Amplified: For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness—in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening--it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Yet when it is all over we can see that is has quietly produced the fruit of real goodness in the characters of those who have accepted it in the right spirit. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: In fact, all discipline, correction, and guidance for the time being does not seem to be joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields a return of the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised by it. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and all chastening for the present, indeed, doth not seem to be of joy, but of sorrow, yet afterward the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those exercised through it -- it doth yield.
ALL DISCIPLINE FOR THE MOMENT SEEMS NOT TO BE JOYFUL BUT SORROWFUL : pasa de paideia pros men to paron (PAPNSA) ou dokei (5719) charas einai (PAN) alla lupes: (Psalms 89:32; 118:18; Proverbs 15:10; 19:18)
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
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
All (pas) - No exceptions! Beloved, let's be honest, when the Almighty, Omnipotent God disciplines us it is ALWAYS not fun!
Wuest adds that "The emphasis is upon the fact that every kind of chastening, whether human or divine, does not seem joyous."
Spurgeon - Carnal reason judges in the present light, which happens to be the very worst light in which to form a correct estimate. Suppose that I am under a great tribulation today—let it be a bodily affliction—the head is aching, the heart is palpitating, the mind is agitated and distracted. Am I in a fit state to judge the quality of affliction with a distracted and addled brain? With the scales of the judgment lifted from their proper place, how can I sit and form a just idea of the wisdom of God in his dispensations? All that flesh and blood can discover of the quality of affliction is but its outward superficial appearance. We are not able by the eye of reason to discover the real virtue of sanctified tribulation; this discernment is the privilege of faith.
Discipline (3809) (paideia [word study] from país = child) (Click for 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, 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. 12:5-11). 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 adds that "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 Lev. 26:18; Ps. 6:1; Isa. 53:5; Heb. 12:5–8. 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, n.d.], 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, 7f; 3:11; 4:1, 13; 5:12; 6:23; 8:10; 10:17; 12:1; 13:18; 15:5, 10, 32f; 16:17, 22; 17:8; 19:20, 27; 22:15; 23:12; 24:32; 25:1; Isa. 26:16; 50:4f; 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…
Someone has written - And so what do I say? I say let the rains of disappointment come, if they water the plants of spiritual grace. Let the winds of adversity blow, if they serve to root more securely the trees that God has planted. I say, let the sun of prosperity be eclipsed, if that brings me closer to the true light of life. Welcome, sweet discipline, discipline designed for my joy, discipline designed to make me what God wants me to be.
For the moment (3918) (pareimi from pará = near, with + eimi = to be) means to be near at hand and so to to be present at a particular time and place, here referring to the time of divine discipline.
Pareimi - 24x in 23v - Matt 26:50; Luke 13:1; John 7:6; 11:28; Acts 10:21, 33; 12:20; 17:6; 24:19; 1 Cor 5:3; 2 Cor 10:2, 11; 11:9; 13:2, 10; Gal 4:18, 20; Col 1:6; Heb 12:11; 13:5; 2 Pet 1:9, 12; Rev 17:8. NAS = am present(1), been present(1), came(1), come(4), have(1), have come(1), here(1), here present(1), lacks*(1), moment(1), present(10).
Seems (1380) (dokeo) means to hold an opinion based upon appearances which may be significantly different from reality. It means to regard something as presumably true, without particular certainty. In the present passage, the verb seems (discipline "seems" not to be joyful) hints that there is a kind of residual joy of hope that hangs on beneath the cloud, but the tears and the sighs and the groans are so many that it looks like sorrow has the upper hand - at least for a season. As it does when a child cries after a spanking.
Dokeo - 62x in 61v - Matt 3:9; 6:7; 17:25; 18:12; 21:28; 22:17, 42; 24:44; 26:53, 66; Mark 6:49; 10:42; Luke 1:3; 8:18; 10:36; 12:40, 51; 13:2, 4; 19:11; 22:24; 24:37; John 5:39, 45; 11:13, 31, 56; 13:29; 16:2; 20:15; Acts 12:9; 15:22, 25, 28; 17:18; 25:27; 26:9; 27:13; 1 Cor 3:18; 4:9; 7:40; 8:2; 10:12; 11:16; 12:22f; 14:37; 2 Cor 10:9; 11:16; 12:19; Gal 2:2, 6, 9; 6:3; Phil 3:4; Heb 4:1; 10:29; 12:10f; Jas 1:26; 4:5. NAS = deem(1), expect(1), has a mind(1), inclined(1), recognized(1), regarded(1), reputation(3), reputed(1), seem(3), seemed best(1), seemed fitting(1), seemed good(4), seems(3), suppose(5), supposed(2), supposes(1), supposing(4), think(18), thinking(1), thinks(6), thought(4)
Steven Cole - 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 Muggeridge's writings 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. (Hebrews 12:7-11 Responding to God's Discipline)
Spurgeon asks "If affliction seemed to be joyous, would it be a chastisement at all? I ask you, would it not be a most ridiculous thing if a father should so chasten a child that the child came away laughing, and smiling, and rejoicing? Joyful? Instead of being at all serviceable, would it not be utterly useless? What good could a chastisement have done if it was not felt? It is the blows of the wound, says Solomon, that will cleanse evil (Pr 20:30); and so if the chastisement do not come home to the bone and flesh, what good end can it have served? It might even work the other way and be hurtful, for if those very gentle blows were enough, with one or two soft chiding words, to express parental hatred of sin, the child would surely think that the parent only played with it and that disobedience was a trifle. If only the mockery of discipline were given, the child would be hardened in sin, and even despise the authority that it ought to respect. If God sent us trials such as we would wish for, they would be no trials."
Joyful (5479) (chara [word study] from chairo = to rejoice) refers to cheerfulness, gladness, joy. It is that feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing. Secular dictionaries define joy as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or the emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires. The world's definition of joy is therefore virtually synonymous with the definition of happiness, for both "emotions" are dependent on what "happens".
Chara - 59x in 57v - Matt 2:10; 13:20, 44; 25:21, 23; 28:8; Mark 4:16; Luke 1:14; 2:10; 8:13; 10:17; 15:7, 10; 24:41, 52; John 3:29; 15:11; 16:20ff, 24; 17:13; Acts 8:8; 12:14; 13:52; 15:3; Rom 14:17; 15:13, 32; 2 Cor 1:24; 2:3; 7:4, 13; 8:2; Gal 5:22; Phil 1:4, 25; 2:2, 29; 4:1; Col 1:11; 1 Thess 1:6; 2:19f; 3:9; 2 Tim 1:4; Philemon 1:7; Heb 10:34; 12:2, 11; 13:17; Jas 1:2; 4:9; 1 Pet 1:8; 1 John 1:4; 2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:4. NAS = greatly(1), joy(54), joyful(1), joyfully(1), joyously(1), rejoicing(1).
Certainly there is joy in human life, such as joy when one experiences a victory (" We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions." Psalm 20:5 Spurgeon's comment) or reaps a bountiful harvest (see Isa 9:3), but more often the Bible speaks of joy in a spiritual sense. For example, Nehemiah declared to the down in the mouth (not very filled with joy) Jews that "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Neh 8:10).
Similarly, David pleaded with God to "restore to me the joy of Thy salvation." (Psalm 51:12 - Spurgeon's Comment).
It is not surprising that joy and rejoicing are found most frequently in the Psalms (about 80 references) and the Gospels (Joy = 38x in Psalms - Ps 5:11; 16:11; 20:5; 27:6; 30:5; 32:11; 33:1, 3; 35:27; 42:4; 43:4; 45:7; 47:1; 48:2; 51:8, 12; 63:7; 65:8, 13; 67:4; 71:23; 81:1; 84:2; 87:7; 89:12; 90:14; 92:4; 95:1; 96:12; 98:4, 8; 105:43; 119:111; 126:6; 132:9, 16; 137:6; 149:5; Rejoice, rejoicing, etc - 43x in Psalms - Ps 2:11; 9:14; 13:4f; 14:7; 16:9; 19:5, 8; 21:1; 30:1; 31:7; 32:11; 33:21; 34:2; 35:9, 15, 19, 24, 26f; 38:16; 40:16; 45:15; 48:11; 51:8; 53:6; 58:10; 63:11; 65:12; 66:6; 68:3; 70:4; 85:6; 89:16, 42; 96:11; 97:1, 8; 106:5; 118:24; 119:14, 162; 149:2).
C. S. Lewis got a bit closer to the Biblical meaning when he called joy an “unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.” That statement is a bit obtuse but Lewis then goes on to add that joy "must be sharply distinguished both from happiness and from pleasure". Ultimately Lewis' experienced joy when he discovered that Jesus was the wellspring of all joy.
Joy then is the deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. It is not an experience that comes from favorable circumstances but even occurs when those circumstances are the most painful and severe as Jesus taught His disciples declaring "Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy. Whenever a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she remembers the anguish no more, for joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy away from you. (John 16:20, 21, 22)
Believers have the Resident Source of joy within for as as Paul teaches "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Gal 5:22-note)
Emotional fluctuations cannot disturb this Source of joy. Note Paul’s statement of this confidence (Php 3:20-note).
Sorrowful (3077)(lupe - see related verb lupeo) refers to sadness, grief, grievous, heaviness, sorrow. In context lupe speaks of pain, which could be of body but especially of one's mind as one experiences severe mental or emotional distress associated with the discipline of the LORD.
Lupe - 16x in 14v - Luke 22:45; John 16:6, 20ff; Rom 9:2; 2 Cor 2:1, 3, 7; 7:10; 9:7; Phil 2:27; Heb 12:11; 1 Pet 2:19. NAS = grief(2), grudgingly*(1), pain(1), sorrow(10), sorrowful(1), sorrows(1).
Murray comments on sorrowful - To the flesh which judges by what is present and by sense, it is distinctly, often terribly, grievous, Faith which lives in the future and unseen, rejoices in the assurance not only of deliverance, but of the heavenly blessing it brings. (The Holiest of All - Yet Afterward)
Jamieson - The objection that chastening is grievous is here anticipated and answered. It only seems so to those being chastened, whose judgments are confused by the present pain. Its ultimate fruit amply compensates for any temporary pain. The real object of the fathers in chastening is not that they find pleasure in the children's pain. Gratified wishes, our Father knows, would often be our real curses.
McGee - This is like the boy whose father said to him before he whipped him, "Son, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you." The boy said, "Yes, Dad, but not in the same place." God chastens His children. He does not get any particular joy out of it, but He does it because you and I need it. Not only does chastening not seem to be joyous, it isn't joyous, but grievous -- that is our experience. Although no chastening at the time is fun, "afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." God does not discipline you without purpose.
Adam Clarke - Neither correction, wholesome restraint, domestic regulations, nor gymnastic discipline, are pleasant to them that are thus exercised; but it is by these means that obedient children, scholars, and great men are made. And it is by God's discipline that Christians are made. He who does not bear the yoke of Christ is good for nothing to others, and never gains rest to his own soul.
Barnes - does not impart pleasure, nor is this its design. All chastisement is intended to produce pain, and the Christian is as sensitive to pain as others. His religion does not blunt his sensibilities, and make him a stoic, but it rather increases his susceptibility to suffering… the Christian feels the loss of a child, or bodily suffering, as keenly as any one. But while religion does not render him insensible to suffering, it does two things—(1.) it enables him to bear the pain without murmuring, and (2.) it turns the affliction into a blessing on his soul.
G. Campbell Morgan once wrote that "We cry too often to be delivered from the punishment, instead of the sin that lies behind it. We are anxious to escape from the things that cause us pain rather than from the things that cause God pain."
YET TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TRAINED BY IT: de karpon eirenikon tois di autes gegumnasmenois (RPPMPD) apodidosin (3SPAI) dikaiosunes: (yet - Heb 12:5, 6, 10)
Yet (de) - Another strategic (and in this case merciful and grace filled) term of contrast!
Present… yet… afterwards - Andrew Murray observes that "These two expressions contain the great contrast between time and eternity, of the visible and the invisible, of sorrow and of joy, of sense and of faith, of backsliding and of progress to perfection… Yet… afterwards: to throw eternity into the balance, and judge everything by that: this is what even the patriarchs did; this is what Christ taught us, when, for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross; this is what faith can teach us in every trial. (The Holiest of All - Yet Afterward)
Trained (1128)(gumnazo [word study] or gymnazo from from gumnos = naked or minimally clothed and descriptive of the common practice of males in the Greco Roman gymnasia source of English gymnasium, gymnastics) literally meant to exercise naked in the palaestra (a school in ancient Greece or Rome for sports - see a picture of the palaestra). Vine says it means to “to strive with the body stripped” i.e., strenuously.
Gumnazo means to exercise bodily and described an athlete exercising in the gym. Figuratively gumnazo means to exercise so as to discipline oneself (in the moral or ethical "gym") or to exercise vigorously, in any way, either the body or the mind. It describes the rigorous, strenuous, self-sacrificing training an athlete undergoes.
Trained is in the perfect tense indicating a past completed action with ongoing effect and thus speaks of the permanence of their state of training.
The Jewish historian Josephus uses gymnazo in his description of the Roman soldier writing that "their military exercises differ not at all from the real use of their arms, but every soldier is every day exercised (gymnazo), and that with great diligence, as if it were in time of war which is the reason why they bear the fatigue of battles so easily." (Josephus, F. The Works of Josephus. Wars 3.73)
Paul uses gymnazo in his first epistle to Timothy drawing on the athletic metaphor to exhort his young disciple to…
Consider the following testimony by C. H. Spurgeon: I am afraid that all the grace I have got out of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows and pains and griefs is altogether incalculable. What do I not owe to the hammer and the anvil, the fire and the file? Affliction is the best bit of furniture in my house.
J C Ryle…
AFTERWARDS IT YIELDS THE PEACEFUL FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: de karpon eirenikon tois di autes gegumnasmenois (RPPMPD) apodidosin (3SPAI) dikaiosunes: (Psalms 119:165; Isaiah 32:17; Romans 5:3, 4, 5; 14:17; 2Cor 4:17; Gal 5:22,23; Jas 3:17,18 )
C. S. Lewis - God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to arouse a deaf world.
Spurgeon - A man takes a mass of metal. It appears to you very pure, and very beautiful to look at. It is alloyed. He puts it into his refining pot, he heats the coals, and he begins to stir it. You say to him, “What are you doing? You are spoiling that precious metal. See how foul the surface is! What a scum floats up.” The natural effect of the fire is to make the scum show itself. A skillful hand is needed, for the fire cannot do the refiner’s work. He himself must skim the base metal off the top. Affliction only makes the sin rise to the surface. It makes the devil in us come up; it makes us, while we are boiling in affliction, worse than we were before. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and of our blessed Lord and Master, when He sees it on the top, then to skim it off. The affliction does not do us any good in itself; the natural fruit of affliction is rebellion. If God chastens me, can I love Him for that? Not naturally. If He strikes me, can I yield Him homage for that? No, naturally I rebel against Him, and I say, “Who are you that you should smite me this way, and what have I done that I should be tormented by you?” To kiss the hand that smites is something more than nature; it is grace.
Afterwards (5305)(husteron from husteros = later) means more lately or eventually.
Husteron - 12x in 12v - Matt 4:2; 21:29, 32, 37; 22:27; 25:11; 26:60; Mark 16:14; Luke 20:32; John 13:36; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 12:11. NAS =- afterward(4), afterwards(1), last(1), later(3).
Barnes - The effect (of discipline) is seen in a pure life, and in a more entire devotedness to God. We are not to look for the proper fruits of affliction while we are suffering, but afterwards.
Yields (591)(apodidomi [word study] from apó = from + didomi = give) means to pay or give back. It refers to fulfilling an obligation or expectation. In the present verse it means to return, render or yield. It was used to refer to land yield fruit 200 fold.
Apodidomi - 48x in 46v - Matt 5:26, 33; 6:4, 6, 18; 12:36; 16:27; 18:25f, 28ff, 34; 20:8; 21:41; 22:21; 27:58; Mark 12:17; Luke 4:20; 7:42; 9:42; 10:35; 12:59; 16:2; 19:8; 20:25; Acts 4:33; 5:8; 7:9; 19:40; Rom 2:6; 12:17; 13:7; 1 Cor 7:3; 1 Thess 5:15; 1 Tim 5:4; 2 Tim 4:8, 14; Heb 12:11, 16; 13:17; 1 Pet 3:9; 4:5; Rev 18:6; 22:2, 12. NAS = account*(1), award(1), fulfill(2), gave… back(2), give(4), give back(1), given(1), giving(1), make some return(1), must(1), paid(3), pay(2), pay… back(1), pay back(3), render(6), repay(8), repayment to be made(1), repays(1), returning(1), reward(3), sold(3), yielding(1), yields(1).
James speaks of the fruit of righteousness that comes from times of testing writing…
Peter describes this yield of fruit encouraging his tested readers that - In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while (HOW LONG?), if necessary (WHY? - see Heb 12:5-11), you have been distressed by various ("multi-colored" - but same word is used of grace in 1Pe 4:10-note! - just the right "color" of grace for the "color" of trial you are experiencing!) trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1Pe 1:6,7-notes)
Paul voices a similar thought in Romans 5 - And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Ro 5:3, 4-see notes Ro 5:3; 5:4)
Murray comments that regarding peaceful fruit of righteousness "the light of eternity and its reward shines on the least as on the greatest of our trials, and makes each one the seed of an everlasting harvest, of which we pluck the fruits even here. And so light arises upon the command, Count it all joy when ye fall into manifold temptations. (Jas 1:2-note) We read it in the light of what Paul said of himself, As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. (2Co 6:10) When the hurricane is sweeping the ocean into mountain-high waves, down in the deep waters all is serene and quiet—the disturbance is only on the surface. And even so the joy of eternity can keep a soul in perfect peace amid abounding afflictions. For the present is swallowed up in the yet… afterwards of a living faith. (The Holiest of All - Yet Afterward)
Fruit (2590) (karpos [word study]) is used in its literal sense to refer to fruit, produce or offspring, which describes that which is produced by the inherent energy of a living organism. Karpos is what something naturally produces. Figuratively, karpos is used of the consequence of physical, mental, or spiritual action. In the NT the figurative (metaphorical) uses metaphorical uses predominate and this is particularly true in the Gospels, where human actions and words are viewed as fruit growing out of a person's essential being or character.
Righteous (right) conduct is the soil out of which grows the calming fruit of "peace", especially the peace of God, resulting in a clear conscience and a sense of oneness, communion and unbroken/unhindered fellowship of the creature with his or her Creator.
Spurgeon - Affliction really does to the Christian, when the time comes, bring forth fruit. This is the object of Christ in sending it. In His sweet prayer for the elect, He prayed that His people might bring forth fruit. He said, “My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit, and prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8). He assured them that every branch of the true vine that brought forth fruit would be purged, that it might bring forth more fruit. So far as this world is concerned, God gets His glory out of us, not by our being Christians, but by our being fruitful Christians.
Karpos refers to that which originates or comes from something producing an effect or result (benefit, advantage, profit, utility).
Karpos - 67x in 57v - Matt 3:8, 10; 7:16ff; 12:33; 13:8, 26; 21:19, 34, 41, 43; Mark 4:7f, 29; 11:14; 12:2; Luke 1:42; 3:8f; 6:43f; 8:8; 12:17; 13:6f, 9; 20:10; John 4:36; 12:24; 15:2, 4f, 8, 16; Acts 2:30; Rom 1:13; 6:21f; 15:28; 1 Cor 9:7; Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11, 22; 4:17; 2 Tim 2:6; 4:13; Heb 12:11; 13:15; Jas 3:17f; 5:7, 18; Rev 22:2. NAS - benefit(2), crop(5), crops(2), descendants*(1), fruit(43), fruitful(1), fruits(4), grain(1), harvest(1), proceeds(1), produce(4), profit(1).
W. E Vine has an excellent summary of karpos:
Righteousness (1343) (dikaiosune [word study] from dikaios [word study] = just, righteous = root idea of conforming to a standard or norm) is derived from a root word that means straightness. It refers to a state that conforms to an authoritative standard or norm and so is in keeping with what God is in His holy character.
Discipline in the believer's life brings a desire to do what is right before the Father, to please Him. Right living (toward God first, then toward man) is the "fruit" which chastening yields, especially to the yielded saint.
Dikaiosune - 92x in 86v - Matt 3:15; 5:6, 10, 20; 6:1, 33; 21:32; Luke 1:75; John 16:8, 10; Acts 10:35; 13:10; 17:31; 24:25; Rom 1:17; 3:5, 21f, 25f; 4:3, 5f, 9, 11, 13, 22; 5:17, 21; 6:13, 16, 18ff; 8:10; 9:30f; 10:3ff, 10; 14:17; 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 3:9; 5:21; 6:7, 14; 9:9f; 11:15; Gal 2:21; 3:6, 21; 5:5; Eph 4:24; 5:9; 6:14; Phil 1:11; 3:6, 9; 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22; 3:16; 4:8; Titus 3:5; Heb 1:9; 5:13; 7:2; 11:7, 33; 12:11; Jas 1:20; 2:23; 3:18; 1 Pet 2:24; 3:14; 2 Pet 1:1; 2:5, 21; 3:13; 1 John 2:29; 3:7, 10; Rev 19:11; 22:11. NAS = right(1), righteousness(90).
Righteousness is a moral concept. God’s character is the definition and source of all righteousness. God is totally righteous because He is totally as He should be. The righteousness of human beings is defined in terms of God’s. Righteousness in Biblical terms describes the righteousness acceptable to God and thus which is in keeping with what God is in His holy character. Rightness means to be as something or someone should be. In short, the righteousness of God is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves and all that He provides (through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, the perfectly Righteous One.).
This peace only comes through enduring hardship as discipline. It does not come through fighting the hard things in life, but from accepting them as discipline from God.
Tertullian - Oh, happy the servant for whose improvement his Lord is earnest, with whom he deigns to be angry, whom He does not deceive by dissembling admonition" (withholding admonition, and so leading the man to think he needs it not)! (Patience, 11).
Barnes writes that discipline "is a tree that bears good fruit and we do not expect the fruit to form and ripen at once. It may be long maturing, but it will be rich and mellow when it is ripe. It frequently requires a long time before all the results of affliction appear-as it requires months to form and ripen fruit. Like fruit it may appear at first sour, crabbed, and unpalatable; but it will be at last like the ruddy peach or the golden orange. When those fruits are ripened they are (1.) fruits "of righteousness." They make us more holy, more dead to sin and the world, and more alive to God. And they are (2.) "peaceable." They produce peace, calmness, submission in the soul. They make the heart more tranquil in its confidence in God, and more disposed to promote the religion of peace. The apostle speaks of this as if it were a universal truth in regard to Christians who are afflicted. And it is so, There is no Christian who is not ultimately benefited by trials, and who is not able at some period subsequently to say, "It was good for me that I was afflicted. Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word." When a Christian comes to die, he does not feel that he has had one trial too many, or one which he did not deserve. He can then look back and see the effect of some early trial, so severe that he once thought he could hardly endure it, spreading a hallowed influence over his future years, and scattering its golden fruit all along the pathway of life. I have never known a Christian who was not benefited by afflictions; I have seen none who was not able to say that his trials produced some happy effect on his religious character, and on his real happiness in life. If this be so, then no matter how severe our trials, we should submit to them without a murmur. The more severe they are, the more we shall yet be blessed-on earth or in heaven.
What does discipline do? Hardships will do one of two things to us. They will distract our focus from Christ, forcing us into a spiritual lapse so that we are slowed down, or even drop out of the race (which is why he addresses this issue in He 12:12, 13-note) Or they will intensify our focus on Christ,
In sum we are called to not regard God's hand of discipline lightly and neither to faint but to accept it because
• Discipline proves that God is our Father and we are his children!
• Discipline makes us live life that is life indeed (cp zoe)!
• Discipline makes us like God—holy!
• Though there is pain now, later it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace!
Spurgeon - Let me ask those who are afflicted and have no religion where they get their comfort from. The Christian derives it from the fact that he is a son of God, and he knows that the affliction is for his good. Where do you get comfort from? It has often puzzled me how poor tried worldly people get on. I can somewhat guess how they can be happy when the glass is full, when hearts are glad and joyous, when hilarity and mirth sparkle in their eyes, when the board is covered and the family is well. But what does the worldly man do when he loses his wife, when his children are taken away, when his health departs and he himself is near death? I leave him to answer. All I can say is, I wonder every day that there are not more suicides, considering the troubles of this life, and how few there are who have the comforts of religion. Poor sinner, even if there were no heaven and hell, I would recommend to you this religion. For even if in this life only we had hope, we should be of all men most happy, really, in our spirits, although we might seem to be “of all people most pitiable” (1Cor 15:19). I tell you, if we were to die like dogs, if there were no second world, so happy does the Christian religion make the heart that it would be worthwhile having it for this life alone. The secularist who thinks of this world only is a fool for not thinking of Christianity, for it confers a benefit in this world as well as in that which is to come. It makes us bear our troubles. What would break your backs are only feathers to us; what would destroy your spirits are to us “momentary light afflictions” (2Cor 4:17). We find light enough in our hearts in the depth of darkness. Where you find darkness, we have light, and where you have light, we have the brilliance of the sun. May God put you in the number of His saved family, and then if He chastens you, I ask whether you will not think His rod light when compared with the sword that you deserve to have smitten you dead. God grant you, if you are chastened now, that you may be chastened and not killed, that you may be chastened with the righteous and not condemned with the wicked.
Pastor Steven Cole makes the point that…
STORIES OF MEN AND WOMEN WHO CAME TO BE PARTAKERS OF THE HOLINESS OF GOD & THE PEACEFUL FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: Bertha Stanley was born in Kansas in 1889. At college, Bertha became involved in the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions. There she met Roy Byram. After graduating and getting married, they both entered medical school in Houston, Texas.
Then in 1921, the Byrams went as missionaries to North Korea where Roy started a hospital. Each year country women would come to the Bible school in North Korea where Bertha Byram taught a two month course on the Christian life. In 1935, the Byrams moved to Manchuria, which was under Japanese rule. They started a new work under the Bible Presbyterian Mission Board, opening a clinic in an area devoid of any hospital or church.
Then the Japanese arrested the Byrams, and threw them into prison.Their cells were ice cold, and they were fed pig food. But prison became a school for the Byrams. With not even a Bible, they learned to pray as never before.
Dr. and Mrs. Roy Byram and the Rev. Bruce Hunt stood as prisoners in the civil court. All day long they were questioned."What does the Bible teach about the coming King who you say will rule the whole earth?
Where will Japan be in the set-up?" They were curious to know what the Bible said. The judge acquitted them for lack of evidence. The Byrams were repatriated in a trade of Japanese prisoners for American prisoners. Thereafter, Bertha Byram spent a week each year in prayer and fasting, living on "prison fare." Prison had schooled her well for she became a woman of prayer. She said that in the years after returning to the U.S. she accomplished more missionary work by prayer than she had on the mission field. Plead with God for unreached peoples.
ANOTHER PLACE, ANOTHER TIME, THE SAME GOD - Etty Hillesum was a young Jewish woman living in Amsterdam in 1942. During that time, the Nazis were arresting Jews and herding them off to concentration camps. As she awaited inevitable arrest, and with a fear of the unknown, she began to read the Bible--and met Jesus. She simply put her hand in God's hand and found rare courage and confidence.
Etty wrote in her diary:
Etty was a living, courageous picture of the psalmist's declaration:
When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee.
What a challenge for anyone plagued by fear!
As we sense the strength of God's everlasting arms beneath us (Dt 33:27), we can stroll through life with confidence, holding the hand of our unseen Companion.
Tough Love - In our city's largest public school district, any student who gets caught with a weapon or drugs on campus faces mandatory expulsion. The director of discipline can expel a student immediately. But he also frequently takes the offender through an intense 90-minute session designed to force the student to come to grips with his destructive behavior. Many young adults, looking back, have said that without the director's confrontation they would have ended up in jail.
Because our Father's heart is grieved
No Pain, No Gain - Christian educator and author Howard Hendricks cautions parents not to bribe or threaten their children to get them to obey. What they need is firm, loving, and at times painful discipline.
Sally winked at Hendricks. Sure enough, mother removed the potatoes and brought Sally some ice cream. He saw this as a case of parents obeying their children rather than "Children, obey your parents" (Eph 6:1).
Many parents are afraid to do what they know is best for their youngsters. They're afraid their children will turn against them and think they don't love them. Hendricks says, "Your primary concern is not what they think of you now, but what they will think 20 years from now."
Even our loving heavenly Father's correction is painful, yet afterward (perhaps years later) "it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness in those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). As loving parents, dare we have less long-term vision than our heavenly Father has? —Joanie Yoder (Ibid)
As parents we must have this goal:
Pain And Gain - Years ago I was an extremely anxious Christian. When I began spiraling downward emotionally, God didn't intervene, for He knew I needed to reach the end of myself. When I finally hit rock bottom, the "rock" on which I fell was Jesus Christ.
The Lord immediately began rebuilding me, applying truths from His Word to teach me trust and faith. Gradually He changed me into the joyful, God-dependent person He intended me to be. Through this painful but profitable experience, I learned that when God disciplines us, our greatest gain isn't what we get but what we become.
We shrink from the purging and pruning,
The Making Of Us - When my husband was a child, his mother sometimes scolded and disciplined him for disobeying her. During one such scolding he said to her imploringly, "You must be nice to your little boy!" His words touched her tender heart. But because she loved him, she continued his discipline and training. Years later as a missionary, Bill was grateful for her tough love, for it was the making of him.
God's loving hand of discipline
Blue-ribbon Christians - While visiting New England, I was presented with a tin of pure Vermont maple syrup. It was given to me by a man who consistently had won blue ribbons for his product.
All God's testings have a purpose—
Roughed Up To Grow Up - Many Christians have to be lovingly roughed up before they will grow up. Although the heavenly Father never allows His children to suffer needlessly, sometimes He lets them experience hard knocks so they'll become mature believers.
Should Thy mercy send me sorrow, toil, and woe,
Bad Weather - Scientists tell us that the seeds of certain types of desert bushes must be damaged by a storm before they will germinate. Covered by hard shells that keep out water, these seeds can lie dormant on the sand for several seasons until conditions are right for growth. When heavy rains finally bring flash floods, the little seeds are banged against sand, gravel, and rocks as they rush down the slopes. Eventually they settle in a depression where the soil is damp several feet deep. Able to absorb water through the nicks and scratches they acquired on their downhill plunge, they finally begin to grow.
The Making Of You - Scottish author George MacDonald told this story of a woman who had experienced a great tragedy in her life: "The heartache was so crushing and her sorrow so bitter that the one in distress exclaimed, 'I wish I'd never been made.' With spiritual discernment, her friend answered, 'My dear, you are not fully made yet; you're only being made, and this is the Maker's process!'"
This is true for all of our trials-- even when we are being corrected by God for our sin. The author of Hebrews wrote,
Does it seem as though everything in life is going against you? As you face disillusionment, take heart! If you're a child of God, all things are working together for good, and He is conforming you "to the image of His Son" (Ro 8:28, 29). God's lessons through trials can be the making of you! --R W De Haan (Ibid)
For all the heartaches and the tears,
God may have to break us in order to make us.
Pain Is Not Pointless - During times of hardship, I often feel like whining, "Who needs this pain? I certainly don't!" But Isaiah 28 and my own experience tell me this is a shortsighted reaction. Not that we need hardship just for its own sake, but we do need to be changed and to mature. In God's hand, hardship can be an effective tool to bring about our much-needed growth.
God has a purpose in our heartaches—
Trials and Discipline Prepare Us for a Better Country - In England I was told of a lady who had been bedridden for years. She was one of those saints whom God polishes up for the kingdom; for I believe there are many saints in this world whom we never hear about; we never see their names heralded through the press; they live very near the Master; they live very near heaven; and I think it takes a great deal more grace to suffer God's will than it does to do it; and if a person lies on a bed of sickness, and suffers cheerfully, it is just as acceptable to God as if they went out and worked in His vineyard.
Now this lady was of those saints. She said that for a long time she used to have a great deal of pleasure in watching a bird that came to make its nest near her window. One year it came to make its nest, and it began to build so low down she was afraid something would happen to the young; and every day that she saw that bird busy at work making its nest, she kept saying, "O bird, build higher!"
She could see that the bird was likely to come to grief and disappointment. At last the bird got its nest done, and laid its eggs and hatched its young; and every morning the lady looked out to see if the nest was there, and she saw the old bird bringing food for the little ones, and she took a great deal of pleasure looking at it. But one morning she awoke, looked out, and she saw nothing but feathers scattered all around, and she said: "Ah, the cat has got the old bird and all her young." It would have been a kindness to have torn that nest down. That is what God does for us very often--just snatches things away before it is too late. Now, I think that is what we want to say to professing Christians--if you build for time you will be disappointed. God says: Build up yonder. It is a good deal better to have life with Christ in God than anywhere else. I would rather have my life hid with Christ in God than be in Eden as Adam was. Adam might have remained in Paradise for 16,000 years, and then fallen, but if our life is hid in Christ, how safe! - D L Moody - Heaven ( a wonderful little book to encourage your soul)
Morning and evening : Daily readings (May 18 PM) - How happy are tried Christians, afterwards. No calm more deep than that which succeeds a storm. Who has not rejoiced in clear shinings after rain? Victorious banquets are for well-exercised soldiers. After killing the lion we eat the honey; after climbing the Hill Difficulty, we sit down in the arbour to rest; after traversing the Valley of Humiliation, after fighting with Apollyon, the shining one appears, with the healing branch from the tree of life. Our sorrows, like the passing keels of the vessels upon the sea, leave a silver line of holy light behind them “afterwards.” It is peace, sweet, deep peace, which follows the horrible turmoil which once reigned in our tormented, guilty souls. See, then, the happy estate of a Christian! He has his best things last, and he therefore in this world receives his worst things first. But even his worst things are “afterward” good things, harsh ploughings yielding joyful harvests. Even now he grows rich by his losses, he rises by his falls, he lives by dying, and becomes full by being emptied; if, then, his grievous afflictions yield him so much peaceable fruit in this life, what shall be the full vintage of joy “afterwards” in heaven? If his dark nights are as bright as the world’s days, what shall his days be? If even his starlight is more splendid than the sun, what must his sunlight be? If he can sing in a dungeon, how sweetly will he sing in heaven! If he can praise the Lord in the fires, how will he extol him before the eternal throne! If evil be good to him now, what will the overflowing goodness of God be to him then? Oh, blessed “afterward!” Who would not be a Christian? Who would not bear the present cross for the crown which cometh afterwards? But herein is work for patience, for the rest is not for to-day, nor the triumph for the present, but “afterward.” Wait, O soul, and let patience have her perfect work. (Spurgeon, C. H.)
J C Philpot - Devotional - July 22 -- "Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous--nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto those who are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:11
Octavius Winslow - Devotional - AUGUST 30. -- "Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous." Hebrews 12:11
Out Of The Thorns - The gorse bush is a shrub that was imported from Europe and now grows wild in the Pacific Northwest. It has dense, dark green shoots, and in springtime it provides a dazzling display of fragrant, vibrant yellow flowers. But it's best known by hikers and fishermen for its vicious spines.
For all the heartaches and the tears,
When John Henry Jowett was pastor at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, he began a series of children's meetings. At the very first meeting, four boys with penny whistles upset the meeting by playing tunes while Jowett was speaking. An usher rounded up the boys and took them to the vestry where they faced Jowett. "Can't you fellows play tin whistles any better than that?" Jowett asked. "If you can't, I shall have to get Mrs. Jowett to give you some lessons." A few weeks later, the four boys gave a concert with Mrs Jowett accompanying them on the piano. W. Wiersbe, The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 189.
We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the musician's instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not "disciplined"? A. W. Tozer, Men Who Met God.
Coleridge is the supreme example of tragedy of indiscipline. Never did so great a mind produce so little. He left Cambridge University to join the army; he left the army because he could not rub down a horse; he returned to Oxford and left without a degree. He began a paper called "The Watchman" which lived for ten numbers and then died. It has been said of him, "he lost himself in visions of work to be done, that always remained to be done. Coleridge had every poetic gift but one--the gift of sustained and concentrated effort." In his head and in his mind he had all kinds of books, as he said, "completed save for transcription." But the books were never composed outside of Coleridge's mind, because he would not face the discipline of sitting down to write them out. No one ever reached any eminence, and no one having reached it ever maintained it, without discipline. Wm. Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 280.
Spurgeon on yet afterward - See where the believer’s hope mainly lies; it does not lie in the seeming. He may seem to be rich, or seem to be poor, seem to be sick, or seem to be in health; he looks upon all that as the seeming. He notices that the thing seen is the thing that seems, but the thing believed is the thing that is. He knows that what his eye catches is only the surface, what his finger touches is only the exterior, but what his heart believes is the depth, the substance, the reality. So he finds all his joy in the “but later” (Heb 12:11). The Christian often learns his best lessons about heaven by contrast. If a man should give me a black book printed in the old black letter, and should say, “You want to know about happiness? That book is written about misery; learn from the opposite,” I would thank him just as much for that as if the book were on happiness. So the believer takes his daily trials and reads them the opposite way. Trial comes to him and says, “Your hope is dry.” “My hope is not dry,” he says. “While I have a trial I have a ground of hope.” “Your God has forsaken you,” says tribulation. “My God has not forsaken me,” he says, “for He says that in the world you shall have tribulation, and I have it. I have a letter from God in a black envelope, but as long as it came from Him I do not mind what kind of envelope it comes in. He has not forgotten me—has not given me up—He is still gracious to me.” And so the Christian begins to think about heaven, “For,” says he, “this is the place of work, that is the place of rest; this is the place of sorrow, that is the place of joy; here is defeat, there is triumph; here is shame, there glory; here it is being despised, there it is being honored; here it is the hiding of my Father’s face, there it is the glory of his presence; here it is absence in the body, there it is presence with the Lord; here weeping, and groaning, and sighing, there the song of triumph; here death—death to my friends and death to myself—there the happy union of immortal spirits in immortality.” So he learns to sing not of the seeming but of the “but later,” with sweet hope, as his harp of many golden strings.
He chastens us for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
That word was the summing up of all that there was to say of affliction. Suffering was to be God's messenger to lead us into, not a place or a position, but a life and an experience, into fitness for and inner union with the Holiest of All, and the Most Holy One who dwells there. Higher honour have none of God's servants than this one, unwelcome and rejected though it so often be. By all that is sacred and worthy of desire, the word would have us know and believe that affliction is a blessing. And yet it does not ignore the fact that the chastisement causes pain. As an old believer said, when speaking of one of the promises, Yes, it is blessedly true; but still it hurts. Therefore, our writer continues, An chastening for the present seemeth to be grievous: yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness. To the flesh which judges by what is present and by sense, it is distinctly, often terribly, grievous. Faith which lives in the future and unseen, rejoices in the assurance not only of deliverance, but of the heavenly blessing it brings.
For the present--yet afterward.
These two expressions contain the great contrast between time and eternity, of the visible and the invisible, of sorrow and of joy, of sense and of faith, of backsliding and of progress to perfection. For the present: to be guided by it, and sacrifice all for its gratification, is the sin and the folly and death in which we live by nature. Yet afterward: to throw eternity into the balance, and judge everything by that: this is what even the patriarchs did; this is what Christ taught us, when, for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross; this is what faith can teach us in every trial. With that yet afterward of the peaceable fruit of righteousness, the light of eternity and its reward shines on the least as on the greatest of our trials, and makes each one the seed of an everlasting harvest, of which we pluck the fruits even here. And so light arises upon the command, Count it all joy when ye fall into manifold temptations. We read it in the light of what Paul said of himself, As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing'. When the hurricane is sweeping the ocean into mountain-high waves, down in the deep waters all is serene and quiet--the disturbance is only on the surface. And even so the joy of eternity can keep a soul in perfect peace amid abounding afflictions. For the present is swallowed up in the yet afterward of a living faith.
Now there follows, on the strength of what has been said of God's love and His blessing, the call to the Hebrews to rise up out of their dejection and despair, and gird themselves for the race in the way in which Jesus leads us to God. Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the palsied knees; and make straight paths for your feet. Take courage, he says, and gird yourselves for the race--without it the prize can never be won. Lift up hands and knees, choose the straight path for your feet, rouse your whole being, and with your eye once more on Jesus, and in the faith He inspires, follow Him in the path of endurance. See the mistake you made when you thought your trials were an excuse for despondency; accept God's message, that they are the very proof of His love, the very means of His grace, the very mark of His own Son. Accept them as a part of your Christian manhood and perfection. Rise up and stand forth as men ready for the race.
That which is lame be not put out of joint, but rather be healed. That which is lame would, if they continued in their desponding state, go from worse to worse and be put entirely out of joint,--far rather let it be healed. As they lifted up the hands and knees, and roused themselves to enter the straight path, the lame would be healed, the courage of faith would give new strength, faith in Jesus would give perfect soundness. Yes, to faith in Jesus the blessing still comes as to the man of old: Immediately his feet and his ankle bones received strength. And he, leaping up, stood, and began to walk; and he entered into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
Bat rather be healed. Is there anyone among my readers who feels that his life is not what it should be, whom the cares and troubles of this life have hindered, and who feels half hopeless as to the possibility of running the race as Jesus the Leader would have--let him learn from this word what he needs. Let him take courage and rouse himself. Lift up the feeble hands and knees, and make straight paths; turn at once boldly to the course, the way Jesus has marked. Yield, surrender, consecrate yourself to be His wholly and for ever. This is the first step. And then, as in the name of Jesus, in the faith of all God has spoken in His Son in this blessed Epistle of a complete salvation and a perfect Saviour, you rise and step on to the course, you too will know what healing is. Leaping and praising God, you too can enter into the temple, the Holiest of All, to praise your God, and abide with Him, your mighty Keeper. Desponding Christian! there is healing--choose it, take it. Looking to Jesus, rise, and run the race.
1. Yet afterward. The great word that hope is ever using, as it points to what is still hidden, but surely coming. The section of Patience of Hope began with patience, and ends here with this note of abounding hopefulness--Yet afterward.
2. The state of absolute resignation to the will of God, and of a naked faith in His infinite love, is the highest perfection of which the soul is capable. Seek for this with the simplicity of a. little child, judging everything by the heavenly standard of value, as it helps to bring us nearer to God.
3. Be healed. Let all who complain of hands that hang down and palsied knees, of limbs that are lame or out of joint, hear the voice of Jesus: I say unto thee, Arise, and walk. (Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All).
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Afterwards, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11
Believers sometimes distress themselves because they cannot take pleasure in pain. They read of those who have rejoiced in Gethsemane; who, like Paul, have "gloried in tribulation." It is consolatory that the very exhortation to filial resignation in Hebrews 12 recognizes the fact that "no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous."
"Chastening" means child-training. There would be no training in repentance, patience, faith, if the rod caused no pain. Divine trust does not ignore human nature. Peter, sharing Paul's magnanimity, writes to the "elect" as those who were "in heaviness through manifold trials." They are "chosen of God," "sanctified by the Spirit unto obedience," on their way to "an inheritance incorruptible," "kept by the power of God," "greatly rejoicing"—and yet "in heaviness!" (1Pe 1:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.)
"This the apostle blames not, but aims at the moderating of it; seeks not altogether to dry up the stream, but to bound it and keep it within its banks. Grace does not destroy the life of nature, but adds to it a life more excellent; yes, does not only permit, but requires some feeling of afflictions." (Leighton.)
Weep then, sorrowing one; tell your trouble to sympathizing friends; above all, to your fellow-Sufferer in Gethsemane; but let your sorrow be soothed by the "afterwards." The corn-field, ploughed, harrowed, weeded, storm-swept, snow-covered, shall bear golden sheaves, not only after, but by reason of, such culture. The husbandman "has patience." The vinedresser with kind care uses the knife, yet sometimes with a seeming severity which makes an ignorant observer think he will kill the tree. But he knows that the abundant pruning will produce abundant fruitage afterwards.
Christ said, "I am the Vine, you are the branches." Insincere professors are no real part of the tree, but as branches tied on; not to be pruned, but cut off, unless they repent. "But every branch that bears fruit He prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit." Does not the "more fruit" repay the more pruning? Should not the process, though painful, be prized for the result? Is our highest end to display mere leafage, or to glorify God? "Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples." Ought we to be satisfied to bear only so much as to secure us from being altogether cut away? Should not every Christian desire to be as fruitful as possible, so as best to prove his discipleship and glorify God?
These results are described as "the peaceable fruits of righteousness." Submission to pruning and desire for righteousness are evidences of being children of God, fruits of the Spirit, the pledge of the fuller harvest, "the Spirit witnessing with our spirit that we are the children of God." They prove that we have faith; by faith we are justified; and, being justified, "we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ." Reconciliation is peace. Contention has given place to harmony, restless searching to contented finding, painful doubting to glad assurance, "the peace of God which passes all understanding."
Affliction, patiently endured, strengthens the habit of confidence in our Father's care, and so we are at peace. Whatever the wildness of the storm, we have proved the safety of our Refuge. Perplexing doubts about the mysteries of Providence are lost in the calm trustfulness of love. But this does not come at once. Like other works of God, the process is gradual. Life is given at once, but the full maturity "afterwards." Suffering a while helps to make us "perfect, to establish, strengthen, settle us."
The early apple is sour, the early peach flavorless; but how sweet, fragrant, beautiful, "afterwards!"
When the pain is very acute, the bereavement very fresh, the sufferer may say, with Job, "My grief is heavier than the sand of the sea;" or with David, "Has God shut up his tender mercies?" or with Elijah, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life." But as with those eminent saints, the fruit will gradually become ripe, will ripen afterwards. Trial is not a dead pebble but a living seed, planted and nurtured by God. "The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace." "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever" (Jas 3:18, Is 32:17).
After a long war, how joyful the proclamation of peace! After the tempestuous storm, how delightful the clear sky, the calm waters! Still more delightful when we can look back at the warfare and the storm, not as injuries but as blessings; when, however fierce the battle and wild the storm, we can bless God for it all, and testify
That care and trial seem at last,
There are Christians whose piety is strong but not tender, sublime but not lovely, who need sorrow to soften and to make them more like their Lord, more useful to others. A Devonshire wall, when first built up of undressed stones, though strong, is rough and unsightly; but when winds and storms have carried to it the seeds of ferns and flowers, which sunshine has developed into Nature's unrivalled tapestries, how lovely becomes the lane thus bounded by walls no less strong than before, but how soft and beautiful!
I have watched the Matterhorn in its stern sublimity, with jagged precipices and black frowning peak overhanging the valley, until I have turned away oppressed with its threatening strength. And then has rolled up a dark cloud, from which the forked lightning has gleamed, while the pealing thunder has made the ground to tremble. But presently the cloud has dispersed, and the sun has shone on a transfigured scene. Those rugged precipices, those pointed rocks, that threatening peak, are now invested with a soft and stainless robe; sublimity is arrayed in beauty; and awe has been forgotten in delight.
This chastening is said to yield these fruits "unto those who are exercised (trained) thereby." The word is from gumnazo, from which comes our gymnastics. As the athlete willingly undergoes discipline in hope of the prize; and as "afterward," when mature in strength and skill, he does not regret the training, even so the followers of the "Captain of Salvation" should not regret being "exercised," gymnastisized. We were not born as molluscs or sloths, to live merely for ease and enjoyment, but for growth in all true manliness and womanliness, for virtue and usefulness, for God and eternity.
The marble block, could it speak, would not resent the chisel that cut away what imprisoned the angel to be revealed afterwards. The rough, dull diamond would not quarrel with the grinder's tool that enabled it to flash back all the glory of the solar ray, and be a fit ornament for a kingly crown. The swelling Nile, which seems to devastate the land, leaves the fertilizing deposit that afterwards enriches it with plenty. The soul may not complain of the plough and the harrow that yield in autumn the "peaceable fruit of righteousness."
How much more in eternity will be understood the meaning of "afterwards"! In this life we may have to wrestle long in the gymnasium. During some night of polar duration, from the depths of some dark valley, from the vortex of the cyclone, from the inner recesses of some Gethsemane of grief, the cry may be continuous—"Not joyous, but grievous!" But how rapturous and never-ending the Hallelujah song "Afterwards!"
"Now the sowing and the weeping—