes Christ may hide Himself in absolute sovereignty, but I am always concerned lest we should charge God foolishly. You are so apt to put too many saddles on that stalking horse. There are such multitudes of Christians who would even excuse their sins upon the plea of a divine sovereignty that exposed them to temptation, that I scarcely like to mention it. I believe that God does not afflict the children of men willingly or arbitrarily. Neither does Christ hide His face from His people for nothing; your sins have separated you and your God. He does not chastises us as silly parents may do, out of mere anger or whim, or to please themselves.

BUT HE DISCIPLINES US FOR OUR GOOD SO THAT WE MAY SHARE HIS HOLINESS: o de epi to sumpheron (PAPNSA) eis to metalabein (AAN) tes hagiotetos autou:

But - another strategic term of contrast.

For our good - I think the rendering of some of the other versions as "for our profit" gives us a better sense of the "wages" or "dividend" paid by bearing up under the disciplining hand of the Lord.

Spurgeon - he heavenly Father’s heart is never angry so as to smite in wrath. It is in pity, and gentleness, and tenderness that He afflicts His sons and daughters. “You in faithfulness have afflicted me.” See what a blessed state this is to be brought into, to be made children of God, and then in our prayers to be praying, not like serfs and servants, but as children who cry, “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15).

God is the Father of our spiritual nature, so, if He pleases to chasten us for our profit, shall we not humbly yield ourselves up to Him, and let Him do with us whatever He wills?

Good (4851) (sumphero from sún = together + phéro = bring) means literally to bring together and then to confer a benefit. It comes to mean to be profitable, advantageous or useful. The idea is to bring together for the benefit, profit or advantage of another.

In this case it describes the dividends of discipline!

Another advantage of discipline is that "when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world. (1Co 11:32)

What is the advantage in context? His Holiness which is ever the Father's desire for His offspring, Moses recording - For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. For I am the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; thus you shall be holy for I am holy.' (Lev 11:44,45)

Paul writes the following regarding holiness of believers…

(Believers are to) put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. (Ep 4:24-note)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her that He might sanctify (make her holy) her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. (Ep 5:25, 26, 27-notes)

(Christ) gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:14-note)

Peter echoes Paul's call for holiness in believers…

but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY." (1Pe 1:15, 16-note)

you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1Pe 2:5-note)

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Pe 2:9-note)

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2Pe 1:4-note)

Trials of the Christian life as spiritual discipline that could help a believer mature. Instead of trying to escape the difficulties of life, we should rather be “exercised” by them so that we might grow (Heb 12:11-note).

God’s discipline is always perfect. His love is infinite and His wisdom is infallible. His chastenings are never the result of whim, but always for our profit.

Thomas Watson

"God disciplines us for our profit." Hebrews 12:10 What profit is in affliction? Afflictions are disciplinary. Afflictions teach us—they are the school of the cross.

Affliction shows us more of our own hearts. Water in a glass looks clear—but set it on the fire, and the scum boils up. Just so, when God sets us upon the fire—corruption boils up which we did not discern before. Sharp afflictions are to the soul, as a soaking rain to the house; we do not know that there are holes in the roof until the shower comes—but then we see it drop down here and there. Just so, we do not know what unmortified lusts are in the soul, until the storm of affliction comes—then the hidden evils of the heart come dropping down in many places. Affliction is a sacred eye-salve, it clears our eye-sight. Thus the rod gives wisdom.

Affliction quickens the spirit of prayer. Jonah was asleep in the ship—but at prayer in the whale's belly. Perhaps in a time of health and prosperity we prayed in a cold and formal manner, we put no coals to the incense. Then God sends some affliction or other—to stir us up to take hold of Him. "They poured out a prayer—when Your chastening was upon them." Isaiah 26:16. In times of trouble we pray feelingly and fervently.

Affliction is a means to purge out our sins. Affliction cures the pestilence of pride—and the fever of lust. Affliction is God's file—to scrub off our rust. Affliction is God's flail—to thresh off our husks. The water of affliction is not to drown us—but to wash off our spots.

Affliction is a means to wean us the world. The world often proves, not only a spider's web—but a cockatrice egg. Corrupting worldly things, are great enchantments. They hinder us in our passage to heaven. Affliction sounds a retreat, to call us off the immoderate pursuit of earthly things. When two things are frozen together—the best way to separate them is by fire; so, when the heart and the world are together—God has no better way to separate them than by the fire of affliction.

Affliction is a means to purify us. It works us up to further degrees of sanctity. "God disciplines us for our profit—that we may share in His holiness." Hebrews 12:10.The vessels of mercy are the brighter for scouring. As you pour water on your linen when you would whiten it—so God pours the waters of affliction upon us to whiten our souls.

Afflictions are in themselves bitter—but they bring forth the sweet fruits of righteousness. Hebrews 12:11.

Share His holiness - Literally "unto the partaking of his holiness".

Spurgeon asks "Is there no way for us to “share in His holiness” but through chastening? It would seem so from the wording of this verse. The Lord, as our loving Father, makes use of the rod so that He may make us to be truly holy." Spurgeon goes on to add that "He who stands in the thickest part of the battle shall have the highest glory at last. The old warriors would not stand and skirmish a little on the outside of the army, but would say, “To the center, men! To the center!” And they cut through thick and thin until they reached the place where the standard was, and the hotter the battle, the more glory the warrior felt. He could glory when he had been where shafts flew the thickest, and where lances were hurled like hail. “I have been near the standard,” he could say; “I have struck the standard-bearer down.”Count it glory to go into the hottest part of the field. Do not fear; your head is covered in the day of battle. The shield of God can easily repel all the darts of the enemy. Be bold for His name’s sake.

Share (3335) (metalambano from metá = with, denoting association + lambáno = take, receive) means to receive as one's share in or as one's part of. To participate in His holiness.

Holiness (41) (hagiotes from hagios = holy) means holiness, a quality of God's character to be shared by the Christian in his own character holiness! See notes on God's attribute of Holiness.

The preposition "eis" (unto) marks the final purpose of chastening. Holiness is one goal of our earthly life. Shall we not be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For, in contrast with the temporary, faulty chastening of the human parent, which, at best, prepares for work and success in time and in worldly things, God's chastening results in holiness and real life.

In Christ we have been made partakers of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4-note), and as partakers, God chastens us so that we will partake even more. The most holy of us are those who have properly endured the most discipline. What a gift, then, discipline is!

When we are suffering, it is easy to think that God does not love us. So the writer gave three proofs that chastening comes from the Father’s heart of love.

The Scriptures (He 12:5, 6-note). The quotation is from Pr 3:11,12, a statement that his readers had known but had forgotten. (This is one of the sad consequences of getting “dull” toward the Word; see Heb 5:11,12-note). Because they forgot the Word, they lost their encouragement and were ready to give up!

God's objective is that we may be partakers of His holiness. And godliness can never be produced outside God’s school.

Jowett explains that "The purpose of God’s chastening is not punitive but creative. He chastens “that we may share His holiness."

The phrase “that we may share” has direction (eis) in it, and the direction points toward a purified and beautified life. The fire which is kindled is not a bonfire, blazing heedlessly and unguardedly, and consuming precious things; it is a refiner’s fire, and the Refiner sits by it, and He is firmly and patiently and gently bringing holiness out of carelessness and stability out of weakness. God is always creating even when He is using the darker means of grace. He is producing the fruits and flowers of the Spirit. His love is always in quest of lovely things." God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all… faith is the assurance of this truth even though He is not seen.

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Pain's Purpose - Affliction, when we accept it with patience and humility, can lead us to a deeper, fuller life. "Before I was afflicted I went astray," David wrote, "but now I keep Your Word" (Ps 119:67-Spurgeon's note). And again, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes" (Ps 119:71-Spurgeon's note).

Pain, far from being an obstacle to our spiritual growth, can actually be the pathway to it. If we allow pain to train us, it can lead us closer to God and into His Word. It is often the means by which our Father graciously shapes us to be like His Son, gradually giving us the courage, compassion, contentment, and tranquility we long and pray for. Without pain, God would not accomplish all that He desires to do in and through us.

Are you one whom God is instructing through suffering and pain? By His grace, you can endure His instruction patiently (2Co 12:9). He can make the trial a blessing and use it to draw you into His heart and into His Word. He can also teach you the lessons He intends for you to learn, and give you His peace in the midst of your difficulties.

The Bible tells us, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (Jas 1:2-note). God is making more out of you than you ever thought possible. —David H. Roper (Ibid)

Through trials we learn to overcome,
Through Christ our victories are won;
Come lay your burdens at His feet
And find this inner peace so sweet. —Halsey

Christ can transform painful trials into glorious triumphs.

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